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SAP HANA in Containers
In this blog series you will find quotes, backgrounds, suggested further readings and other information related to my latest book SAP HANA 2.0, An Introduction published by SAP Press.
As the goal of the book is to provide an introduction, we could not spend as much time and pages on each and every topic as we wished at times. Although we covered cloud technologies and hyperscalers in the DC chapter (see the “quotes” blogs about Data Center Architecture), an more general discussion of the topic was omitted. In this blog, I will cover these topics in a bit more detail and include references where to find more information. This is part two about the different SAP HANA cloud offerings so far, containers and kubernetes.
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What’s the Difference?
In the previous posts we provided some background for Neo, Cloud Foundry, SAP Cloud Platform, SAP HANA One, SAP HANA Service, and SAP HANA Cloud. But what’s the difference?
SAP HANA One
When SAP HANA was launched as an appliance in 2010 (anniversary coming up!) it required state-of-the-art hardware for massive parallel processing and in-memory computing. It did not run on the commodity hardware used in the cloud computing data centers at the time and hence it took a while before SAP HANA could be virtualised and cloud-hosted.
With SAP HANA One, launched in 2012, the first virtualised version became available as cloud-hosted database. SAP provided the software, AWS the infrastructure with other cloud providers following (some with names long forgotten; Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform would not come into the picture until much later). Initially, only small T-shirt sizes were offered (32 and 64GB). Over time, bigger boxes appeared. This solution is no longer available.
Although miraculous at the time, for today’s standard deployment meant a lot of work! Security keys, storage, firewall configuration. All DIY with very limited automation.
SAP (HANA) Cloud Platform Database Services
SAP started to provide virtualised SAP HANA systems as part of the database services offering of the SAP (HANA) Cloud Platform. You could also select MaxDB (later ASE). Although SCP provides a platform-as-a-service, this database service more closely resembles infrastructure-as-a-service. It is HANA on a VM. SAP takes care of infrastructure and deployment but you will need to take of everything else involved with running a database.
The Neo environment of SCP provisions SAP HANA platform edition 1.0 as both single container and MDC (multi-tenant database container) systems. For the second type, you can add your own tenants and access the system database. There is no access at the operating system level. Deployment (provisioning) is automated. The full official name is SAP Cloud Platform, SAP HANA Service, Neo environment.
Bring Your Own License
As it became more feasible and economical to virtualise virtual machines with larger memory and CPU configurations, cloud providers started to offer BYOL (bring your own license) SAP HANA systems. Today, these system support single instances in the TB range but also scale-out environments (in the industry often called clusters) and even bare metal ones (i.e. not virtualised).
SAP still provides the SAP HANA platform edition software but the cloud providers have added infrastructure/platform services like automated backups and high availability configurations. Who has the best offer? It depends. Here are the most popular ones.
Certified configuration are listed in the directory under certified IaaS Platforms. SAP HANA versions (1.0, 2.0), operating systems (SLES, RHEL), single host, clustering: there is a lot of choice.
SAP HANA, express edition
In 2016 at SAP TechEd, the SAP HANA, express edition was launched (SAP Announces SAP HANA, Express Edition, for Rapid Application Development on a Personal Computer or in the Cloud). Targeted to developers and optimised to run on resource-constrained environments, including virtual machines. Enterprise features that would require multiple hosts or more serious resources are not included but apart from that it is the same as the SAP HANA platform edition.
All cloud providers include the free express edition on their marketplace. Free license that is, not free infrastructure (although some offer credits for those getting started). Deployment is a breeze and we can access the latest SAP HANA 2.0 version to start our development project or learn about the technology.
You can try it yourself with this tutorial from the SAP Developer Center
SAP HANA Cloud Edition
The SAP Cloud Platform, SAP HANA Service launched in 2018 is different from its predecessors. It is no longer SAP HANA platform edition hosted but an actual cloud edition (What’s New: release 2018.26.00). It is made available in Cloud Foundry by several cloud providers (Regions and Service Portfolio).
This is Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) as commonly understood: a managed service. There is no access the underlying Linux operating system and database system management tasks like backups are managed and automated. Technically, it is a tenant database and SAP controls the associated system database. It is single tenant. You cannot add new tenants. It runs the latest version of SAP HANA currently available.
To see the differences between creating an SAP HANA system in the Neo environment and an instance in the Cloud Foundry, see the blog post
To try it yourself, see the developer mission from the SAP Developer Center
SAP HANA in a Container
The essence of cloud computing is the separation of compute and storage. This provides the elasticity to scale up and down according to demand. None of the above mentioned SAP HANA in the cloud offerings are elastic as they are all based on virtual machines (VM).
After the VMs, the second wave of cloud computing came with containers, abstracting not only the hardware but also the operating system environment. Docker is a popular container implementation, like VMware for virtual machines, but there are alternatives.
To try it yourself, see the tutorial from the SAP Developer Center:
SAP HANA and Kubernetes
Kubernetes provides container management or rather orchestration, as we should say (yes, there is a difference). It was developed by Google and open-sourced in 2015 under the Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF). SAP joined the CNCF in 2017 (Cloud Native Computing Foundation Welcomes SAP As Platinum Member).
The tutorial from Lucia Subatin, Help Thomas Get Started is all about running SAP HANA and tools on Kubernetes and was a great hit at SAP TechEd 2019.
- Help Thomas Get Started with SAP HANA, express edition (tutorial)
- HANA Express on Google Kubernetes Engine (blog)
Should you be interested, there are other tutorials on this topic too.
- Play with the SAP HANA database on Google Kubernetes cluster
- Running SAP Cloud Application Programming Model with Connection to HANA on Kubernetes
And should you be completely new to the Kubernetes topic, the docs on kubernetes.io might be a good place to get started.
Containers need orchestration but what if you have kubernetes clusters running on multiple cloud providers or a combination of cloud and on-premise (hybrid)? Guess what, kubernetes needs orchestration too.
SAP developed Gardener to deploy and manage Kubernetes clusters across different infrastructures and made this available as open source. For more information visit gardener.cloud. SAP uses gardener to deploy kubernetes cluster for the SAP Cloud Platform on multi-cloud architectures for
- Databases (SAP HANA)
- Big Data (SAP Data Hub)
- IoT, AI, and Machine Learning (SAP Leonardo)
For some blog posts about Gardener (“the Kubernetes botanist”), see
- Kubernetes in the Enterprise by Kosmas Pouianiou
- Cloud Native with Containers and Kubernetes – Part 1, 2, 3 by Alexander Braun
SAP Data Intelligence (Data Hub)
SAP Data Hub was the first containerised application released by SAP (2017) which actually started with SAP Vora 2.0 (SAP Vora2.0 and integration with SAP Data Hub).
As a service, it was initially launched as SAP Data Intelligence but now both have been merged under this name:
- SAP Data Hub – a containerized application by Thorsten Schneider
- SAP Data Hub and SAP Data Intelligence: Streamlining Data-Driven Intelligence across the Enterprise by Silvio Archangeli
- SAP Data Intelligence – Development News for 3.0 by Tobias Koebler
If you want to try it yourself, see
SAP HANA Cloud
SAP HANA Cloud is not yet released. For updates, we can subscribe to the newsletter. For info, see SAP HANA Cloud Services microsite.
SAP HANA Cloud Services and SAP HANA Cloud were presented at SAP TechEd 2019. Should you have missed the presentations, there are online replays available from the event website:
- DAT206 – Hybrid Deployment Agility with SAP HANA Cloud
- DAT209 – Top Use Cases for SAP HANA Cloud
- AIN106 – Demystifying SAP HANA Cloud Services
See also some news coverage about the event
- SAP Relies on Cloud Foundry, Kubernetes so Users Can Fire up Databases at Will
- Why SAP’s Support for Cloud Foundry Is Indefinite
SAP HANA 2.0 – An Introduction
Just getting started with SAP HANA? Or do have a migration to SAP HANA 2.0 coming up? Need a quick update covering business benefits and technology overview. Understand the role of the system administrator, developer, data integrator, security officer, data scientist, data modeler, project manager, and other SAP HANA stakeholders? My latest book about SAP HANA 2.0 covers everything you need to know.
Get it from SAP Press or Amazon:
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Denys van Kempen