26 Replies Latest reply: Nov 21, 2013 2:01 PM by Beat Honegger RSS

HANA and the Overall Confusion

Mark Cunningham
Currently Being Moderated

HI All,

 

We just got back as well and boy are there so many opinions on HANA, the roadmap, etc. We decided to place this topic and group all questions we've read from earlier posts along with what other customers were saying and asking.

 

1. Does SAP HANA replace BI?

The way we look at this is BWA came out around 4-6 years ago (if we recall correctly).  Of the 15,000+ customers that have BI installed, how many adopted BWA (have implemented and using)?  Can this same conversion rate be said for HANA (meaning only a certain % of customers that either have BWA already or don't have BWA (so never implemented BWA) will implement HANA)?

 

It sounds like there will almost be 2 Data Warehouse solutions with SAP going forward.  Traditional BI the way it exists now and then HANA.  With HANA you get real-time data and instant query performance.  From what we've read and heard this past week a "HANA BI" will be a new set of tools to develop reporting solutions.  Now, how about all the transformation that currently occurs in traditional BI.  Updating to a cube there is most of the time some transformation, lookups, that happen to create a record.  Sure, HANA is in memory, but this same type of data transformation must happen to create a single record in some type of "InfoProvider" that BOBJ can read from and display in, for example, SAP Dashboarding, Crystal, Webi.

 

I have not seen or heard one explanation into the "SAP HANA" Data Warehouse approach.  Can someone comment regarding this most important point 1?

 

2. Will SAP continue 5-10 years down the road to support "Traditional BI"?

We don't see moving to HANA.  Sure concept sounds great, but we didn't see the need for BWA (data volume just not there) and we don't see the need for HANA.  We have less than 1% of our BI applications we need updated more regular than nightly.  So these exception solutions we load several times throughout the day.  This works for us.

 

3. What does this mean for our RDBMS, meaning ORACLE?

Does HANA mean customers using ORACLE, for example, can remove this hardware piece altogether in the future?  Side note:  If your ORACLE, what in the world are you thinking?

 

4. Is HANA going to be adopted and implemented more quickly on the ECC side than BI side first?

We assume SAP will concentrate on the ECC side first, thus maybe making a decision to go to HANA a possibility.  We really only hear what it does for BI, not ECC.

 

We could be confused, as everyone else, but I think the above would really clarify things for many.

 

Please comment.

 

Thanks!

  • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
    SOBIN GEORGE
    Currently Being Moderated

    My thoughts on your questions.

     

    1. "Updating to a cube there is most of the time some transformation, lookups, that happen to create a record. "

     

    Next question then: Do we need a Cube (Star schema) in HANA ? As Thomas Zurek blog says , there is not confirmed answer YES or NO for this question.

    Apparently with HANA 1.0 SP3 (scheduled for Q4 2011), SAP will make clear the way forward for business warehouse modelling tools in HANA.

     

    2. Will SAP continue 5-10 years down the road to support "Traditional BI"?

     

    SAP should tell us this, but I think traditional BI will be  around for coming 5 years.  10 years is too big time

     

     

    3. In all SAP presentations so far(2 of them ) I see that HANA is replicated from DB(ECC or BW or third party) or loaded from DB(as in extraction). So I think ORACLE continues. (If you are Oracle you can feel safe)

     

    Edited by: SOBIN GEORGE on May 21, 2011 11:30 PM

    • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
      Ethan Jewett
      Currently Being Moderated

      ... continued from above to retain formatting.

       

      3. What does this mean for our RDBMS, meaning ORACLE?

      Very interesting question. For a long time, SAP has supported competitive products to Oracle offerings. In my view, this was to give SAP and its customers options other than the major database vendors, and to give itself an out in the event that contract negotiations with a major vendor went south. So in a sense, HANA can be seen as maintaining this alternative offering.

       

      Of course, SAP says HANA is more than that, and I think they are right. Analytic DBMSes have been relatively slow catching on and as SAP's business slants more and more towards BI, the fact is that the continued use of traditional RDBMSes in BI and DW contexts has done a lot of damage by making it difficult to achieve good performance. It's a lot easier to sell fast reports than slow reports So that is another driver.

       

      Personally, I don't agree with SAP's rhetoric about HANA being revolutionary or changing the industry. The technologies and approaches used in the ICE are not new, as far as I have seen. As far as changing the industry, I'm reserving judgement on that until SAP releases some repeatable benchmarks against competing products. I doubt that HANA will significantly outperform competitive columnar in-memory databases like Exasol and ParAccel.

       

      If you are Oracle, you have a rejuvenated, and perhaps slightly more frightening competitor. I don't think anyone really thought that MaxDB was a danger to Oracle, but HANA holds more potential as a competitor to Exadata. Licensing discussions could get interesting.

       

      4. Is HANA going to be adopted and implemented more quickly on the ECC side than BI side first?

      Everything I have seen has indicated that SAP will be driving adoption in BI/Analytic scenarios first and then in the ECC/Business Suite scenario once everyone is satisfied with the stability of the solution. Keep in mind, the first version of HANA is still in ramp-up. SAP is usually very conservative in certifying databases to run Business Suite applications.

       

      Cheers,

      Ethan

      • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
        Shaun Wimpory
        Currently Being Moderated
        Ethan Jewett wrote:

         

        > If you are Oracle, you have a rejuvenated, and perhaps slightly more frightening competitor. I don't think anyone really thought that MaxDB was a danger to Oracle, but HANA holds more potential as a competitor to Exadata. Licensing discussions could get interesting.

         

         

        Your right, most people probably never thought that MaxDB would be much of a competitor to Oracle.  However as an Oracle DBA for the past 16 years, all I can say is once you go MaxDB ... you dont go back .... its fantastic.

  • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
    Witalij Rudnicki
    Currently Being Moderated
    CM wrote:

     

    > 1. Does SAP HANA replace BI?

    From the context I understand you mean "BW"? That's the one I tried to address earlier already: http://bit.ly/fp3Pmt

    > 2. Will SAP continue 5-10 years down the road to support "Traditional BI"?

    Interesting question, but I believe it is impractical. The question that has more speculation and therefore intriguing potential would be if SAP will continue HANA when particular people leave the company.

    > 3. What does this mean for our RDBMS, meaning ORACLE?

    It means you will need to do re-evaluation at some point of time. I doubt you would do anything else right now with Oracle or any other database just because of the current status of HANA.

    > 4. Is HANA going to be adopted and implemented more quickly on the ECC side than BI side first?

    From the SAP roadmap pov the answer is known: BW - first, Business Suite apps - later. But what intriguing me is "why in this order?" From my POV new database ([IMDB|http://bit.ly/ikpwQp] in this case) is much easier to be certified for ERP than for BW, so the answer should be in little value of running ERP on in-memory just for the sake of performance, without realizing the ultimate value of having one DBMS for OLTP and OLAP processing.

     

    I would like to hear others' opinions on this last one.

     

    Cheers,

    -Vitaliy

    • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
      Mark Foerster
      Currently Being Moderated

      But what intriguing me is "why in this order?" From my POV new database (IMDB in this case) is much easier to be certified for ERP than for BW, so the answer should be in little value of running ERP on in-memory just for the sake of performance, without realizing the ultimate value of having one DBMS for OLTP and OLAP processing.

       

      I would like to hear others' opinions on this last one.

       

      I haven't seen too much about IMDB, but from a personal theoretical standpoint I have to disagree. It should be much easier to certify IMDB as a database for BW than for ERP:

       

      - ERP systems are the most complex databases I have ever encountered, the read and write accesses are highly concurrent and with a hefty mix of sequential and random IO. Additionally the workload differs during the day and during the week. There can always be sudden peaks e.g. by dialog, RFC, update or batch processes. If you compare that with the mostly read-only BW systems and their (planned!) harmless sequential mostly INSERT writes, that is almost kid's play.

       

      - ERP systems are the most business critical: if you lose or corrupt your ERP data you can watch your company go down, but downtime or even lost data on BW would be less catastrophic

       

      - SAP is following a great evolutionary approach:

        1. add BWA to a BW system

        2. add HANA  as a Super-BWA to a BW system

        3. replace the BW database with IMDB

        4. replace other Netweaver databases with IMDB

        5. replace the BW + ERP database with IMDB and run both BW + ERP on ONE IMDB instance, thereby eliminating the painful data-load process

       

      So SAP is on the right track, they build up trust in the In-Memory technology on the way and tackle the problems with increasing difficulty. This reminds me of the Kaizen philosophy.

    • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
      Mark Cunningham
      Currently Being Moderated

      Hi Vitaliy,

       

      We were hoping you would respond

       

      We missed your answer to our question #1...very nice and just what we thought.  In some cases "HANA BW" will be the answer, in other cases "Traditional BW (as it is now..with perhaps BWA) and can even be a combination of the 2 where BW sits on top of HANA. 

       

      We were wondering what you meant specifically regarding this statement you made:

      "The question that has more speculation and therefore intriguing potential would be if SAP will continue HANA when particular people leave the company."

       

      Could you clarify this statement?

       

      Thanks!

      • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
        Witalij Rudnicki
        Currently Being Moderated
        CM wrote:

         

        > We were wondering what you meant specifically regarding this statement you made:

        > "The question that has more speculation and therefore intriguing potential would be if SAP will continue HANA when particular people leave the company."

        >

        > Could you clarify this statement?

         

         

        I am excited with this technology, it does not fit to me into SAP story... Talking Map/reduce and 3 levels of CPU cache to C-suites during SAPPHIRE keynote?? Something does not fit for me. Let me shut up here.

        • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
          Gregory Misiorek
          Currently Being Moderated

          Something does not fit for me.

           

          is this sentiment felt in SAP's internal halls as well? from my point of view, it's very fitting, but i agree that succession is not all that clear, but not yet impossible.

           

          this thread should be leveraged at least to the blog level, but again, it may be better to muse about it here, in a forum.

          • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
            Shantanu Sardeshmukh
            Currently Being Moderated

            Wow. A wealth of information here. EXCELLENT!!!! Please keep it  coming.

            I have been wondering for a while, what this new technology/platform means for Basis Architects like myself. Its quite unclear if there is going to be some kind of a technology course/certification for this.

             

            I hope the learned can shed some light on this topic.

             

            Regards

            Shantanu

            • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
              Witalij Rudnicki
              Currently Being Moderated

              Oh, this means very much for Basis folks, especially those who were not affraid of DBA tasks in the past. And if you have experience with TREXAdmin already, especially for BWA - managing IMDB will be somehow familiar for you.

              • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
                Shantanu Sardeshmukh
                Currently Being Moderated

                Thanks Vitaliy. It brings me to my next qsn. How can I get my hands on this? Is this currently only in Ramp up phase available only for Ramp Up partners? I heard that SAP is now working with DELL, to integrate HANA with the cloud.

                How would one go about to get some exposure on this new technology?

                • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
                  Witalij Rudnicki
                  Currently Being Moderated

                  No worries, it will hit you sooner or later

                   

                  Indeed it is in Ramp-up only currently, although I saw some trainings popping-up then disappearing and popping again.

                   

                  For the "HANA CloudApps" pre-announcement - that's my biggest confusing for the moment. I am waiting as well for the answer from SAP if this meant to be DB-as-a-Service or just play with the buzz...

                  • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
                    Mark Cunningham
                    Currently Being Moderated

                    Hi everyone,

                     

                    Many have added what they know and it's been a great discussion.  Based on reading more blogs, forums, presentations, etc...  Here are some more thoughts:

                     

                    We see one presentation that states basically the vision is HANA will replace the DB (in time) for your ERP, CRM, BI, APO, etc solution to run on (everything really).  All real-time data and of course great query performance (like BWA and now Sybase IQ that we just read about).   So the questions are:

                     

                    1. What is the difference between BWA, Sybase IQ and HANA?  Are BWA and Sybase the same (column storage for query performance) only (and the answer we believe is yes for both (we know BWA is) and HANA delivers this query performance advantage along with real-time data that BWA and Sybase IQ cannot deliver?

                     

                    2. Why would SAP position HANA as a, eventual, DB replacement and build the Information modeler where you can build a data warehouse?  Is it a end-all solution for your entire ERP and BI solutions?  If it's a DB basically, or positioned this way, why spend the time building tools to build a EDW?  Wouldnt' they want you to puchase HANA as the "DB" and put BW on top? 

                     

                    3. Why would any new customer purchase BW with HANA available (maybe some time before it delivers exactly what a BW does), but with HANA having modelling tools you can build the EDW there, no need for a BW "on top".  We don't get the BW "on top" we seen in presentations from SAP themselves.

                     

                    4. With building a EDW in HANA itself, it appears the fontend tools would have to be BOBJ related like Crystal, Xcelsius (or dashboarding we think it's called now) and Webi?  BEX, WAD, Query Designer are BW tools specifically.  So is this a way to get the BOBJ licenses increased.

                     

                    We've never seen a roll-out of the same, yet different, yet the same products before like this.  The Sybase IQ we just read about from the earlier post.  This in-memory technology has been around for some time it appears, it's nothing brand new.  How are these 3 products working together, or don't they? 

                     

                    5. We brought this up before in that BWA has been out for around 5+ years now.  Of the around 15,000 BW customers how many actually adopted/implemented BWA?  We don't see much demand out there as far as companies looking for this skillset.  Having said this, how many of the 15,000 existing BW customers will move to HANA?  Just a guess, but something for conversation.

                     

                    6. Finally, and disagree if you'd like, there is no doubts that there is no single solution that will fit every customer and their specific needs.  We think, but not sure, that there is a place for all these solutions.  Some being the following:

                     

                    a. Standalone HANA for BW (mainly new customers with no existing BW)

                    b. HANA + BW "on top" (new solutions developed in HANA and either existing solutions left in BW as is or over time migrated to HANA

                    c. Standalone BW as it stands today (this is basically what we said earlier about how many existing BW customers will adopt HANA or stay on BW because the nightly dataloads meet their business needs).  Not every customer, like a smart metering, airlines, retail need real-time data analysis.

                     

                    Everyone please comment on some or all of the above.

                     

                    Enjoy!

                    • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
                      Ethan Jewett
                      Currently Being Moderated

                      Hi CM,

                       

                      More quickly this time, as I don't have as much time I'll just answer your question by number to the best of my ability. Hopefully others will correct me if I get something wrong!

                       

                      1. BWA = In-memory columnar store with no support for standard SQL/MDX interfaces, though it does support use of BObj Explorer.

                       

                      Sybase IQ = Disk-based columnar database optimized for analytics and parallel processing, supporting pretty standard SQL interfaces.

                       

                      HANA includes IMDB, and when talking about a database it is best to talk about the IMDB and not about "HANA", which also includes the Data Services & Replication Server ETL tools. So IMDB is an in-memory, columnar database supporting pretty standard SQL and MDX.

                       

                      Sybase IQ and HANA are databases supporting SQL. HANA and BWA are "in memory". They are all columnar, MPP, and support significant compression gains over most row-based compression engines.

                       

                      2. The roadmap has BW running on top of HANA in the late 2011 or 2012 time-frame, depending on the version of HANA this integration is approved for. The information modeler that comes with HANA isn't (in my view) a datawarehouse toolkit any more than the information modelers that come with Oracle or DB2 are. Can you build a datawarehouse using this tool? Yes. Should you use this tool when there are other tools offering better levels of abstraction available, like BW? I don't recommend it.

                       

                      3. See answer to #2

                       

                      4. I believe you need to buy BObj licenses for use with HANA just like you need to buy them for use with BW, but you should talk to your SAP account rep about this.

                       

                      5. I don't have specific numbers on BWA adoption. I think it's been fairly high among large customers, just based on my experience. Regarding HANA, we'll see. People are still trying to figure out what HANA is, and in version 1.0 there is no native BW integration at this time.

                       

                      6. I agree that there is a place for each of these products. They each serve different needs. Some of them will be used together (BW and HANA eventually), some will be used in parallel for different use-cases at the same customer (HANA & Sybase IQ might be one example), and some will fill different needs at different customers (HANA stand-alone as a reporting datamart for a small customer vs. BW as an enterprise datawarehouse for a large customer).

                       

                      Cheers,

                      Ethan

    • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
      Mark Cunningham
      Currently Being Moderated

      Hi Vitaliy,

       

      One last question, do you know when "HANA BW" training will happen?  This ICE Studio (at least a name we saw that will basically be the RSA1 of HANA if you will) will need to be known to build a reporting solution (Cube, DSO, or whatever the object will be in HANA).

       

      Thanks!

    • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
      Beat Honegger
      Currently Being Moderated

      Hello

       

      Can not find your artical

       

      Beat

  • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
    Phil Gleadhill
    Currently Being Moderated

    Excellent thread and thanks for the discussion.

     

    To add to the overall SAP BI confusion, SAP acquired Sybase, which has a so called in-memory component, used for BI and Analytics, named Sybase IQ.

     

    There does not appear to have been any mention of Sybase IQ during the SAPPhire Keynotes on this, however the SAP / Sybase Sales Force is now conducting Webinars, positioning it in the BI / Analytics space.

     

    I know, as I recently received an invitation to attend such an event, conducted by SAP, in our region.

     

    Of course after the Sybase acquisition, they have an additional range of products to sell, IQ being one of them.

     

    With this overall confusion on direction, it would appear to be a good time to draw breath and wait, until things shake out over the coming period.

     

    Cheers, Phil Gleadhill.

  • Re: HANA and the Overall Confusion
    Phil Gleadhill
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi,

    I have heard that for legal reasons with HANA 1.0 that the Sybase Data Replication from ERP to HANA IMDB cannot be used if Oracle is the source SAP ERP Database layer.

    Therefore with HANA 1.0, the only way to replicate data from ERP/Oracle into IMDB is via the HANA included Business Objects Data Services.

     

    If the SAP ERP database is sy IBM DB2, or MaxDB, or MSSQL, apparently the same restriction does not apply.

     

    (Think about the recent very public and expensive Oracle - SAP Litigation as a possible reason?)

     

    Is anyone watching this from SAP or elsewhere able to confirm this as fact or not please, and if true also indicate if and when the restriction might be removed?

     

    Cheers, Phil Gleadhill.