Update IV: The SAP HANA FAQ - answering key SAP In-Memory questions

I’ve been meaning to pen an update to this FAQ for nearly 2 years, with this being the primary listed reference on Wikipedia, but somehow never found the time. When I heard Steve Lucas wanted to collaborate, I thought it was time for a rewrite and update!

Part 1 – HANA Overview

  • What is SAP HANA?
  • Why did SAP build a database?
  • Is SAP HANA just a database?
  • Where does SAP HANA come from?
  • What makes SAP HANA fundamentally different?
  • What kinds of use cases does SAP HANA support?
  • What SAP Applications run on SAP HANA?
  • What’s the business case for SAP HANA?
  • Is SAP HANA a database, platform, appliance, or cloud?
  • How does SAP HANA compare to Oracle or IBM?
  • How is HANA licensed?

Part 2 – HANA Technology

  • How big can a SAP HANA database grow? Does it scale?
  • Is SAP HANA a row- or column-oriented database?
  • Does SAP HANA require indexes or aggregates?
  • Is SAP HANA a Big Data platform?
  • Is SAP HANA Enterprise Ready?
  • What is the SAP HANA release schedule?
  • What happens if the power goes out?
  • What hardware does SAP HANA run on?
  • What Operating Systems does SAP HANA run on?
  • What development software does SAP HANA use?
  • What client software does SAP HANA support?
  • What language was SAP HANA written in?
  • What happens if my data exceeds my memory size? Can I control data temperature?
  • What's coming next for SAP HANA?
  • Where can I find more detail?
  • Notes and sources

Part 1 – HANA Overview

What is SAP HANA?

SAP HANA is an in-memory database and application platform, which is for many operations 10-1000x faster than a regular database like Oracle on the same hardware. This allows simplification of design and operations, as well as real-time business applications.  Customers can finally begin to reduce IT complexity by removing the need for separate and multiple Application Servers, Operational Data Stores, Datamarts and complex BI Tool implementations.

SAP HANA is a “reinvention” of the database, based on 30 years of technology improvements, research and development. It allows the build of applications that are not possible on traditional RDBMS, and the renewal of existing applications like the SAP Business Suite.

Why did SAP build a database?

SAP co-founder and Chairman Hasso Plattner believed that if a database could be built with a zero response time, that business applications would be written fundamentally differently – and IT landscapes could be simplified. The research institution at the Hasso Plattner Institution in Potsdam theorized that with modern computers and software design, this would be very nearly possible.

SAP makes business applications and since it was clear that none of the incumbent software vendors like Oracle would write such a database and application platform, they needed to build their own. In addition, this would be the springboard for a complete renewal and simplifying of SAP’s applications to take them through the next 20 years.

Is SAP HANA just a database?

No. When SAP went to build HANA, they realized that the next generation of business applications would require a much more integrated approach than in the past.

SAP HANA contains – out of the box – the building blocks for entire enterprise applications. HANA can take care of the requirements that would be served by many layers in other application platforms, including transactional databases, reporting databases, integration layers, search, predictive and web. All of this is served up working out the box, with a single installation.

Where does SAP HANA come from?

SAP built SAP HANA from the ground up, including research from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, the acquisition of the IP from the p*Time database, the TREX search engine, BWA in-memory appliance and MaxDB relational database. It has been extended with intellectual property from the Business Objects and Sybase acquisitions with products like Sybase IQ and Business Objects Data Federator.

Whilst HANA has a legacy and some code from other products, the bulk of the database and platform has been written from the ground up.

What makes SAP HANA fundamentally different?

SAP HANA is different by design. It stores all data in-memory, in columnar format and compressed. Because HANA is so fast, sums, indexes, materialized views and aggregates are not required, and this can reduce the database footprint by 95%. Everything is calculated on-demand, on the fly, in main memory.  This makes it possible for companies to run OLTP and analytics applications on the same instance at the same time, and to allow for any type of real-time, ad hoc queries and analyses.

On top of this SAP built solutions to all the problems of columnar databases, like concurrency (HANA uses MVCC) and row-level insert and update performance (HANA uses various mechanisms like a delta store).

If this wasn’t enough SAP added a bunch of engines inside HANA to provide virtual OLAP functionality, data virtualization, text analysis, search, geospatial, graph (will be available soon) and web. It supports open standards like REST, JSON, ODBO, MDX, ODBC and JDBC. There is as much functionality in there as a whole Oracle or IBM software stack, in one database.

What kinds of use cases does SAP HANA support?

The first HANA deployments were all analytical use cases like Datamarts and Data Warehouses because the benefits are there right out the box. EDWs like SAP BW run like lightening with a simple database swap.

With a transactional application like Finance or Supply Chain, most things run a little better from a simple database swap (SAP claim 50% faster for their own core finance).  The real benefits come when logic from the applications are optimized and pushed down to the database level, from simplification of the apps (SAP is building a simplified version of their Business Suite), or from ancillary benefits like real-time operational reporting, real-time supply chain management or real-time offer management.

Best of all, unlike the other database systems in the market, HANA supports all applications on the same instance of data at the same time.  No more copying, transforming and re-organizing data all over the enterprise to meet the needs of different applications. HANA perfectly serves the needs of all applications with one “system of record” instance.

SAP has provided a Use Case Repository that catalogues the various use cases for HANA.

What SAP Applications run on SAP HANA?

SAP CEO Bill McDermott said “HANA is attached to everything we have”.

Almost all the major SAP Applications now run on the SAP HANA platform. This includes the SAP Business Suite (ERP, CRM, PLM, SCM) and the SAP BW Data Warehouse.

The BI Suite including BusinessObjects Enterprise, Data Services and SAP Lumira are all designed to run on the HANA platform.

There are a set of Applications Powered by SAP HANA including  SAP Accelerated Trade Promotion Planning, SAP Collection Insight, SAP Convergent Pricing Simulation, SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence, SAP Demand Signal Management, SAP Assurance and Compliance Software, SAP Liquidity Risk Management, SAP Operational Process Intelligence, and SAP Tax Declaration Framework for Brazil.

In addition, SAP runs much of its cloud portfolio on HANA, including the HANA Cloud Platform and SAP Business ByDesign. The Ariba and SuccessFactors apps are in the process of migration.

What’s the business case for SAP HANA?

We’ve built business cases for HANA deployments of all sizes and whilst they vary, there at a few common themes:

  • TCO Reduction. In many cases HANA has a lower TCO. It reduces hardware renewal costs, frees up valuable enterprise storage and mainframes and requires much less maintenance
  • Complexity to simplicity.  HANA simplifies landscapes by using the same copy of data for multiple applications.  Our implementations have shown that adding additional applications to a HANA dataset are very fast and easy, delivering business benefits quickly
  • Differentiation. HANA’s performance, advanced analytics (Predictive, Geospatial, Text analytics) and simplicity often mean a business process can be changed to be differentiating compared to competitors. Customer scenarios like loyalty management, personalized recommendations and anything where speed or advanced analytics capabilities are differentiating are all candidates
  • Risk Mitigation. Many customers know that in-memory technologies are changing the world and so want to put an application like SAP BW on HANA or LOB Datamarts as a first step, so they can react quickly for future business demands.

Is SAP HANA a database, platform, appliance, or cloud?

SAP HANA was designed to be a truly modern database platform, and as a result the answer is: all of the above. A modern database should be a database, platform and be available on-premise or in the cloud.

SAP has a large installed-base of on premise ERP customers, and the HANA platform supports their needs, especially the need for an enterprise-class database. Many of those customers are looking for an on-premise database to replace the traditional RDBMS.

The demanding needs of an in-memory database mean that SAP elected to sell SAP HANA as an appliance, and it comes pre-packaged by the major hardware vendors as a result.

However the future of business is moving into the cloud, and SAP HANA is available as Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) with HANA Cloud Platform and Managed Cloud as a Service (McaaS) with secured HANA Enterprise Cloud and via 3rd party cloud vendors. Customers can also choose Hybrid deployment model that combines on premise and cloud. More details on this are available here.

How does SAP HANA compare to Oracle or IBM?

SAP HANA was designed to be a replacement to Oracle or IBM databases, either for net new installations or for existing customers. In most cases it is possible to move off those databases easily, and gain reporting performance benefits out of the box. Then it is possible to adapt the software to contain functions that were not possible in the past.

All three of the major RDBMS vendors have released in-memory add-ins to their databases in the last year. All of them support taking an additional copy of data in an in-memory cache, or in IBM’s case columnar tables.  All of them provide improved performance for custom data-marts.  But make no mistake; caching data has been around for a long time, while an in-memory database platform to run transactions and analytics together in the same instance is a new innovation.

Traditional database caching solutions are similar to the GM and Ford response to hybrid cars – take their existing technology and bolt new technology to it. SAP HANA is more akin to Tesla, who rebuilt the car from the ground up based on a new paradigm.

And so HANA’s capabilities from a business application perspective are 3 years ahead in technology from what others have.

How is HANA licensed?

SAP tried to keep licensing simple with HANA.

HANA is available in the Cloud as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and as an application platform (AaaS), and it is possible to buy all those options now, on a monthly basis, from the SAP Website.

For on-premise customers, HANA is licensed in one of two major ways:

First, is as a proportion of your Software Application value (SAV), just like you can license other databases from SAP. This could be for your whole estate, or for a specific product like BPC.

Second, is by the unit, which is 64GB of RAM. There are a few editions of HANA, depending on your need, that bundle other software and allow more, or less, restrictive usage. The pricing is tiered, depending on the number of units you buy, and accretive.

In all cases, HANA licensing includes a lot of functionality that you would pay extra for in other databases. For example, Dev, Test, HA, DR licensing are always included. And if you buy HANA Enterprise, you have access to all functionality at no additional cost – including Predictive Libraries, Spatial, Graph, OLAP, Integration and Web. HANA contains a huge amount of functionality that would require 20-30 different SKUs from Oracle.

For those customers who need the base functionality of HANA but not the bells and whistles, there is now a HANA Base Edition, on which you can add other functionality as required, at a lower cost point.

Part 2 – HANA Technology

How big can a SAP HANA database grow? Does it scale?

With current hardware, SAP HANA can scale up to 6TB for a single system, and can scale out to 112TB in a cluster, or more. There is no hard technical limit to the size of a HANA cluster. Higher configurations are tested and certified at customer sites.

We are currently working with 24TB single systems with SAP that we expect to see this year.

At Bluefin Solutions, we regularly work with 2-10TB of memory in a single HANA DB, and this is where we find most business cases make sense. Remember that a 10TB HANA appliance can store a vast amount of data (as much as 50-100TB from a traditional RDBMS due to HANA’s data compression capabilities); this could represent all the credit card transactions for a top 10 bank for 10 years or more.

In addition, we find that customers look to be more intelligent about how they tier data with an in-memory appliance. Once the HANA database grows past 2TB, it makes a lot of sense to use a cold store like Sybase IQ for slow-changing data.

Is SAP HANA a row- or column-oriented database?

SAP HANA stores data for processing primarily in columnar format.  But unlike other columnar databases, HANA’s columnar store was designed from the beginning to be efficient for all databases operations (reads, writes, updates). In practice, 99% of the database tables in SAP ERP are columnar tables, including transactional and master data tables.

HANA can also store data in row format, but this is primarily used to store configuration information and queues – only scenarios for which the column store is specifically not suited. With HANA, data is stored once, in its most granular form, and aggregated on request. There is no hybrid row/column store, no duplication or replication of data between row and column stores – HANA stores the data in the column store only.

Does SAP HANA require indexes or aggregates?

Every column in SAP HANA is stored as an index, and therefore HANA has no need for separate primary indexes. Secondary indexes with multiple columns are possible and used for OLTP scenarios like the Business Suite. HANA will also self-generate helper indexes to ensure that multi-column joins are efficient.

It is almost never necessary to aggregate data in HANA in advance because HANA calculates so quickly. HANA processes at 3bn scans/sec/core and 20m aggregations/sec/core which means 360bn scans/sec and 2.5bn aggregations/sec on a typical 120-core appliance. As a result it is much more efficient to calculate the information you require on demand.

Is SAP HANA a Big Data platform?

Yes, although HANA is best suited to high-value data, because it keeps data mostly in-memory. When Big Data is low value (e.g. web logs), HANA is very well suited as the store for high-value aggregated information and applications.  This could be an organization’s hot data, e.g., 4 months of financial information for quarterly reporting.  Other sources could be used to store additional data; for example SAP IQ could store 13 months of financial data for annual reporting (warm data) and Hadoop could store >10 years of financial data for seasonal and long term trend analysis (cool data).  Large volumes of data in both IQ and Hadoop can be analyzed in combination with data in HANA, so it is possible to process the data in HANA into full-text Google-style indexes without storing all the detail in HANA.

Is SAP HANA Enterprise Ready?

Yes. From its inception, HANA was intended to be a mission-critical database.

SAP HANA always stores a copy of data on disk for persistence, so if the power goes out, it will load data back into memory when power is restored (generally on-demand, but this is configurable). It stores logs so a very low Recovery Point Objective is possible.

HANA also has inbuilt capabilities to replicate the data to standby systems, so in a cluster, you can have High Availability and in any configuration you can have a cluster for Disaster Recovery and Fault Tolerance for business continuity. Disaster Recovery can be configured at the storage-level (depending on vendor) and also at the database level, which is called system replication.

It’s worth noting that most customers implement either HA or DR for HANA. It is exceptionally easy to setup (DR takes just a few clicks) and most customers that invest in HANA find business continuity is important to them.

SAP HANA also has interfaces for 3rd party backup and monitoring, like TSM or NetBackup. Solution Manager and SAP Landscape Virtualization Management are supported if you’re an SAP shop.

What is the SAP HANA release schedule?

SAP HANA was designed to be “timeless software”, meaning that any revision can be updated to any other revision with no disruption. It is possible to update from any revision of HANA to any other, with very few restrictions.

Every 6 months there is a major release of HANA, called a Service Pack. Service Pack 8, or SPS08, was released in June 2014. SPS09 is expected in November 2014. These contain new features and major updates, and SAP HANA continues to be developed.

Each SPS gets a number of updates, or revisions, and these contain fixes and performance improvements only, as you would expect in enterprise software. Typically these are released every 2-6 weeks, based on demand. As HANA matures, we have seen fewer revisions per SPS.

In addition, there are maintenance releases of SAP HANA for the previous SPS for an additional 6 months, to allow customers to apply critical fixes whilst planning an update to the latest SPS. The maintenance releases contain only critical bug fixes.

What happens if the power goes out?

SAP HANA is a completely ACID-compliant database which is designed to have a low Recovery Point Objective (RPO). HANA writes savepoints to disk at frequent intervals, which contain a snapshot of what is in memory. In-between savepoints, HANA saves a log of each database change to a fast flash disk.

If the power goes out, HANA loads the last savepoint and then plays the logs back, to ensure consistency.

What hardware does SAP HANA run on?

HANA appliances must be certified and come either as pre-build appliances from your vendor of choice or as a custom build using your storage and networks “Tailored Datacenter Integration” or TDI.

SAP maintains a list of certified hardware platforms which currently includes Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, Huawei, IBM (Lenovo), NEC and SGI, and is being extended all the time. Note that this list only contains the new “Ivy Bridge” appliances and not the older “Westmere” appliances.

The exact hardware and storage configuration varies depending on a vendor. Some use servers and other use blades, some used a SAN storage network whilst IBM uses local storage with the GPFS distributed file system. In our experience, all these variants work very well.

In addition you can buy HANA in the cloud from Amazon, SAP and various other outsource partners like T-Systems or EMC. In this case, you can either pay a monthly subscription fee including license, or use an existing Enterprise license “Bring Your Own License”.

What Operating Systems does SAP HANA run on?

For Intel x86, both SUSE Linux and RedHat Linux are now supported options. Both have a SAP-specific installer that configures Linux correctly for SAP HANA out the box.

For IBM POWER, the SUSE Linux operating system will be supported. At this time it does not look like SAP will support AIX.

What development software does SAP HANA use?

SAP HANA has two primary development environments. The main desktop software is called HANA Studio, which is based on Apache Eclipse. HANA Studio allows for administration and development in a single interface, which is extremely effective. It is possible to create entire developments in HANA Studio, which provides application lifecycle management and development capabilities for all HANA artifacts – from data model through to stored procedures through to web application code.

There is also a web editor and administration panel based on Apache Orion, which continues to be developed and is a useful addition. We expect to see convergence of these two tools in the future, to allow choice for cloud developers in particular.

Lifecycle management is entirely managed within a Web application within the XS Application Server.

What client software does SAP HANA support?

SAP HANA has a wide range of interfaces. SAP’s own BI Suite, Lumira, Design Studio and Analysis for Office software all have native HANA connectors. Likewise, many third party applications like Tableau, Qlik and MicroStrategy all have HANA connectors.

SAP HANA has open standards support for ODBC, JDBC, ODBO and MDX as well as a raw SQL client, hdbsql. In addition, there are Python libraries for HANA.

Integration support is possible using the XS Engine for OData and Server Side JavaScript.

In addition, ETL software like Data Services and Informatica is supported, as well as System Landscape Transformation (SLT) and Sybase Replication Server (SRS) for real-time replication.

What language was SAP HANA written in?

The majority of the SAP HANA software stack was written in C++. In fact, when you compile SAP HANA objects, they do in turn become C++ code, which is one of the reasons why HANA is so fast. The Predictive Analysis Library and Business Function Libraries are also written in a HANA-specific variant of C++ called L-Language, which provides memory protection.

Certain optimizations have been made using C and machine code, which is common for many databases. In addition, a lot of the tooling for HANA was written in Python, for ease of writing and adaption.

Since SAP HANA contains a web server, a lot of code is now written in HTML and Server-Side JavaScript – including the SAPUI5 library and Apache Orion-based Web Editors.

What happens if my data exceeds my memory size? Can I control data temperature?

HANA always stores data on disk and loads parts of database tables on demand into RAM. When RAM is exhausted, HANA will drop out parts of database tables that were least recently used.

In addition, the Smart Data Access data virtualization layer allows you to access data in any other database, like Sybase IQ or even Oracle and transparently access it like any other data in HANA. This helps improve the TCO of HANA, and simplifies your IT landscape by reducing the amount of data copied, transformed and moved around the enterprise.

In a future release of SAP HANA, we expect to see a transparent disk store, where warm, lower value data can be stored at a lower TCO. This is called dynamic tiering.

It’s worth noting that HANA and Hadoop are great friends – you can store documents and web logs in Hadoop and then store aggregated information in HANA for super-fast analysis. Need to add a new measure? Run a batch job in Hadoop from HANA to populate it.

What's coming next for SAP HANA?

The HANA SPS08 release was all about enterprise readiness and stability and there were relatively few new features. In SPS09 we see this changing once more and it looks like there will be lots of new functionality that customers will find useful. These are the themes we expect:

Support for more hardware platforms (IBM Power, maybe Intel E5) with fewer restrictions on components, plus larger hardware platforms (16- and 32-socket), and multi-tenancy.
A built-in disk-based store that supports dynamic data tiering for warm data, to reduce TCO.
The start of integration for event processing and ETL, and code push-down, and HANA Studio Integration.
Increased support for Hadoop and HDFS access.
Improvements to system replication, backup and system copies for Enterprise scenarios.

Where can I find more detail?

I have taken the time to curate a page on SAP’s Community Network SCN “SAP HANA – a guide to Documentation and Education”, which contains numerous links to other resources. If you’d like to know more about SAP HANA, then this is a great place to start.  SAPHANA.com is also a wonderful resource to find out more about HANA. You can start using HANA today with free SAP HANA developer edition.

Notes and sources

Some of this information came from meetings and interviews with the key HANA friends at SAP – Hasso Plattner, Vishal Sikka, Franz Färber, Mike Eacrett, Steffen Sigg and many others.

Special thanks to Steve Lucas for his efforts collaborating on this FAQ with me. Steve lives and breathes HANA and having his input into this FAQ is awesome! Also, thank you to Mike Prosceno and Amit Sinha for their editorial assistance. All the good stuff in this piece is theirs, and the mistakes are all mine.

As an end-note, the questions in this FAQ were compiled from two primary locations - articles and comments on existing HANA sources, and conversations with customers. If you think there are questions missing - please go ahead and ask them in the comments!


  • vinay reddy

    is ABAP on HANA entirely different from ABAP on SAP netweaver..


    • Tom Considine

      John, thanks for a nice overview of HANA.

      Beyond blinding speed, I hope SAP will consider the programmer's convenience.

      Are there plans to extend SQLScript, for example, to provide genuine table functions (like Microsoft's)?

      Or plans to enrich Studio to streamline code development (for example, alter procedure rather than hop between windows)?

      These would both be boons to developers.


  • vinay reddy

    is ABAP on HANA entirely different from ABAP on SAP netweaver..


  • Santosh Kumar Donthula


    For How big can a SAP HANA database grow? Does it scale?

    Can you please help me whether are there any new values for Maximum TB/Maximum number of Nodes Supported with scale up and scale out (SP09) .


    • John Appleby

      RE: Santosh Kumar Donthula

      Hey Santosh,

      If you look at the certified HANA hardware directory you will see there is a 56x3TB = 168TB Lenovo installation certified: https://global.sap.com/community/ebook/2014-09-02-hana-hardware/enEN/appliances.html

      Honestly 168TB is a pretty big system but it's possible to go larger if you want, or with a different vendor. In this case you just need to do a Tailored Datacenter Integration installation.

      For Suite on HANA, SGI and HP have 12TB systems certified and SGI also have a 24TB system which is pending certification.


  • Swathi

    Its very much informative document.
    SAP BW on HANA after upgrade of 7.4 is there any road map for BW.


    • John Appleby

      RE: Swathi

      There is but I don't believe it is a public roadmap yet. Look out at SAP TechEd 2015 in November for good news! :-)



    Awesome article , Thanks for sharing this awesome info.



    • Vinicius Lima

      HANA Supportability question.
      Is HANA supported on a SAN 4g Environment?


  • Shaun Snapp

    So every SAP application runs on a giant HANA instance? Therefore, the APO CIF goes away, as do the BW adapters and all other adapters. When does that become a reality though? That is, is it feasible for a company to implement everything or port everything on HANA and to eliminate all integration harnesses? We can't say that this is a reality currently.

    Secondly, an independent third party would need to do the TCO studies on HANA. Any vendor will tend to propose that their solution or any solution derivative (HANA in this case) has the lowest TCO. Just about every vendor has some literature on TCO which says they are the low TCO solution -- and they can't all be. Right now, HANA increases the cost of infrastructure -- but in the instances I have seen on projects, it speeds the results -- but that is on the results side. TCO has nothing to do with results, but only the cost or input side. For HANA to decrease TCO, it has to reduce costs -- that won't happen with hardware obviously, or with HANA software (which is a premium) so it has to happen on the maintenance or implementation side. With IT, most costs are in fact on the maintenance side. But there are simply a lot of assumptions to determine a real TCO and this requires the publishing of the study ,and it has to start with an independent body. That is the academic standard -- a standard which is never met in any IT entity that I have ever researched and I have looked at all of the normal sources.


  • Amanda Andrade

    Hi John,

    This is a perfect article.
    I am working on a big HANA project . Now there is a discussion about the HANA sizing.
    Our ERP has more than 4TB and BW also has more than 9TB.
    My concern is with the gap to meet the vegetative growth.

    It was requestion the following quotation:
    Two machines 6 TB + failover on cloud ( that is lower than buying the same as on- premisse ) , I can also to buy others with 4 CPU/ 3TB and after 2 years I can increase them to 8CPU/6TB. What do you think about that?



  • RStrainings

    Thanks for the Excellent Article


  • Alfredo Ragazzi

    It's egging the pudding to suggest that HANA approach is better than IBM or Oracle. HANA is a compromise design because column store is used for OLTP workloads. Consequently OLTP performance is weak compared with other databases (hence no HANA OLTP benchmarks from SAP). Application SQL must be rewritten to improve performance. IBM and Oracle have opted for real time replication, where needed, so their solutions offer great OLTP and analytics performance without any such issues. Moreover the IBM DB2 architecture at least does this with far less hardware requirement than HANA - disk, memory and cores.


    • venkata

      RE: Alfredo Ragazzi

      Hi, Agreed, May be IBM db2 BLU can offer without any change in hardware.
      But remember it wont support certain things like that db2 BLU doesnt support : Bex query Exception aggregations in SAP BW systems.


  • shariq

    I am confused, is HANA an appliance or "software" that can be installed on OEM hardware such as IBM, DELL, HP etc.


  • Sandip Basu Mallik

    Hi ,

    Can we install SAP HANA Platform Ed. 1.0 SPS05 (SAP HANA DB 1.00.53) in window 7 enterprise edition?
    I mean i want to install Hana DB in window 7.

    Thanks and regards



  • suntide

    Being InMemory database SAP Keeps all data in RAM, in this regard, I have few question
    1. Is that Required to keep all datain RAM even though it it not required for reporting( Historical Data). Is there way we can keep selective data in Main memory and rest all data on Disc ? If is possible how it is possible.
    2. HANA being compressed database, is that required to keep all data into Disc from the Operation systems. can it be option to Archieving and flushed back to operational system if needed. if so what is process or methodology.


  • Lloyd Palfrey

    Hi Timi,

    At the moment the only supported method for backup and recovery is the built in HANA capabilities. These tools allow you to backup or restore HANA via HANA studio or via an SQL statement. You can schedule backups by creating a small script to execute the SQL backup command.

    Log backups are set by default to run every 5 minutes but can be adjusted to meet your requirements. In most cases the log backup runs every 5-30minuntes to an NFS location.

    In the future Vendor specific backup solutions will be supported. I know for example that IBM are currently testing GPFS snapshotting with HANA.

    I hope this helps.

    Lloyd Palfrey


  • Timi Odeneye

    Hi John,
    Thanks for the information, Do you know if SAP HANA Support Netbackup or IBM Networker for Backup and recovery


  • John Appleby

    HANA Edge Edition is designed to be sold to the SME market and comes in 32Gb and 64GB versions. It has some limitations - for example only one source system can be connected. The price point is €40k for a 32GB license.

    Functionally, it is the same as HANA Platform (i.e. without SRS realtime replication). The hardware vendors have a 2U Intel-based server.

    Here is the SAP press release:



  • John Appleby

    Glad you enjoyed

    1) ERP Accelerators use regular SLT and only accelerate reads for this exact reason. Updates happen to the primary DB and are replicated over to SAP HANA.

    2) Column - which is pretty much the same for all database objects on SAP HANA. Only fast moving DB objects like RFC tables use the row format, and those would not be good candidates to be accelerated using the ERP accelerator anyhow.

    3) The standard accelerators just accelerate DB reads so there aren't additional flows added. However I have implemented scenarios where we added SQLScript into SAP HANA and ran this via the secondary database. This allows much more complex logic and heavy lifting to be pushed down into HANA.

    4) I am seeing SQLScript used in some accelerator scenarios and in a number of analytic scenarios where complex calculations are required. So far I've only come across R in predictive analytics scenarios using SAP Predictive Analysis but it is likely that its use will grow as the number of supported libraries increases.


  • John Appleby

    Hey Ashok,

    I presume you're referring to this for a BW on HANA scenario. If so, this is covered in my BW on HANA FAQ, but the short version is that HANA is Unicode-only, though this shouldn't matter to you:


    What version of SAP BW do I need to be on?

    You need to be running SAP NetWeaver BW 7.3 Unicode. This is a pretty straightforward upgrade from SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0 that can be done at the same time as the migration if required.

    If you're referring to some other HANA Enterprise scenario then it depend on what replication technology you are using.

    If you are using Data Services or SLT then there's no problem - they can do the Unicode conversion during the transformation process and your source system can remain non-Unicode.

    If you are using the Replication Server then your source system must be Unicode.




  • John Appleby

    HANA 1.0 SP03 (previously known as HANA 1.5) is currently in RampUp. Solution Validation (general release) is expected in H1 of this year. Hopefully soon! It's pretty fantastic stuff and surprisingly mature.

    You are right that HANA 1.0 SP03 is required if you would like to use HANA as a database for a NetWeaver BW ABAP environment.


    HANA doesn't really have a concept of indexes per se, because every element is stored in a row- or column-store depending on the table definition. Because it is stored in-memory, there is no need for aggregates or table indexes. If you're interested in the details, here's a great link:



  • John Appleby


    Sure, SSD, but it's the same thing really. You could use regular disks if you had enough of them, SSDs just make it cheaper.

    Data ageing is expected for HANA but I'm not aware whether it will hit in the 1.0 SP03 timeline. In the meantime, you will need a shedload of HANA if you have a big DW. There aren't that many BW implementations bigger than 5TB anyhow, so most should fit on a single box.


    Agreed, will update with some info on BWA. I don't believe that BWA 7.2 supports planning accelerations though.


  • John Appleby

    Hi Bala, I cover that in point 3.1 - perhaps not clearly enough. The problem with SRS & Oracle is a license issue. Business Suite customers who buy their Oracle license through SAP are generally prohibited from extracting data out of Oracle by their license terms.

    I heard that SAP were working on this with Oracle and Microsoft and an announcement is expected to be made. Let's keep our fingers crossed!


  • Gaurav Patankar

    Hi John,
    A very nice discourse and it answers almost all the questions that pops in one's mind initially.
    I have a question about HANA edge edition.
    What exactly is edge edition in HANA context?
    Tried looking for the same in service market place but was not lucky enough.



  • mike hill

    John, great blog .... coupdl questions about how Hana stores data:
    1) does the ECC Accelerators store data in the same format as a normal SLT pull? Reason I'm asking is I thought that the acceleraotrs would need to do updates, i.e. record locking ... and not the same as SLT does which are inserts that have timestamps.
    2) when we do a SLT pull from a ECC table to HANA does this get stored in a row or col format?
    3) after we pull data to ECC via SLT do you normally see additional transformations added (i.e. business rules added) in the flow creating additional tables or are these just all table joins and views on top of each other?
    4) how do you see scripting being used (sql and R) in HANA, it is just for peculiar apps of do you see it commonly used for reporting purposes.
    I thank you for your questions and hope I didn;t ask too many.


  • mike hill

    John, great blog .... coupdl questions about how Hana stores data:
    1) does the ECC Accelerators store data in the same format as a normal SLT pull? Reason I'm asking is I thought that the acceleraotrs would need to do updates, i.e. record locking ... and not the same as SLT does which are inserts that have timestamps.
    2) when we do a SLT pull from a ECC table to HANA does this get stored in a row or col format?
    3) after we pull data to ECC via SLT do you normally see additional transformations added (i.e. business rules added) in the flow creating additional tables or are these just all table joins and views on top of each other?
    4) how do you see scripting being used (sql and R) in HANA, it is just for peculiar apps of do you see it commonly used for reporting purposes.
    I thank you for your questions and hope I didn;t ask too many.


  • mike hill

    I heard that Hana does not use indexes? Is this true? I thought that in-memory systems would use the new T-Tree index.


  • Richard Muirhead

    John - great article. A couple of points:
    1.12 The minimum 1-block HANA license purchase is only after an initial 2-block purchase. You cannot buy 1 block and run it on a 2-block server.

    @Vitaliy - your comment on "Why HANA is not offered on blades?". It may have been SAPs opinion that 90% of data would fit in <1TB, but it's certainly not CISCO's experience for providing HANA Servers. Their customers are focusing on servers at 4TB+. just an FYI.

    @Glenn Chung - CO-PA RDS is $8,500 and includes materials for: Training, Sample Data, Data Model and the Accplication


  • Ashok Gupta


    Does HANA requires unicode activation. Currently we are on NON-Unicode and don't intend to repoert in other languages also.




  • Faraz Khan

    Hi John,

    Thanks a lot!

    It's a very nice and informative FAQ article.

    I have two questions:
    Q1: Which programming language has been used to develop HANA?

    Q2: Is there any version available to download for personal use?




  • Suneet Agera

    Hi John,

    Nice article. Just wanted to point out section 1.11. You have mentioned "This doesn't affect anything in the short term because many of those people buying HANA today will still need an Oracle ERP system.". I think you mean Oracle database instead of Oracle ERP system.



  • Javed C

    Thanks a lot of so much info on SAP HANA.

    I tried to search on net regarding learning SAP HANA, can ypu please let me know from where one can learn SAP HANA.

    Javed C


  • DJ Everette

    SAP HANA NEEDS AN IMPLEMENTATION ROADMAP. Anyone have one? I am trying to customize an MS Project Plan for SAP Implementation including HANA and could use some help.


  • DJ Everette

    SAP HANA NEEDS AN IMPLEMENTATION ROADMAP. Anyone have one? I am trying to customize an MS Project Plan for SAP Implementation including HANA and could use some help.


  • Guy Tew

    John, I assume in 1.7 you meant 'efficient' design? Wouldn't want to get people's hopes up about what HANA can achieve ;-)


  • Antonio Caldas

    Hi Josh.

    Thanks for this complete information on HANA. It is really a great article.

    Antonio Caldas


  • Mike Bestvina

    @John - some update on this too. I just read that HANA as a DB for BW will basically speed up everything so this is another selling point as ETL will be much quicker. I forget the term but you will also be able to "contract" InfoCubes so the star schema is less expanded. Also DSO activation can be sped up tremendously.


  • Mike Bestvina

    Good article as always John. Just wanted to highlight something often overlooked for deciding between BW 7.3 and HANA.

    "HANA 1.0 SP03 specifically also accelerates BW calculations and planning, which means you get even more performance gains."

    Pushing calculations (and other runtimes traditionally unavailable in BWA, such as F4 member help) will be available with BW 7.3 and BWA. So if customers have BWA and are looking to improve OLAP performance, the cost-benefit ratio of going to BW 7.3 might outweigh going directly to HANA.


  • Vitaliy

    > I heard that Hana does not use indexes? Is this true? I thought that in-memory systems would use the new T-Tree index.

    Mike, you raised an interesting question indeed. Firstly, there is a split between column-based and row-based data stores. Afaik, T-Tree is used by TimesTen (Oracle), which was row-based IMDB. I frankly do not know what SAP is using for indexes on row-based tables in HANA db (HDB). Secondly, column-based tables in HDB are legacy of TREX, so their structure is inverted index itself. But because HDB is SQL database it has table indexes concept, which are still used, e.g. in case of secondary indexes on BW objects' tables. And again - interesting question what structure is used in that case: B-Tree, T-Tree or something else.


  • Vitaliy

    Maloof, you need to start from the differentiator that HANA has been created with the thought of supporting traditional SAP products. E.g. it has the same "Client" concept as it is available in NetWeaver ABAP. I do not think you can find Coherence or Gigaspace been certified for use with SAP. So, in a nutshell: say "HANA" think "SAP".


  • Maloof

    how does HANA compare to other In-Memory data management solutions such as Coherence and Gigaspace. Is this a replacement or an enhancement


  • Is HANA 1.5 available for General release ?

    Wanted to know if HANA 1.5 is available for general release. As per discussions at the Demo booths at SAP Teched 2011, I understand that Data modeling in HANA using ABAP is available only from HANA 1.5 onwards.
    Hence, wanted to know, if HANA 1.5 is released


  • Vyankatesh Datar

    Dear John Appleby,
    Truelly nice briefing about HANA. I would appreciate if you add some value about difference between Modeling in BW7 and BW 7.3.


  • Vitaliy

    Glenn, SAP sales is always the best source of all licensing information, but if I got it right, than you need to pay extra license only when using new Planning Kit and only when using it eith BPC for NetWeaver. -Vitaliy


  • Glenn Cheung

    @john: good stuff!

    Heard at Teched that in-memory IP-planning functions require additional licensing... :-(

    Do you know if RDSes like COPA accelerator come at a cost or can be used/modified for free?



  • John Appleby


    As Vitaliy says, you can easily upgrade from HANA SP02 to SP03, it is just a newer version of the DB appliance software.

    And from there you could easily install a central instance of SAP BW, using the existing HANA database and a new schema: HANA DB supports multiple schemas.

    There is the sizing issue to consider, as Vitaliy comments. There is also a support issue to consider, as SAP do not yet support multiple schemas with BW. I am sure they will in future.




  • Vitaliy

    Yenanda, did you mean upgrading the hardware or upgrading the software? There are couple of answers:
    1. First thing if you want to use "BW powered by HANA" is either to become current Ramp-up customer, or wait until it is in General Availability
    2. Yes, you can upgrade HANA 1.0 SPS2 to SPS3 running on exactly the same box.
    3. You need to upgrade "the box", i.e. the hardware only if your memory requirements are going above currently sized. E.g. if your SPS2 is using box with 1TB RAM, but use case for SPS3 requires the sizing above that - you will need to pgrade the hardware.



  • Vitaliy

    John, I think the proper question instead of "Why doesn't HANA run on blades?" would be "Why HANA is not offered on blades?" because I believe it is really a matter of products offer and then the question why. As I look for "why" - I think SAP started with the premise that 90% of datasets for HANA use cases will fit into 1TB RAM. Therefore "distribution" (multi-node processing) functionality of SAP HANA database has been originally planned for what was known as "HANA 1.5" to support BW-on-HANA. For single node systems rack servers are just cheaper comparing to single blade with all needed supporting components.


  • Vitaliy

    Danny: for the moment we just know that "data aging" functionality is in plans for SAP HANA database (I stopped using IMDB, as it seems SAP Marketing is drifting from this name to "SAP HANA database" - probably to once again justify their existence). Accordingly to plans this data aging should allow you to define not only what tables to store permanently in RAM, and which not, but even to slice data within one table and to store let's say only 2 recent years of data in RAM permanently, while rest is loaded from drives on need basis.
    And btw, there are different h/w configurations offered by vendors. There are some indeed with SSDs only, but most have both SSDs for log and HDDs for the rest.


  • Jayanta

    SAP Installations(esp SMB) typically have 30-40% capacity peak.

    Why not use the 70%-60% idle time to build caches in database or in filesystems.

    Then we may get sizzling MIS & Portals in R3!
    Without any investment except for effort to
    design and build caches and consume them
    even in peak time.

    No HANA, no EP, no BW - only R3.

    Jayanta of Kolkata


  • Yenanda

    Hello John Appleby,
    Thanks for a very good article. One more FAQ that is being asked is if have SAP HANA appliance (HANA SP2), can I upgrade same box to SP3 and ultimately use it for "SAP NW 7.3 Powered by HANA"?


  • PSReddy

    Good coverage. How HANA will differentiate with Exalogic (of Oracle)?


  • Baris

    Why do you think that HANA is not a datawarehouse?


  • Ayoub

    Thanks for this great Article.
    I am excited about the new SAP technology and hope it will spread all the world "in real time" :)


  • Bala Prabahar

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your quick response. Yes, I saw 3.1; however 3.1 points to licensing issue whereas SAP note appears(my interpretation) to indicate a technical issue.

    Now I'm clear. If it is a licensing issue, not a big deal; it can (if SAP/Oracle wants to) hopefully be taken care of.

    Thanks again,


  • Bala Prabahar


    Good efforts. Question on Oracle:

    Note 1513496 states:
    "Sybase Replication Server based replication of data from Oracle DBs into SAP Hana 1.0 is not allowed".

    Does this mean Oracle is not supported by HANA 1.0? In simple terms, does this mean HANA 1.0 is not useful to SAP customers who use Oracle db?



  • Danny Rohde

    That's a good start, definitely more than SAP delivers righ now ;)

    Please note that HANA will not use spinning drives, but only SSD, this is necessary to maintain half decent performance for DB logs as well as in the case of disaster recovery.

    What is your opinion regarding HANA under BW? I would expect that it needs to be a mix of in memory and disk based. Otherwise these large DWH will not fit onto HANA or you may end up with two DWH, one fast and one for historic data.


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