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What is SAP HANA?

SAP HANA is an in-memory data platform that is deployable as an on-premise appliance, or in the cloud. It is a revolutionary platform, which is best suited for performing real-time analytics, and developing and deploying real-time applications. At the core of this real-time data platform is the SAP HANA database, which is fundamentally different from any other database engine in the market today. This tutorial will teach you the basics of SAP HANA. The tutorial is divided into sections such as SAP HANA Basics, SAP HANA-Modeling, Reporting, and SAP HANA-SQL. Each of these sections contain related topics with screenshots explaining the SAP HANA database installations.

Who can learn?

  • Business application consultant
  • Data consultant / manager
  • Database administrator
  • Application developer
  • BI specialist
  • Implementationexperts

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  • SAP HANA Introduction and Architecture
      SAP HANA Overview
      SAP In-Memory Computing Overview
      SAP HANA Features
      Look and feel of SAP HANA
      SAP HANA Architecture
      SAP HANA Landscape
      Structure of SAP in-memory Computing studio
      Row store and column store Architecture
      Multi Version Currency Control(MVCC)
      Persistence Layer in In-memory Computing Engine
      Back up &Recovery
      Distributed System
      Data Provisioning options in SAP HANA
      Reporting options on SAP HANA
      Security options in HANA
      SAP HANA Appliance Model
      How SAP HANA Appliance is delivered
      Sizing Considerations
      SAP HANA – Licensing Options
      SAP HANA Project Implementation
      Overview: Key Activities
      Key Roles
      Key Points to keep in mind
  • Basic Modeling
      Modeling Overview
      SAP HANA Studio Features
      Information Modeler Overview
      Installation and Configuration of HANA Studio
      Prerequisites for Modeling
      Modeling Considerations
      Levels of Modeling
      Attribute Views
      Analytic Views
      Modeling Considerations
      Joins: Different types and when to use what.
      Where Class Vs Constraint Filters
      HANA Studio Preview(use with Caution)
      Impact of Query Execution
      Modeling Suggestions
      Troubleshooting Modeling Issues
      Export and Import Models
  • Reporting on HANA with BI 4.0
      HANA Reporting Layer & Connectivity Options
      Reporting on HANA Clients
      Reporting on HANA Open Interfaces
      Prerequisites for reporting on SAP HANA
      IMDB client installation
      Setting up new connection
      SAP Business Objects BI4.0:Overview & tool comparison
      Analytical Reporting on HANA
      Relational Reporting on HANA
      Reporting on HANA Demo Included
      Native Excel Interface via ODBO
      SAP Business Object Analysis(Office Edition)
      SAP Business Object Explorer
      Semantic Layer Approach
      IDT Vs Universe Designer
      SAP BOBJ Web I
      SAP BOBJ Xcelsius
      SAP Crystal Reports
      Enterprise Vs 2011
      Front end tool reporting considerations on top of HANA
      Troubleshooting common reporting issues
  • Advanced Data Modeling with SQL Script
      Modeling Overview
      Calculation View :Overview & Types
      SQL Script :Motivation
      SQL Script: Overviewv
      SQL Script Processing
      Data Type Extensions
      Scalar Data type
      Table type
      Functional Extension
      Procedure Calls
      Implementing Functional logic
      SQL Script/Built in Function
      Debugging and troubleshooting SQL Script
      Restrictions for SQL Statement
  • Data Provisioning: Data Services
      Data Provisioning :Overview
      Data Provision Options
      Trigger Based Replication
      ETL-Based Replication
      Log-Based Replication
      SAP Business Objects Data Services 4.0 and HANA
      ODP enabled Extractor Support in Data Services 4.0
      HANA and Data Service Process flow for SAP and non-SAP data
      How it works for SAP System
      How it works for Non-SAP System
      Advanced Data Service options
      Column tables creation
      Bulk loader options & config
      Bulk extracting options & config
      Log based replication overview
      Technical system landscape
      User administration
      Installing log based replication
      Updating the SAP host agent on source system
      Installing Sybase components
      Deploying the SAP HANA load controller and related components
      Configuring log based replication
      Configure SAP HANA load controller on SAP HANA system
      Initializing replication using SAP HANA system
      Initializing replication using SAP HANA load controller
      Data provisioning overview
      SAP landscape transformation set-up
      Options for SLT landscape installation
      Post installation stem
      Concept of SLT replication
      Architecture and key building block
      Technical requirement and system set-up information for LT replication server
      Key benefits of LT replicating server
      Transformational capabilities
      Security and user management in HANA
      Creation of users
      Creation of roles
      Assignment privileges to roles
      Assignment of users to roles
      Overview of HANA and S/4 HANA:
  • Technical Overview
  • Implementation Pre Requisites
  • Importance of Universal Journal
  • Central Finance
  • Changes in Reporting Options
  • Introduction to FIORI
    General Ledger:
  • Ledger
  • Currencies
  • CO Integration
  • Replaced/Removed Customizing Activities
    Asset Accounting:
  • Features of New Asset Accounting
  • Prerequisites for new architecture
  • New customizations in the system powered by S/4 HANA
  • Depreciation Calculation changes
    Management Accounting:
  • Account assignments in Universal Journal
  • COPA Characteristics in Universal Journal
  • Accounts and Cost elements
  • COGS Break up in Accounts
  • Variance Break up in Accounts
    Central Finance:
  • Overview of Central Finance
  • Mapping and Error handling
  • Suspense Account purpose
  • Migration Procedure & Methodology
  • Pre Requisites of Migration
  • Data Migration
  • Post Migration
  • Data storage in Migration
  • Changes in SFIN Add-on Versions


SAP HANA uses in-memory computing, a breakthrough technology that enables analysis of very large, non-aggregated data at unprecedented speed in local memory (vs. disk-based database) enabling complex analyses, plans and simulations on real-time data.

With the SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA, SAP brings together the SAP Business Suite applications and the next generation platform for real-time business SAP HANA and offers a wide range of innovations.

SAP HANA originates from developed or acquired technologies, including TREX search engine, an in-memory column-oriented search engine, PTIME, an in-memory OLTP database acquired by SAP in 2005, and MaxDB with its in-memory liveCache engine. In 2008, teams from SAP AG working with Hasso Plattner Institute and Stanford University demonstrated an application architecture for real-time analytics and aggregation, mentioned as “Hasso’s New Architecture” in SAP executive Vishal Sikka’s blog. Before the name HANA settled in, people referred to this product as New Database.

The product was officially announced in May 2010. In November 2010, SAP AG announced the release of SAP HANA 1.0, an in-memory appliance for business applications and business Intelligence allowing real-time response. The first product shipped in late November 2010. By mid-2011, the technology had attracted interest but the conservative business customers still considered it “in early days”. HANA support for SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse was announced in September 2011 for availability by November.

In 2012, SAP promoted aspects of cloud computing. In October 2012, SAP announced a variant called HANA One that used a smaller amount of memory on Amazon Web Services for an hourly fee.

In January 2013, SAP enterprise resource planning software from its Business Suite was announced for HANA, and became available by May. In May 2013, a software as a service offering called the HANA Enterprise Cloud service was announced.

Many of these innovations can be implemented in a side-by-side scenario not affecting any of the running systems and not causing any disruption to your IT. However, many of these innovations have the potential to bring your business to the next level: They offer completely new insights into all data inside the SAP Business Suite, enable new powerful analytical scenarios based on internal and external data and with the HANA applications enable complete new business processes.

SAP HANA converges database and application platform capabilities in-memory to transform transactions, analytics, text analysis, predictive and spatial processing so businesses can operate in real-time.

The in-memory data management program is an advanced development program to accelerate the development and delivery of a memory-based data management layer for transactional business applications, planning, data warehousing, and BI tools.

SAP HANA Enterprise 1.0 is an in-memory computing appliance that combines SAP database software with pre-tuned server, storage, and networking hardware from one of several SAP hardware partners. It is designed to support real-time analytic and transactional processing.

What are the technical components that make up HANA?

The heart of SAP HANA Enterprise 1.0 is the SAP In-Memory Database 1.0, a massively parallel processing data store that melds row-based, column-based, and object-based storage techniques. Other components of SAP HANA Enterprise 1.0 include:

  • 1. SAP In-Memory Computing Studio,
  • 2. SAP Host Agent 7.2,
  • 3. SAPCAR 7.10,
  • 4. Sybase Replication Server 15,
  • 5. SAP HANA Load Controller 1.00, and,
  • 6. SAP Landscape Transformation 1 – SHC for ABA.

SAP HANA runs the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP1 operating system. It is generally delivered as an on-premise appliance and is available now.

SAP HANA is designed to replicate and ingest structured data from SAP and non-SAP relational databases, applications, and other systems quickly. One of three styles of data replication- trigger-based, ETL-based, or log-based – is used depending on the source system and desired use-case. The replicated data is then stored in RAM rather than loaded onto disk, the traditional form of application data storage. Because the data is stored in-memory, it can be accessed in near real-time by analytic and transactional applications that sit on top of HANA.

SAP has delivered several next-generation, targeted analytic applications designed specifically to leverage the real-time functionality offered by HANA, including SAP Smart Meter Analytics and SAP CO-PA Accelerator. It is developing others focused on analytics related to retail, financial, telecommunications, and other industries and to horizontal use-cases such as human capital management.

HANA is highly-optimized to interface with the SAP Business Objects portfolio of reporting, dash boarding, and other analytic products. SAP plans to add HANA support for Business Warehouse in November, eliminating the need for Business Warehouse Accelerator in most customer environments. SAP is also migrating Business By Design, SAP s on-demand business suite for small and mid-sized businesses, on to HANA. Currently, HANA does not easily support non-SAP analytic or transactional applications without significant application re-architecting.

SAP has not publicly released specific pricing information regarding HANA, but early estimates indicate customers can initially have HANA up and running for under $300,000, including hardware, software, and services. Depending on scale, pricing levels can reach up to $2 million or more. HANA is not capable of storing petabyte-levels of data. However, due to its advanced compression capabilities, HANA deployments can store tens of terabytes of data or more, which is considered large data volumes in most current SAP customer environments.

Enterprises collect large volumes of structured data via legacy ERP, CRM, and other systems. Most struggle to make use of the data while spending large sums to store and protect it. One option to make use of this data is to extract, transform, and load subsets into a traditional enterprise data warehouse for analysis. This process is time-consuming and requires significant investment in related proprietary hardware. The result is often an expensive, bloated EDW that provides little more than backward-looking views of company data.

SAP HANA offers enterprises a new approach to harnessing the value of all that corporate data. As mentioned above, HANA runs on inexpensive commodity hardware from any of several SAP partners, including IBM, Dell, and HP. Its data replication and integration capabilities vastly speed up the process of loading data into the database. And because it uses in-memory storage, applications on top of HANA can access data in near-real time, meaning end-users can gain meaningful insight while there is still time to take meaningful action. HANA can also perform predictive analytics to help organizations plan for future market developments.

Oracle unveiled an in-memory analytic appliance of its own, called Exalytics, at Oracle OpenWorld in October 2011. Among the important differences compared to SAP HANA, Exalytics is designed to run on Sun-only hardware, it is a mash-up of various existing Oracle technologies, and there are few, if any, systems in production. As with all Oracle technologies, the risk of vendor lock-in is high, and the cost is significantly higher than comparable HANA deployments.

Real-time analytics as supported by SAP HANA have numerous potential use cases including:

  • 1. Profitability reporting and forecasting,
  • 2. Retail merchandizing and supply-chain optimization,
  • 3. Security and fraud detection,
  • 4. Energy use monitoring and optimization, and,
  • 5. Telecommunications network monitoring and optimization.

SAP HANA is not a platform for loading, processing, and analyzing huge volumes – petabytes or more – of unstructured data, commonly referred to as big data. Therefore, HANA is not suited for social networking and social media data analytics. For such uses cases, enterprises are better off looking to open-source big-data approaches such as Apache Hadoop or LexisNexis HPCC Systems, or even MPP-based next generation data warehousing appliances like EMC Greenplum or Teradata AsterData.

While SAP has promised a slew of new HANA-optimized applications, currently only a handful are on the market. It is incumbent upon SAP to follow through on its commitment with practical applications that address real-world business problems. Also, SAP HANA is not pre-optimized to support non-SAP applications, which requires significant application re-engineering on the part of enterprise IT groups.

Enterprises are increasingly demanding real-time analytic and transactional processing capabilities from business applications. HANA puts SAP in a good position to deliver such functionality for its customer-base of traditional enterprises. But SAP must balance innovation in the form of HANA and related applications with continuing support for its legacy back-office ERP and other business applications that form the backbone of many an enterprise IT environment.

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  • What are the product names?
    SAP has changed them around a lot and now they call it SAP HANA Appliance, SAP HANA Database and SAP HANA Studio. Applications built on HANA will be marked “powered by SAP HANA”. Probably they will change it all again.
  • What is SAP HANA Appliance 1.0?
      SAP HANA 1.0 is an analytics appliance that consists of certified hardware, an In Memory DataBase (IMDB) an Analytics Engine and some tooling for getting data in and out of HANA. You build the logic and structures yourself, and use a tool e.g. SAP BusinessObjects, to visualise or analyse data.
  • What are the limitations of HANA 1.0?
      It can only replicate certain data, from certain databases, in certain formats, using the Sybase Replication Server. Batch loading is done using SAP BusinessObjects Data Services 4.0 and is optimised only for SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 reporting.
  • What is SAP HANA 1.5, 1.2 or 1.0 SP03?
      These are all the same thing, and 1.0 SP03 is touted to be the final name for what should go into RampUp (beta) in Q4 2011. This will allow any SAP NetWeaver BW 7.3 Data Warehouse to be migrated into a HANA appliance. HANA 1.0 SP03 specifically also accelerates BW calculations and planning, which means you get even more performance gains.
  • What’s the difference between HANA and IMDB?
      HANA is the name for the current BI appliance (HANA 1.0) and the BW Data Warehouse appliance (HANA 1.0 SP03). Both of these use the SAP IMDB Database Technology (SAP HANA Database) as their underlying RDBMS. Expect SAP to start to differentiate this more clearly as they start to position the technology for use cases other than Analytics.
  • If I can run Net Weaver BW on IMDB/HANA, why can’t I run the Business Suite/ERP 6.0?
      Business critical applications. From a technology perspective, it is already possible to run the Business Suite on IMDB and SAP has trialled moving some large databases into IMDB already.
  • What is HANA great at?
      The best thing that HANA brings to the table is the ability to aggregate large data volumes in near real-time – and to have the data updated in near real-time. SAP’s demos show hundreds of billions of records of data being aggregated in a matter of seconds. SAP has built a set of Analytics Apps on top of HANA and this are set to be great point use cases to get customers up and running quickly.
  • What is HANA bad at?
      There are some current issues around HANA when delivering ad-hoc analytics, especially when using the SAP Business Objects Webi tool. Essentially the problem is that you can ask computationally very difficult questions with Webi, which can cause very long response times with HANA. SAP will need to build optimization for both Webi and HANA to reduce the computational complexity .
  • What does HANA cost?
      SAP hasn’t entirely confirmed HANA licensing costs but the hardware is somewhere around $1-200k per TB. Add to this licensing cost which are still being made on a per-customer basis.
  • Why is HANA so fast?
      Regular RDBMS technologies put the information on spinning plates of iron (hard disks) from which the information is retrieved. HANA stores information in electronic memory, which is some 50x faster (depending on how you calculate). HANA stores a copy on magnetic disk, in case of power failure or the like. In addition, most SAP systems have the database on one system and a calculation engine on another, and they pass information between them. With HANA, this all happens within the same machine.
  • Does HANA/IMDB replace Oracle?
      It’s the elephant in the room, but once the Business Suite runs on IMDB, Oracle won’t be needed any more by SAP customers who purchase HANA. This doesn’t affect anything in the short term because those people buying HANA today will still need an Oracle ERP system.
  • What is this about 10:1 compression with HANA compared to Oracle?
      A typical uncompressed Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server database, when put into HANA, will be 10x smaller than before and this is due to the way that HANA stores information in a compressed format. Note that most databases are now compressed and these numbers may not fit your scenario, and to add to this you need 2x the RAM as your database, plus room for growth. HANA sizing is still a dark art.
  • You mean I have to buy a HANA only 2.5x smaller than my big Oracle RDBMS? What about archiving and data ageing?
      Yes, in some instances you may have to buy a HANA appliance that is only 2.5x smaller than it would be under Oracle. And data ageing isn’t part of the 1.0 release, but SAP is certainly working on it pretty hard. Let’s hope they release something faster than you need to buy a bigger HANA appliance!
  • What’s the wider market opportunity for IMDB?
      This is the interesting thing – no one knows yet, and few analysts seem to have cottoned on that the wider market opportunity might be huge. Think not just SAP applications but any third party that requires ultra-high speed. Think not just an appliance but a development platform. Time will tell.
  • SAP HANA database hardware , What hardware is supported right now?
      Talk to your hardware vendor – all of the major vendors e.g. HP, IBM, Dell, have HANA offerings now. Technically HANA will run on any Intel x64 based system from your laptop through to the big 40-core, 2TB RAM servers. It is however only supported on a small number of big rack-mount servers like the Dell R910 and HP DL980.
  • Why doesn’t HANA run on blades?
      It’s unclear but probably because the blades don’t yet offer the same performance. HANA is optimized for the Intel X7560 CPU and will run fastest on this. And for instance, the Dell M910 blade can only run 2x X7650 CPUs and 512 GB RAM in this configuration, which probably explains the limitations. What’s certain is that HANA will eventually run on blades – it’s born to run on blade technology!
  • Does SAP make their own IMDB/HANA hardware?
      Yes, but only in the labs so far. There are no public plans to compete against IBM/HP/Dell in this space, but it may make sense for SAP to enter the appliance market, especially in the context of Data Centres and even more so in the context of the SAP Business by Design cloud offering, which will run on IMDB.
  • How big does HANA scale?
      Theoretically at least – very well. The biggest single-server HANA hardware will run most mid-size workloads – 2TB of in-memory storage is equivalent to 5-20TB of Oracle storage. The way that HANA works means that it is possible to chain multiple systems together – meaning that scalability has thus-far been determined by the size of customers’ wallets. Do note that whilst SAP talk up “Big Data” quite a lot, HANA currently only scales to the small-end of Big Data, which refers to the kind of huge datasets that Face Book or Google have to store – not Terabytes, but rather Peta bytes.
  • What storage subsystem does HANA use?
      This varies from vendor to vendor but it is shared network attached storage (NAS). Both regular magnetic disks and SSD storage can be used for the backup of the database (HANA runs in memory remember, so disk storage is just for backup, and later, for data ageing). Note that you require 2x storage that you have RAM, which is 2x the database size – i.e. storage size = 4x database size. In most cases there is additional ultra-high speed SSD storage for log files.
  • What source databases does HANA support in real-time?
      If you use Sybase Replication Server (SRS) for near real-time data then you need to watch out for licensing still (SAP have license deals pending). If you run DB2 then you’re fine but with Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server there are some license challenges if you buy your license through SAP, because you may have a limited license that does not allow extraction. Talk to SAP for further information on this.
  • What source databases does HANA support for batch loads?
      If you use SAP Business Objects Data Services 4.0 for bulk loads then pretty much anything. BO-DS is a very flexible Extract, Transform & Load tool that supports many databases – check out the specs for more details.
  • What additional limitations does Sybase Replication Server present?
      SRS has additional restrictions which are worth bearing on mind. It can only replicate Unicode data and does not support IBM DB2 compressed tables.