SAP HANA’s benefits uncontested, but does it really pay off for large business critical systems?

Thomas Saueressig

Posted by Thomas Saueressig on

Chief Information Officer

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SAP HANA’s benefits are compelling as Christian elaborated concisely. SAP with SAP HANA just recently being named a leader in The Forrester Wave™ for Translytical Data Platforms is yet additional prove. However, the question arises as to whether SAP HANA can be operated economically also for large business critical systems.

The key challenge certainly is about managing the data footprint. Balancing the need for accessible data history for real-time analytics use cases and keeping a lid on hardware cost surely is not an easy puzzle to solve.

At SAP, we cracked this nut with a carefully reasoned data management strategy and its diligent implementation. We run our single-instance global corporate S/4HANA Finance with a 4TB appliance at an in-memory data footprint of 1,8TB! And even despite recent acquisitions and our strong overall growth, we managed to keep our data footprint stable for the last two years.

Intensively leveraging data archiving and data aging targeted to offload data not needed for our real-time analytical scenarios, we reduced our in-memory data footprint by 80% for 7 years of data history. Especially the data aging capabilities enable a business-driven footprint reduction, yet still having the needed real-time analytical data at the fingertip of the users.

Being able to pull these real-time analytical capabilities from the hat for our users is the shiny side of the cost coin.  Additionally, recent innovations up to SAP HANA 2.0 SPS2 Release we are using, also helped us realize significant operational benefits, resulting in 100% availability for three consecutive QECs. Implementing HANA System Replication with Continuous Log Replay atomized our failover times with close to zero business user connection losses at failover. Our average end-user response time is at an all-time low: permanently sub-second. Other features like the HANA Capture and Replay of DB logs allows us to deliver more stable releases by being able to validate SAP HANA configuration changes and upgrades against real productive traces.

We’ve come quite a long way here, but frankly we also believe not being fully there yet. Hence why we continue to join forces with our product development to harvest our early adopter experience. Further pushing and optimizing our data aging practice as well as utilizing the HANA active/active capabilities are on our list up next.

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