De-coding SAP HANA – A 101 Guide

SAP HANA – the most recent celeb in the SAP industry. Being the celebrity that it is, SAP HANA quite naturally carries a cloud of questions along with it. Here is a short guide on SAP HANA and its capabilities at a micro level.

A Micro Dissection

Contrary to conventional methods of storing data in hard disks, HANA stores data in its In-memory storage, which makes it faster to retrieve. This is precisely why SAP HANA can present information, at ‘real-time’ speeds, as there is very less or no interruption in pulling out the data from its source.

How does HANA consume less space, yet has more speed?

Dictionaries – that’s the secret word.  Historically, programmers create ‘foreign key references’ for repetitive phrases.  HANA intelligently identifies repetitive phrases, indexes them and stores the key reference in the table layer, by creating a dictionary. This way, data gets compressed 7-30 times in HANA database, and reduces data space consumption to magnificent levels. For example: A 1 TB database will be reduced to 100 GB, without compromising its speed.

‘Row to column’ or ‘Column to row’?

SAP HANA is all about providing information at a real-time speed. In reality, this is possible only when retrieval and updation is easier. Conventional databases save information in the form of rows, while SAP HANA stores them in the form of columns, hence updating information and retrieving the same is faster and easier, as there are dedicated columns for storing a bunch of data. Since SAP HANA already stores information in a column format, it eliminates the need for Indexing, which is an outdated method of storing information in a column format.

Are SAP’s applications HANA-ready?

HANA’s high performance can be attributed to one of its characteristics of saving SAP’s function modules, RFC’s and calculations etc., at the ‘Application layer.’ This quality of storing data in the application layer instead of the ‘Database layer,’ helps in increasing the performance to greater levels, sometimes increasing data retrieval speeds, from 5 minutes to 5 seconds. This quality has largely helped in achieving ‘multi-database portability’ too.

Since SAP is in efforts to reduce HANA’s dependency on Oracle, proprietary components are being built for all the functional modules, in HANA database. This way SAP’s applications will get optimized to accommodate the conversion of functional modules to ‘procedures’ which gets stored in the database layer, thereby increasing the performance to multiple levels. This is what SAP calls as HANA-ready. The good news is, almost all of SAP applications will be HANA-ready in the future.

How does SAP HANA provide updated information at real-time speeds?

SAP HANA saves data in 2 tables, the ‘Main table’ and the ‘Delta table.’ Every time an insert is done, dictionaries are created and the entries are temporarily saved in the Delta Table. Whenever computing power is available, the entire Main table gets re-organized. At any given time, the complete table is tuned, updated and is skewed towards increasing performance. Once the re-organization is completed, the new updated table remains, while the old Main table and the Delta table are discarded. SAP HANA’s highlight lies in handling queries seamlessly, even during the re-organization process. Hence, data is presented at tremendous real-time speeds.

How does SAP HANA provide high performing analytical reports?

SAP HANA combines online transactional processing and online analytical processing into a single in-memory platform. With the power of these duo processors, SAP HANA generates high performance operation and analytical reports from the same system.

Can Kaar migrate our current ECC to SAP HANA?

Yes, we can. After configuring your current ERP application, Kaar can seamlessly migrate your ECC to SAP HANA. Migration process starts by verifying specific user IDs and other authentications. In order to migrate ECC to SAP HANA, the most recent kernel patch level, SAP Kernel 7.38 is used.

SAP HANA migration supports the following database platforms [Oracle 11.2, IBM BD2, LUW 9.7, MaxDB 7.8, MS SQL Server 2008, and DB2]

The following are the migration requirement checklists, verified before proceeding with the migration:

  • Current SAP ECC should be upgraded to SAP ECC 6.0, EHP6 version of SAP HANA (616)
  • The ECC system should be a Unicode system. (However conversion of Single Code Page Systems to Unicode within the migration scope is also possible.)
  • Dual-stack SAP ECC systems {ABAP+Java} should be separated by isolating ABAP stack from the Java stack.
  • Application servers and HANA Database servers need to synchronized to the same time zone.
Andrew John

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