While customers can purchase third-party database runtime licenses directly through SAP, these licenses only pertain to the SAP software they were purchased for. Over time, SAP has increased the price for third-party database licenses in favor of its own database Hana (up to 25 percent of the SAP application value (SAV) for Oracle).
SAV vs. HSAV
After customers purchase the first license for Hana, Runtime Edition for Applications and SAP BW (REAB), the measurement basis for license and support fees for third-party systems changes drastically. The Hana DB license value (15 percent of the entire Hana-relevant SAP application value (HSAV)) adds to the overall SAV, meaning license and support fees for third-party systems increase.
This is called the “full option”, which is offered the most often but makes the least sense from a customer’s perspective. Instead, customers can purchase a Hana REAB-Partial license which only covers the parts of an SAP landscape that actually run on the Hana database, ensuring that the HSAV doesn’t add too much onto the overall SAV. However, only 75 percent of the entire HSAV can be licensed that way.
If Hana is primarily used for SAP Business Warehouse (BW), customers can also opt for an SAP BW runtime license with a premium of “only” 8 percentage points.
Prerequisite for the Hana REAB-Partial license is the separation between systems running on Hana and systems running on third-party databases. Communication between the separated systems is only allowed to happen through APIs.
How about purchasing licenses directly from third-party providers?
Purchasing licenses directly from third-party database providers can be an alternative. However, the IT infrastructure of SAP databases is typically not license optimized if it had been covered by runtime licenses before. Consequently, a complete overhaul of licensing models needs to be prefaced by an evaluation of technological feasibility.
Uncertainty at SAP
An additional risk factor is uncertainty. It seems as though support for third-party database licenses after 2025 is still up in the air. SAP note 2881788 offers the following statement, “Runtime licenses for third-party databases are not affected by this new maintenance strategy for Business Suite 7. Treatment of third-party runtime databases after 2025 will be announced once coverage from these vendors is confirmed.”
It’s possible that Oracle, IBM and Microsoft see this as their last chance to increase prices before they are leaving the SAP realm altogether. This means additional costs, which SAP will transfer to customers – any price hike for third-party databases is good news for Hana, after all.
Operating both Hana and third-party databases can lead to high licensing costs. The still uncertain contract terms between SAP and providers like Oracle, Microsoft and IBM mean additional risk for customers. Leveraging Hana-REAB Partial or purchasing licenses directly from third-party providers can remediate high costs.
If companies are planning to move to S/4 in the near future, it can also make sense to leave third-party databases behind and take the first step on the journey to S/4 with Business Suite on Hana.