If you had read this kind of article a few years ago, the answer to the question in the title might 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is still accurate, but to define the SAP HANA database solely from an architectural point of view is somewhat outdated. 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. SAP HANA leverages the advanced technologies of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, which means even more functionality and enhanced capabilities.
The Key Features of SAP HANA 2.0 SPS 03
SAP HANA 2.0’s innovations offer numerous solutions to meet your business objectives and provide seamless integration with your system. These new features can be grouped into 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, allowing new insights to be gained 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, SAP HANA’s new spatial data type can leverage geospatial information to gain unprecedented business insights.
- Advanced Analytics Processing incorporates 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 a more sophisticated analysis of your data, the productivity of your data science team will automatically improve.
- Application Development and Tools Enhancements – includes 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, you must know how to manage and leverage all your unorganized data. But this is simply impossible without the right analysis tool – 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 your ERP system handles daily. 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. SAP HANA can equip your organization with the best technology to process big data and, most importantly, make use of it.
The 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 internal and external sources and integrate it 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. SAP’s newest applications and software will run best on a HANA database. Therefore, moving to SAP HANA now is simply a wise step.
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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 your challenges.
Planning: Pain Points
Many organizations fail to accurately identify the pain 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 project cost estimation, you will not have a proper roadmap to digital transformation, which can negatively impact your 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 still uses a non-Unicode language, the move to SAP HANA can be an unexpectedly significant challenge. Therefore, Unicode system conversion has to be conducted carefully as a prerequisite to SAP HANA migration. Many organizations lack the knowledge for this conversion, resulting in system failures and wasted resources.
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 primary concern is downtime since users cannot access the system during this process. If you don’t pre-test the new database system, there is a more considerable 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.
Panaya Release Dynamix (RDx) is designed to help you with visibility into the project’s scope, estimate effort, identify possible risks throughout the migration process and 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 need to be tested (as seen in the Eissmann Group Automotive use case). Panaya’s RDx also identifies achievable release dates, allowing you to go live quickly and predictably.
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SAP S/4HANA Migration Guide
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, accurate time, risk, and effort estimation. Panaya’s Release Dynamix precise scoping, and comprehensive test management identifies the potential risks in your system migration early and provides better visibility into the project. This, in turn, helps you overcome the challenges of system failures and lengthy downtimes. Panaya Release Dynamix has assisted many companies in migrating 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
SAP HANA is 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 of thousands of daily ERP transactions.
Unlike other databases that store data on the hard drive, SAP HANA stores it in memory. This makes it easier to access so the system can respond faster when you need the information stored in the database.
SAP on 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.
SAP HANA can seamlessly draw data from internal and external sources and integrate it 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. SAP’s newest applications and software will run best on a HANA database.
A successful migration project requires precise planning, accurate time, risk, and effort estimation. This means identifying actual paint points in the database infrastructure, Unicode system conversion (if needed), thorough pre-testing the new database system, and a proper roadmap to digital transformation.