What’s New in SAP HANA Cloud – March 2023
Time is flying and the first quarter of 2023 is already coming to an end, which means we are happy to announce the first quarterly release of SAP HANA Cloud in 2023! As always, this blogpost is intended to give you a summary of the great variety of innovations that have recently been introduced to our flagship product SAP HANA Cloud.
If you are more the video-type of person and want to get an overview of the most exciting features of the Q1 2023 release of SAP HANA Cloud, then have a look at my personal highlights teaser on YouTube.
General Innovations in SAP HANA Cloud
Let’s start with taking a look at the general enhancement, made in SAP HANA Cloud this past quarter. Continue reading to learn more about updates in administration and migration.
Even though some of the tasks an administrator had to take care of in the on-premise world, are now done by SAP, administration still remains an important topic in SAP HANA Cloud. This quarter we are happy to introduce innovations specifically in the area of security, configuration flexibility with near-zero downtime and workload management:
Administration of customer management keys
Let’s first have a look at the administration of customer managed keys. With the Q1 2023 release, we have enhanced the support for customer managed keys when provisioning a new instance of SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database and data lake. Additionally, the status of the key will be displayed. Improvements to our administration tools offer easier usage of self-defined encryption keys and their administration.
This innovation allows consistent handling of customer-managed keys and thus helps to maintain compliance with security standards at all times. Furthermore, it increases the security of the customers database by encrypting stored data with customer managed keys.
Please note, that the new enhancements for the administration of encryption keys are only supported via the new Multi-Environment tooling of SAP HANA Cloud.
Ability to reset the user password in the administrator database
Next, and also related to the area of security in SAP HANA Cloud is the recently gained ability to reset the user password in the administrator database. End users are now enabled to change the DBADMIN database user password for SAP HANA Cloud and the HDLADMIN database user password for the data lake relational engine.
These new capabilities improve the end user productivity by allowing them to reset their database administrator password without the need to open a service ticket. Moreover, this reduces the database downtime through the ability to quickly reset the passwords when needed.
Please note, that the new password reset self-services are only supported via the new Multi-Environment tooling of SAP HANA Cloud.
Near-zero downtime for configuration changes to memory, vCPU, or storage
Additionally, the administration tool and general service infrastructure has been adapted to allow the application of configuration changes without an instance restart. This means you are now able to increase or decrease memory, vCPU, and storage configurations for existing instances of SAP HANA Cloud without restarting.
Thus, the downtime for required configuration changes of SAP HANA Cloud instances is minimized. Moreover the productivity is increased by eliminating extensive preplanning to compensate for expected capacity changes.
Please note, that the new features allowing to adjust the system configuration are only supported via the new Multi-Environment tooling of SAP HANA Cloud.
‘Application Source’ Session Variable for Workload Class Mapping
With the recent release, we are also adding the so-called ‘Application Source’ variable for workload class mapping. It allows to map in a more fine-granular way, where the already existing variables ‘application name’ and ‘application component’ are not accurate enough to distinguish between workloads or between applications.
Self-Service Migration Support
Migrating customers from previous SAP HANA product generations to the cloud is one of the key factors for future success of SAP HANA Cloud. To make the migration as easy as possible, SAP is offering a self-service migration tool for a variety of starting points.
Migration of on-premise instances of SAP HANA to SAP HANA Cloud
With the first release of SAP HANA Cloud in 2023 users are now able to migrate their on-premises SAP HANA database to SAP HANA Cloud using the migration self-service. Please note that the initial release only covers data migration, followed by the migration pre-check!
The self-service tool for migration reduces the need for manual interventions into the migration process and lowers the database migration time including the downtime during the cutover phase. Furthermore, the compatibility check, which is a part of the PLAN phase in the self-service tool, can help to save resources through an early identification of issues and suggestions how to adequately adapt the current implementation.
You can find a description on how to connect the self-service migration tool with our on-premise SAP HANA database instance here.
If you want to better understand the migration process, and be equipped with as much details as possible, take a look at the blog post published by Jinhee Jeong calling out the Key Topics in Migration to SAP HANA Cloud.
Moreover, this tutorial tries to give a step by step guidance on how to approach a migration from on-premise SAP HANA to SAP HANA Cloud.
Innovations in SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database
Of course, as always there are also innovations specifically related to the SAP HANA database within SAP HANA Cloud. This time we are happy to announce multiple enhancements in the area of calculation view modeling as well as in the area of cloud infrastructure, machine learning, HDI and client support.
Calculation View Modeling
First, let’s have a closer look at one of SAP HANA Cloud’s specific capabilities: Calculation View Modeling. With the first release of 2023, we are introducing five key innovations in this area: the ability to define exception aggregation granularity for measures, the option to change the sequence of output columns in mapping panes, leveraging of user-defined functions in calculated columns and filter expressions, the support of table display mode for additional scenarios during data preview, and the option to select the direction for filter mapping in join nodes.
Ability to define exception aggregation granularity for calculated measures
First, with the Q1 2023 release of SAP HANA Cloud users now have the ability to
- define which attributes should be used in the group-by clause when querying calculated measures,
- store this information in the BIMC metadata
This setting does not directly affect the processing of the calculation view but enables clients which evaluate these metadata to send adapted queries for individual measures.
These enhancements offer an improved control over the granularity at which measures are calculated which allows to intuitively compare measures to each other.
Option to change the sequence of columns in mapping panes
The second innovation in the area of calculation view modeling is the now available option to change the sequence of columns in mapping panes allowing you to match it with your modeling preferences. You can even select multiple columns and move them together.
This freshly gained option gives users the ability to receive clearer insights into models while also leveraging the powerful refactoring option to intuitively adapt models to the user’s individual needs.
Support for user-defined functions in calculated columns and filter expressions
Next on stage is the recently introduced support for user-defined functions (UDFs) in calculated columns and filter expressions.
This way one can flexibly preprocess values that are required in calculated columns and filter expressions. Moreover, this allows to reuse coding in user-defined functions.
Data Preview enhancements
You can now use the Table Display also without a selection on the Value Axis. This enables you to get faster insights by the data preview that is tailored to your needs.
Option to select the direction for filter mapping in join nodes
Lastly in the area of calculation view modeling is the now available option to choose the direction for filter mapping in join nodes. You can now decide whether the filters should be mapped from left to right, vice versa or bi-directionally.
This offers you improved control in filter mapping and prevents unwanted filter mapping directions.
SAP HANA Cloud comes with a notable set of embedded machine learning capabilities. Nevertheless, we are still striving to make these better and better. With the first release of SAP HANA Cloud in 2023, we have once again invested in this area.
New automated machine learning pipeline (autoML) explainability and time series classification
With the first release of SAP HANA Cloud in 2023, the following functions have been added to the predictive analysis library:
- “Explainability” support for autoML classification and regression pipelines. This means ML explainability can now be leveraged with autoML model predictions
- Polynomial feature generation support with autoML scenarios. This feature now allows automated feature generation for the numeric input columns.
- Custom interface configuration for autoML pipelines thus improving the integration into applications
- Time series classification supporting a ROCKET transformation. This innovation enables exceptionally fast and accurate time series classification.
Without cloud infrastructure, there can’t be any cloud. Investing in this area is therefore crucial for success and we are more than happy to announce a significant innovation this quarter.
Support of different performance classes for instances of SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database
Let’s take a closer look at the support for different performance classes for memory-intensive or compute-intensive workloads for instances of SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database.
While previously users were only able to provision instances of SAP HANA database within SAP HANA Cloud with a fixed core to memory ratio of ~1:15, you now have the flexibility to choose between 4 different performance classes, bringing different configuration ratios.
The picture below illustrates the newly introduced performance classes, while the “Memory” class maps to the previously available configuration and still represents the default.
Note: The initial delivery of performance classes will vary depending on the region or cloud service provider, as well as system size.
Moreover, user can adjust the performance class of their already existing SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database instance via self-service in the SAP HANA Cloud Central:
With this fantastic enhancement to SAP HANA Cloud’s infrastructure, you can gain flexibility to select a core-to-memory configuration that is best suited for specific workload needs by allocating either more memory or more processing power to the instance. This will ultimately allow you to optimise your total cost of ownership and limit the amount excess resources deployed.
Please note, that specifying or changing the performance class of an SAP HANA database instance is only supported via the new Multi-Environment tooling of SAP HANA Cloud.
HANA Deployment Infrastructure (HDI)
This quarter we are again investing into the SAP HANA Deployment Infrastructure (HDI) that provides you with a service that enables you to deploy database development artefacts to so-called containers.
With the recent release of SAP HANA Cloud, we are enhancing the ALTER TABLE capabilities for HDBTABLE. It is now possible to change a table by an ALTER statement instead of doing it via a table copy. Additionally, users are now enabled to make compatible changes to the table definition.
This innovation once again increases the number of situations where an ALTER statement is used rather than a table copy. An incomplete list of these so called compatible changes can be found below:
- increase of the size of a nvarchar(10) to nvarchar(20)
- change “NOT NULL” to “NULL”
- add a comment
- change INTEGER to INT
- DROP column
- ADD column
SAP HANA Database Clients
Next on the list of innovations for SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA Database are the additions made to the clients. Continue reading to even get demos of these great innovations.
Microsoft .NET Entity Framework (EF) Core Provider
This provider enables EF Core applications to connect to SAP HANA databases enabling object to database mapping and reduced data access code.
Watch this demo to learn more about this new functionality:
TypeScript Support for the SAP HANA Client Node.js Driver
This enables users to detect potential errors related to the use of the SAP HANA database client at compile time or design time rather than at runtime, when using TypeScript.
Watch this demo to learn more about this new functionality:
Innovations in SAP HANA Cloud, data lake
Next on our list is the second component of our SAP HANA Cloud the SAP HANA Cloud, data lake. Being integrated in SAP HANA Cloud the data lake is the perfect option for storing petabytes of data at a relatively low cost. It is up to you whether you want to deploy it as part connected with your SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database or as standalone SAP HANA Cloud, data lake. With the latest release we are introducing two innovations specifically for the data lake within SAP HANA Cloud. Let’s have a closer look at each of them.
Boolean data type support for the relational engine in SAP HANA Cloud, data lake
First on the list of innovations for the SAP HANA Cloud, data lake in Q1 2023 is the introduction of the Boolean data type for the relational engine in SAP HANA Cloud, data lake. The service is now providing the same semantics as the Boolean data type in SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database.
With this innovation not only the user experience between the different databases in SAP HANA Cloud significantly improves but also the data type compatibility, making data tiering even easier.
Materialized views with incremental “refresh” functionality
Last but not least with the Q1 2023 release, materialized views in the SAP HANA Cloud, data lake are automatically and incrementally maintained. This means their content will be refreshed by only computing the delta or changes since the last refresh.
On the one hand side this reduces the need for computation resources required for a refresh and on the other hand increases the refresh performance.
SAP HANA Cloud Data Lake Clients
The most recent release of SAP HANA Cloud also introduced some great additions to the clients for SAP HANA Cloud, Data Lake.
Go Driver for SAP HANA Cloud, Data Lake Client
With the latest release of the SAP HANA Cloud, data lake client, we are excited to provide a database driver that enables a Go application to query the data lake within SAP HANA Cloud on Microsoft Windows and Linux.
With this innovation we are once again adding more language options for customers to access their relational engine within the SAP HANA Cloud, data lake.
Additional details can be found at Go (golang) Driver and Connect to Data Lake Relational Engine Using the Go Driver (Tutorial)
Watch this demo to learn more about this new functionality:
Apart from the innovations introduced in SAP HANA Cloud, let me highlight some related news and updates, which you should not miss:
Innovations in SAP Business Application Studio
SAP Business Application Studio represents the web development environment for SAP HANA Cloud, supporting the modeling of calculation views and the creation of database artefacts, for instance via the HANA Deployment Infrastructure (HDI).
The latest update of SAP Business Application studio provides some great enhancements, like the features mentioned related to CalcViews.
Do you want to get an even more extensive overview of the Q1 2023 release of SAP HANA Cloud? Then take a look at the full scope of the release in our Technical Documentation.
To get a detailed overview of the latest features added and updates made to SAP HANA Cloud, replay our “What’s New in SAP HANA Cloud“ hosted on March 30, 2023. Together with my colleagues from the SAP HANA Cloud product management team, I shared more details about the release highlights.
Apart from that, as always, don’t forget to follow the SAP HANA Cloud tag to not miss any updates! Additionally, you can find all our what’s new blogposts under the tag whatsnewinsaphanacloud. In case you have missed the What’s New webinar in Q4 2022, you can find it and all future webinars in this playlist on YouTube.
In case you want to discuss some of the outlined innovations or have any other questions related to SAP HANA Cloud, feel free to post them in our SAP HANA Cloud Community Q&A or in the comments below.