SAP HANA Platform for SAP and Non-SAP Applications

This past week, I joined an SAP developer event where I had a peek at the latest innovations and cool demos powered by SAP HANA.  In walking through these sessions, I could actually appreciate how SAP HANA is positioned as the data foundation for all kind of applications – SAP applications like SAP S/4HANA and other non-SAP applications.   This experience made me reflect on the reasons SAP HANA enjoys such a broad applicability that makes it ideal for a wide spectrum of use cases. What are SAP HANA’s essential characteristics that make this possible?

First, open standard support is critical to support custom and third-party applications. SAP HANA is the open platform that implements an ACID-compliant relational database that offers standard interfaces to access data, such as ODBC/JDBC and standard web service calls.  In this way, developers and administrators can leverage their existing SQL knowledge and become productive faster.

Another key factor that makes HANA so applicable is its in-memory processing capabilities. With the in-memory computing power, SAP HANA can aggregate data on the fly and reduce data size of up to 70% with a higher degree of compression and the elimination of  materialized data structures. This mean both your SAP and non-SAP applications can immediately benefit from reduced administration, and lower storage costs.

Finally, applications are increasingly using a variety of data types – weather from IoT or new customer interaction channels. SAP HANA advanced data processing capability empowers applications to combine and analyze structured and unstructured data in real time within one system.  Processing all different type data in one platform – including text, geo-spatial, graph, and streaming data – provides a greater flexibility when extending existing applications or developing new ones.

Data is KING in this digital era, and HANA’s unique characteristics ensure that you can get the greatest value out of it from all your applications. As I am learning more and more, I found the philosophy introduced in SAP HANA is touching the pulse of the digital technology development trend.  As the data volume becomes bigger and bigger, developers start noticing that moving data around is not an “efficient” strategy for building applications.  To avoid unnecessary data movements, SAP HANA allows your application to do complex calculations in the database, where the data sits.  SAP HANA can also help your application to leverage easily the in-memory computing power to push down more complex calculation logic into the database layer.

SAP HANA is the data foundation that allows you at the same time to support existing applications and innovate continuously. It removes barriers to innovation with a wealth of modern development tools and deployment options – in the cloud and on premises.  Additionally, SAP offers the free SAP HANA express edition that any developer can use – on their own computer or in the cloud – to learn about HANA and develop new applications. The free edition allows you to use up to 36MB of RAM. You can download the free SAP HANA express edition from this link.

To further explore why SAP HANA is an ideal platform for all applications – SAP and non-SAP – you might also want to check out a recent paper from Capgemini. In the paper, Detlev Sandel describes SAP HANA’s broad applicability and the immediate benefit businesses can derive form it. Here are a few quotes:

“Moving non-SAP applications to SAP HANA does not have to mean discarding current investments in tailor-made competitive and unique business logic.” … “What customers discover once their non-SAP applications are migrated to a single SAP HANA database is shorter response times by up to a factor of 500, an up-to-70% smaller data footprint, increased capacity at the same performance level, parallel query processing at a high performance level, and flexible data modeling that allows different applications to work with the same data in parallel”.

Moreover, if you want to know more about the SAP HANA application development, join my hand-on session on Feb. 27 @ SAPInsider event.  In this session you will see how a simple SAP HANA native application can load and process mobile sensor data through OData services and calculation views.   There will be also other SAP HANA sessions from my colleagues at SAP, partners, and customers. There is a full track focused on building apps on HANA as well as some excellent case studies from companies like Graphic Packaging International, Callaway Golf, Mead Johnson Nutrition, and John’s Hopkins University just to name a few.

Looking forward to seeing you in Orlando!

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