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Ever since SAP-HANA was announced couple of years back, I've been following the discussions/developments around In-Memory Database space. In Oct 2011, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison introduced Oracle Exalytics to compete with SAP-HANA. After reading white papers on both SAP-HANA and Oracle Exalytics, it was obvious they were different. The comparison of SAP-HANA and Oracle Exalytics is like comparing apples to oranges.


On May 8, 2012 I tweeted:


SAP Mentor David Hull responded:


I was a bit surprised to know that most don't have a clue as to the difference between Exalytics and SAP-HANA. The difference looked obvious to me. I realized either I was missing something or they were. So I decided to write this blog. And since this blog compares SAP products with Oracle products, I've decided to use Oracle DB instead of generic term RDBMS.


First I'll discuss the similarity between SAP-BW, Oracle-Exalytics and SAP-HANA. At a very high level, they look similar as shown in the picture below:



As shown, BW application sits on top of a database, Oracle or SAP-HANA. And the application helps the user find right data. The similarity ends there.


Let us now review how Oracle-Exalytics compares with SAP-BW with Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA): As you can see below, there appears to be one-to-one match between the components of SAP-BW and Exalytics.




1 and 1a

Data found in BWA;

and returned to the user

Data found in

Adaptive Data Mart & returned to the user

2 & 2a

Data found in OLAP

Cache and returned to the user

Data found in Intelligent cache and returned to the user

This means data was not found in BWA

or Adaptive Data Mart

3 & 3a

Data found in

Aggregates and returned to the user

Data found in Essbase Cubes and returned to the user

This means data was not found in

1) Adaptive Data Mart or BWA and

2) OLAP Cache or Intelligent Cache

4 & 4a

Data found in Cubes

and returned to the user

Not sure if Essbase supports aggregates;

However Oracle supports materialized

views;I assume this is similar to SAP-BW's aggregates.




The diagram below shows why Exalytics Vs SAP-HANA comparison is like apple to orange comparison. In Exalytics, the information users need gets pre-created at a certain level/granularity. One of the best practices in BW/DW world is to create the aggregates upfront to get acceptable response times.


In SAP-HANA, however, aggregates are created on the fly; data in SAP-HANA resides in raw form, and depending on what users need, the application performs the aggregation at runtime and displays the information on the user's screen. This helps the users perform analysis near real-time and more quickly.




Based on the diagrams shown above, Exalytics it seems is comparable to SAP's six year old BWA technology.




Based on discussions above, the diagram below compares all three products SAP-BW with BWA, Exalytics and SAP-HANA.




                                           Note: I didn't connect Disk to HANA DB because it is primarily used for persistence.


I wanted to keep this blog simple so didn't include a lot of details. Depending on your questions/thoughts, I'm planning to either update this blog or write new blog.



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