Professor Hasso Plattner, SAP: Hana, the successor to Business Warehouse Accelerator based on Trex and In-memory Computing [SAP World Tour 2009 Mannheim, Germany]
Where does Hana stand? Answers from the E-3 market survey: Hana seems to be the darling of the SAP Business Warehouse scene. As the successor to SAP‘s Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA), the Hana database is much in demand - and the rest is simply silence.
Evidently there are SAP-BW users out there who have several BWAs in their computing centre simultaneously – for them, a consolidation on one single formidable Hana server feels like a gift. There is little change in terms of price but the commitment of administrative resources is much reduced – a further improvement in response-time performance is also more likely.
With Hana and BW, the story is almost entirely one of advantages. Here many users in SAP‘s installed base also accept the “exotic” x86 hardware and Linux as an operating system. This directly results in the weaknesses that Hana has in the ERP and Business Suite environment.
One outcome of the Hana-Privatissimum workshop, with Professor Alfred Taudes at the Vienna University of Economics and Business in mid-November 2014, was that it is a vision for the future to have SoH (Suite on Hana). There are numerous PoC (Proof of Concepts) where individual suite modules are tested on the Hana platform.
And yet up to now, with very few exceptions, it seems that no complete suite runs on Hana on an operative basis. It is just a few ERP users, with the good fortune to be permitted to make a “green field” start, that immerse themselves in the Hana adventure: “SAP‘s new in-memory computing is thus coming into use in Austria for the first time in an ERP system – with a new customer.
The real-time database can prove its strengths particularly effectively at a mail-order house, and with the new SAP-Hana-optimised process scenarios also supplied, Neckermann also finds itself well equipped to take on future challenges”, explains Robert Pöll, Country Director Imtech ICT Austria. Hana is well received as successor to BWA and yet as an ERP database it is suitable only to a limited degree – why is this?
In the BW environment, the factors that count are speed, real-time and Big Data (Datability) – these are Hana‘s strengths. And if the youthful Hana system once fails to perform as intended, then an operative new-start is also no disaster in IT terms.
More complex and diverse user aspirations
However, by the nature of things, users‘ aspirations and sense of expectation in the ERP environment, particularly in the Suite environment, are more complex and diverse. The E-3 market survey made it clear: SAP‘s installed base places Hana in the Big Data (Datability), Linux and Realtime Enterprise environment.
The aspects especially important for the installed base are a high degree of availability (incl. Disaster Recovery) – the feature that gets the most positive feedback – and also virtualisation and an ability to run on existing hardware. Those surveyed even judged the Windows server capability to be more important than cloud computing.
HEC (Hana Enterprise Cloud) was de-facto voted out of the team. So the overall picture is a surprising one, because other criteria evidently count in the classical and traditional ERP scene; here, Oracle must be acknowledged to be the market leader.
Following them, a considerable distance behind, are IBM DB2 including Blu, Microsoft-SQL servers, SAP MaxDB and Sybase ASE/IQ. As one would expect, in the Oracle, IBM and Microsoft area of activity, the issues that count are the capacity to run on existing hardware and also virtualisation. So let us consider the future prospects: in the summer, DSAG e. V. and E-3 magazine both asked – is your company planning to switch from ERP/Suite to SoH?
For SAP, the results produced by E-3 were horrific, even if the DSAG figures were even more disastrous: for 66 per cent of the SAP users surveyed by DSAG, a switch to SoH is not currently a topic under consideration; in the E-3 survey, a mere 51 per cent are considering such a switch.
In summary, the picture presenting itself is one in which Hana will take up a successful position in the BW environment – so long as Oracle, IBM and Microsoft do not counter this with validated in-memory-computing concepts. Despite SAP‘s numerous efforts to position the Hana platform for the Business Suite as a universal and unique platform, the evidence does not point to this being accepted and tolerated among the SAP community.