SAP HANA SPS08: HANA grows up

John Appleby

Posted by John Appleby on June 2, 2014

Global Head Of DDM/HANA COEs

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Those of you that know me will know that I’ve been a HANA practitioner since she was born. I’ve used every one of the HANA Revisions since June 2011 – including some that were never released. So it’s nice, every 6 months, to take a step back and consider what’s happened in the last 6 months.

There was a time during HANA’s early years – 2011 through 2013 – where it was nearly a full time just to keep up with what was going on. The volume of new features was huge, HANA was doing amazing things that no other database could do, and we were scurrying just to keep up with technology.

By comparison, I just read all the release notes, changes and new features in the SPS08 release, and I know what’s new within a few hours and how to apply it to our customers. What? SAP stopped innovating with HANA? It’s not so much that, but rather that it was time for HANA to grow up.

This actually happened around November last year, when SAP released SPS07 of HANA. Only bug fixes were included in the patches of SPS07 and only 4 additional patches of SPS07 were released – compared to 12 in some other releases. The reason for this is because in May of last year, SAP released support for their Business Suite on HANA. Customers require their core processes to run on super-reliable databases – one of the reasons why Microsoft has struggled to get traction in the SAP market and why SAP does not support mySQL or PostgreSQL.

So for the last 12 months I have watch HANA become more and more solid – no longer is she racing around the track on a sports bike – she has gone to college and got a job. HANA stands toe to toe on reliability with Oracle and IBM DB2. Mission critical functionality to provide business continuity solutions is in place. As a Global 200 company architect told me last week: “I thought HANA was quite new, but I’ve been to an advisory and seen that it is an enterprise class database”.

And for me, with HANA SPS08, we have the fruit of that labor. I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is, because I have a customer going live in a few weeks and I have chosen this release. So far, there are no surprises, and this is a large enterprise class system with a total of 18 nodes of HANA.

With this timeline has come a bunch of related activities which reinforce what I’m saying. There are 20 new outsource providers for HANA. VMWare is now supported in production. RedHat Linux support is on its way. IBM POWER support is coming. Huge 12 and 24TB single servers are coming from the likes of Silicon Graphics.

This is what we get in HANA SPS08 – instead of a load of new features, we get a refinement of what we had, more maturity, more support options, more partners. I believe this is exactly what customers wanted and whilst SAP needs to get back to innovating (that’s what HANA is all about after all), customers will repay SAP with increased adoption.

So when you close the metaphorical car door on your HANA system, you will hear a reassuring German “thump“.

P.S. If you want my technical analysis of the details in SPS08, you will find it here.

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