At SAP there was the Business Suite. Flagship, undisputed market leader, rock solid. Sure. And then we came up with SAP HANA. New database technology: In memory, column store. Fast as speed of light. Sounds brilliant. But Suite and HANA together? Imaginable? Suite on HANA! The idea was born, and we were all passionate about it.
First step was porting: Enable Suite for HANA. We set up a huge amount of automated tests to ensure functional correctness and executed permanent performance tests comparing HANA DB with AnyDB. Based on this groundwork we started to think about changing existing code.
We early involved customers and asked for their most used and longest running reports and transactions. The primary goal was to speed up the performance, to make it as fast as possible by exploiting HANA capabilities. Boundary condition was to stick to the enhancement package concept and develop non-disruptively for our customers. In less than 4 weeks unbelievable results became visible. Reports running for hours ended in 1 or 2 seconds. Simple and small code changes resulted in performance improvements by factors. This was the reason why we decided to go for a broad investment in all areas of ERP. The top ranked reports and transactions according to early watch data covering all ERP customers of 2011 were optimized.
In addition to speed, further HANA capabilities have been identified and implemented.
- A column store database allows fast selection without the need of an index. This extends search possibilities. All attributes contributing to a business object can now be used for search and not only the ones included in an index. This opens the door for a free text search (fuzzy search).
- Materialized index tables can be removed. There is no need to duplicate data just for fast data access. This contributes to the TCO reduction by diminishing the memory footprint in database.
- Batch jobs can be accelerated to a level where they can be considered as dialog reports. New simple UIs consisting of several “batch jobs” are considered as dashboards now. Batch window on customer side is extended significantly by this.
- SAP HANA Live enables operational reporting directly in the ERP on the same database tables transactions are operating. This gives us the possibility to integrate analytics in the ERP business process.
- Advanced search capabilities such as full text, freestyle and fuzzy search combined with a beautiful, simple and intuitive UI significantly improve the overall search experience on business entities.
Within the year 2013, Suite on HANA will ship every quarter additional optimizations and enable all Suite related products to run on HANA. This includes industry solutions and add ons as well. Optimizations of single reports and transactions are successfully finished. Now we focus on re-designing business processes by bringing together OLTP and OLAP in one system and exploiting HANA capabilities.