10 SAP HANA Predictions for 2015

John Appleby

Posted by John Appleby on December 15, 2014

Global Head Of DDM/HANA COEs

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It’s that festive time of year, and last year I wrote a post for SAP HANA Predictions for 2014. Since the SAP HANA development team have been hard at work, they’ve already dealt with my list of predictions, so it’s time to come up with my wish-list for 2015 – the SPS10 and SPS11 releases of SAP HANA.

2014 has been an incredible year for the product – some people touted HANA SPS09 as HANA 2.0. With new features like container databases, a graph engine, embedded ETL and event stream processing and data tiering, Hasso Plattner described it as an “extremely complete solution” and I’m minded to agree.

That said, SAP must continue to push hard to innovate in the HANA platform, fill in some gaps, and keep delivering more value for customers. Here’s my 10 SAP HANA Predictions for 2015.

Large-scale Suite on HANA adoption

Hasso described very nicely in a comment to the linked blog how he believes he will see large-scale customers adopt Suite on HANA.

A company with a 100 tera byte ERP system on AnyDB will need

– 20 tera bytes using ERP on HANA,

– 10 tera bytes using sERP (no aggregates, no redundant tables, less db indices),

– 2-4 tera for actual data and 8-6 tera for historical data with the business logic based partitioning.

I believe that we will see such systems in 2015, and this will give the typical SAP customer with 5-10TB of ERP the confidence that HANA works for them too.

Consolidated Workloads

Most HANA deployments today are a single database on a single appliance. Because HANA is so high-value, this has been acceptable, but this will change in 2015.

In HANA SPS09 we have the capability to consolidate databases into a single appliance using containers, which are logically separated and quite secure. Less well-known is that the inter-database security mechanisms have already been built. There are two main scenarios for this:

1) Regional systems with consolidated reporting. You can have regional BW databases on one appliance, and do group reporting on top of the regional systems, with no duplication of data.

2) Consolidation of Enterprise Systems. You can put ERP, CRM, SCM, BW all on one HANA appliance but in separate databases, to retain segregation for security purposes. Already you don’t need the BW PSA, because that is duplication. You can remove some BW data for operational reporting, and federate directly into the other databases.

Neither of these are supported configurations yet, but we will see them in 2015.

Large-Scale SMP, and scale-up-and-out

We demonstrated a 32-socket, 480-core, 24TB SGI appliance at SAP TechEd. This is undergoing certification right now, and we will see such appliances this year, which will support the largest ERP customers. By the way the neat thing about the SGI box is it scales in 4-socket increments from 4-socket, 60-cores, to 32-socket, 480-cores.

In addition, I believe we will see scale-up-and-out appliances with a big master node for OLTP applications and a bunch of slave nodes for OLAP applications. This provides the best of both worlds for transactional and analytic workloads, at a good cost point.

Containerization of HANA XS

The HANA XS engine was slimmed down in HANA SPS09, and the dependence on the Index Server was removed. I believe this makes way for containerization of the XS engine for other runtimes, for example Docker or Node.JS. This provides a huge increase in flexibility for web developers, and embraces a wide ecosystem.

I do hope that they don’t allow a Java EE runtime for HANA XS though, but that’s perhaps just my dislike of Java coming out!

Focus on wider database apps market and SQLScript

SAP HANA has done an incredible job of winning over the SAP install base, with over half of the 3000+ customers, running SAP BW (that’s over 20% of the BW install-base, in 2 years). There have been big wins in startups too, with the Startup Focus program attracting around 1500 startups.

However, the focus on the Business Suite has meant that the tools to develop standalone applications haven’t had as much attention. SAP acquired a ton of great IP for this from Sybase and this hasn’t been integrated into SAP HANA yet, including database tooling like bulk loads, and stored procedure languages.

HANA features in SAP Applications

Progress has been made in the Business Suite around optimization – we find that out the box, response times are 2x faster on HANA than other databases for transactional tests.

However, SAP HANA has some incredible engines like GeoSpatial, Graph, Predictive, but they are integrated into the existing Business Suite applications in quite a limited way today.

Examples might be supply chain network analysis using the Graph Engine, Regional Sales analysis using the Nokia Here maps, and a million other besides. Since these features are now quite mature, the core Business Suite development team needs to work to integrate them and include them in the ERP Runtime license. That’s massive value for the installed base.


HANA is the most comprehensive data platform in the world by now, and it requires a lot of documentation. When each SPS is released, I make a point to download it all and consume it, so I have all of the documentation for each release. In SPS06, it was 27 documents and 120MB in size. In SPS09 this has grown to an incredible 89 documents and 375MB. The biggest PDFs are 896, 884 and 828 pages long.

In particular, it can be tricky to figure out the details of what is new in the details of each component. Part of the reason for this is because HANA does so much, but there does need to be a move to simplify the documentation so it is easier to consume.

BI Suite Integration

In 2014, we saw integration of the BI Suite into HANA, Lumira Server, Design Studio for HANA. In 2015 I believe that BI and HANA will become synonymous. There was a HANA version of Explorer in Lumira Server 1.14, but it was removed, and I think we will see something like this resurrected.

We will also see the maturity of EIM, Master Data Management and a full version of the BI Suite embedded into HANA – codenamed Project WHO. For Business Suite on HANA customers, this will mean that BI is embedded into the HANA platform.

Overhaul of the HANA Modeler

The HANA Modeler has been more-or-less static since SPS04 – Attribute Views, Analytic Views and Calculation Views. It has had enhancements, especially to performance, but it hasn’t had a major upgrade. We will see this in 2015, I believe with a single unified modeler based on the existing Calculation View designer. Analytic and Attribute views will be deprecated.

This will come with the deprecation of CE Functions, and ways to call out to SQLScript, integration direct with Predictive Analysis functions and Business Functions and much more advanced OLAP features. It will provide functionality equivalent to Business Objects universes.

The end of the row store

HANA SPS08 quietly introduced a row buffer to the column store, which is one of the reasons why HANA has great OLTP performance. High-frequency updates are inserted into a row buffer, which are then inserted into the delta store in bulk. There are currently very few reasons to use the row store, and SAP often hides it in marketing literature. The two main scenarios are for queues, and configuration tables.

In 2015, we will see the end of the row store, with a unified table construct that will choose the right table format based on data. With this, the CREATE COLUMN TABLE syntax will be deprecated.

SAP HANA Predictions for 2015

If you look at the HANA roadmap slides, the “Future Themes” aspect is very telling.

Continued Big Data & IoT platform enhancements, integration, capabilities and optimization

Continued cloud deployment capabilities & options

New and enhanced advanced analytic capabilities, features, & application services

Continued third-party tool & application support

Continued transformation of SAP Business Suite processes

It’s also telling if you read my SAP HANA Predictions for 2014 post – last year, I predicted a ton of new things that didn’t exist. This year, I predict a refactor of existing functionality, and doing existing things better.

I also believe that 2015 will be a watershed year for SAP HANA. In the last month, I did a pilot of the Business Suite on HANA in a customer. In one week, we migrated a 7TB MSSQL database onto HANA (1.2TB of data in HANA). In another week, we transformed finance and payroll business process. There was no muss, no fuss and no problems. Transactions were 2x faster and analytics were 100x faster and it lays the foundation a transformational change program.

Once customers realize that this is the case, and that HANA just works, and it provides consolidation, TCO reduction and all the new functionality in their Business Suite applications, they will move. I believe the number of customers will double in 2015. Let’s wait and see!

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