SAP HANA

What Is SAP HANA?

If you had been reading this kind of article a few years ago, the answer to the question in the title may have read something like, “SAP HANA is a database with a unique in-memory architecture.” The author would have noted that SAP HANA (full form, High-Performance Analytic Appliance) stores data in-memory, rather than in the hard drive like other databases, which allows your system to access the information you need much faster.

That description is still accurate, but to define the SAP HANA database solely from an architectural point of view is rather outdated. In just a few years, it has become a multifaceted platform recognized by its many customers as the foundation of an intelligent enterprise.

The services of the SAP HANA platform allow you to develop and run custom applications and manage the lifecycles of all your applications. And the latest version of SAP HANA leverages the advanced technologies of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, which means even more functionality and enhanced capabilities.

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The New Key Features of SAP HANA 2.0 SPS 03

SAP HANA 2.0’s newest innovations offer numerous solutions to meet your business objectives and provide more seamless integration with your system. These new features can be grouped in four general categories.   

  • Database Enhancement – improvements to data administration and monitoring, workload management, and security. The High Availability and Disaster Recovery (HA/DR) features will help protect your most critical applications with a new multi-target system replication option. Other enhancements include more advanced data protection and anonymization, making it possible to gain new insights without compromising privacy.
  • Data Management Enhancement – data integration, data modeling, and multi-tier storage as part of the SAP HANA architecture. You can integrate data from multiple sources, inside or outside SAP HANA systems. Moreover, with the new spatial data type in SAP HANA, you can leverage geospatial information to gain unprecedented business insights.
  • Advanced Analytics Processing – incorporation of machine learning and predictive analytics in your custom applications. New algorithm parameters have been added to the SAP HANA predictive analytics library (PAL), enhancing data analytics processing with text, graph and geospatial features. With more sophisticated analysis of your data, the productivity of your data science team will automatically improve.
  • Application Development and Tools Enhancements – new functions for several programming languages to enhance application server performance, simplify development tools, and expand use cases. For instance, the new SQL Plan Stability option will enable you to avoid performance regression and reduce the time needed for complex queries.

Why You Should Move to SAP HANA

If your company wants to stay ahead of the competition, then you need to know how to manage and leverage all your unorganized data. But this is simply not possible without the right tool for analysis – and the data will remain useless.

SAP HANA resolves this predicament.

With advanced analytics and machine learning, SAP HANA provides novel insights from large amounts of data. It also reduces the time needed to process thousands of transactions handled by your ERP system every day and, thanks to an in-memory capability, allows real-time access to information and faster creation of even the most comprehensive reports.

SAP HANA gives you the clarity and real-time data needed to make timely decisions and take appropriate measures to overcome your most pressing business challenges.

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So, SAP HANA can equip your organization with the best technology to process big data and, most importantly, make use of it. But the next question is: How will the move to a new HANA database platform impact your current or future ERP strategy?

SAP HANA can seamlessly draw data from both internal and external sources, as well as integrating with other databases and ERP software. While this means you don’t necessarily have to give up your current system interface, it is worth bearing in mind that the newest ERP from SAP®, S/4HANA®, only runs on a HANA database. So if you are not currently using HANA and want to upgrade your SAP ERP to S/4HANA, then you’ll have to migrate the entire database as well.

In fact, all of SAP’s newest applications and software will run best on a HANA database. At the end of the day, therefore, moving to SAP HANA now is simply a wise step.

The Challenges of Moving to SAP HANA

Now, having read about the benefits of SAP HANA, you might be convinced to undertake the migration. However, before you do, you should also be aware of the types of challenges you’ll face during the process.

Planning: Pain Points

Many organizations fail to accurately identify the paint points of their current database infrastructure and, as a result, miscalculate the scope of the project. This can lead to wasted effort and resources. Without a solid project plan and accurate estimation of project cost, you will not have a proper roadmap to digital transformation, which can negatively impact your return on investment (ROI).

Technical Issue: Code Conversion

SAP HANA only supports the Unicode system, so all new SAP applications and SAP NetWeaver technology will only be available in Unicode. If your system is still using a non-Unicode language, then the move to SAP HANA can end up being an unexpectedly large challenge.

Therefore, Unicode system conversion has to be conducted carefully as a prerequisite to SAP HANA migration. Many organizations lack the necessary knowledge for this conversion, resulting in system failures and wasted resources.

Execution: Downtime

As in any migration project, it all starts with an initial period of testing in the sandbox. Only afterward does the migration proceed to development and quality assurance teams, before finally moving into production. At that stage, the major concern is downtime, since users will not be able to access the system during this process.

If you don’t pre-test the new database system thoroughly, there is a bigger risk of system failures during the production stage, leading to greater downtime. Worse yet, if failures are detected too late and impact the system when the migration goes fully live, the result is even lengthier, costlier outages.

How Panaya Release Dynamix Can Help

To ensure a successful migration to SAP HANA, you need to keep a close eye on clarity, efficiency and quality. Panaya Release Dynamix (RDx) is designed to help you do so, with visibility into the project’s scope, an estimation of effort, and the identification of possible risks throughout the migration process.

Panaya RDx helps you avoid common pitfalls with its impact analysis and automated testing, implemented via the following features.

The Perfect Plan for Zero-Risk Migration

RDx’s precise scoping and accelerated testing enable you to accurately estimate the timeline, effort and resources required for, as well as the risks of, your SAP HANA migration project. With Panaya’s Impact Analysis and Big Data Insights, you can determine the best possible strategy and create a reliable plan with zero-risk delivery (as achieved by Hershey’s in its migration to SAP HANA).

Go-Live Without Delay

Successful migration requires thorough testing of the system. RDx reduces the time needed for QA testing by up to 50%, by identifying which parts actually need to be tested (as can be seen in the Eissmann Group Automotive use case). Panaya’s RDx also identifies achievable release dates, allowing you to go-live in a timely and predictable manner.

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Conclusion

Moving to SAP HANA will not only give your company a competitive advantage, but it will also ease your path to SAP S/4HANA. However, a successful migration project requires clear planning and an accurate estimation of time, risk and effort.

How can that be achieved?

With Panaya Release Dynamix. Its precise scoping and comprehensive test management identifies the potential risks in your system migration at an early stage and provides better visibility into the project as a whole. This, in turn, helps you overcome the challenges of system failures and lengthy downtimes.

Panaya Release Dynamix has assisted many companies migrate to a new SAP HANA database system, with fast and effective delivery. If you are considering a HANA migration, Panaya can help you make it a success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is SAP HANA?

A multifaceted database platform with unique in-memory architecture and advanced analytics, allowing you to develop and run custom applications, manage all your application lifecycles, and gain novel insights from large amounts of data. It also allows real-time access to information thousands of daily ERP transactions.

What is an in-memory architecture?

Unlike other databases that store data on the hard drive, SAP HANA stores it in-memory. This makes it easier to access, so that the system can respond faster when you need the information stored in the database.

What is new in SAP HANA 2.0 SPS 03?

SAP HANA’s latest innovations include: improvements to data administration and monitoring, workload management, and security; data integration, data modeling, and multi-tier storage; machine learning and predictive analytics for custom applications; and new functions for several programming languages to enhance application server performance, simplify development tools, and expand use cases.

How will moving to a new HANA database platform impact my ERP strategy?

SAP HANA can seamlessly draw data from both internal and external sources, as well as integrating with other databases and ERP software. While this means you don’t necessarily have to give up your current system interface, it is worth bearing in mind that the newest ERP from SAP®, S/4HANA®, only runs on a HANA database. In fact, all of SAP’s newest applications and software will run best on a HANA database.

What is needed for a successful SAP HANA migration?

A successful migration project requires clear planning and an accurate estimation of time, risk and effort. This means identifying actual paint points in the database infrastructure, Unicode system conversion (if needed), thorough pre-testing of the new database system, and a proper roadmap to digital transformation.

How can all that be achieved?

With Panaya Release Dynamix. Its precise scoping and comprehensive test management identifies the potential risks in your system migration at an early stage and provides better visibility into the project as a whole. This, in turn, helps you overcome the challenges of system failures and lengthy downtimes.

Greenfield vs Brownfield

Greenfield vs. Brownfield

The Complete Guide to a Non-Disruptive Transition to S/4HANA

Get the Guide >


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