Introduction to SAP HANA - A real disruptive innovation
SAP recently announced its in-memory computing as a new technology offering which promises to significantly change the way business is done. In-memory computing brings together both hardware and software innovations in a way that is difficult to match. Hasso Plattner made the announcement at SAPPHIRE 2010, emphasizing that the R in ERP will be ‘real time’.
1. Multi core processors (we are talking several blades of n x 8 core CPU),
2. Up to 2 TB addressable memory which works as the primary data source, and
3. Massively parallel computing.
1. Row and column store (faster retrieval),
2. Faster compression,
3. Obviating the need for index and aggregate tables,
4. These are mostly innovations at database layer. But the applications written for In-memory computing will also be significantly different. The applications will not rely on traditional data extraction and staging and data analysis will be done directly on the production data. These applications will be able to leverage parallel computing.
So what is SAP HANA?
HANA is pre-packaged and pre-configured appliance that is ready to run the in-memory database on a multi core processor hardware with terabytes of memory. The customers will be ready to start using HANA much quicker with the HANA appliance.
In-memory computing or HANA, has built in calculation engine for more complex business calculations. This is similar (but better) to stored procedures (for those who have worked enough on data bases). These calculations can be written in R.
SAP HANA (appliance) will change the way SAP currently delivers its products:
SAP currently ships its licensed software to the customers, who are responsible for hardware procurement, software installation, configuration, maintenance, upgrades, etc … In short maintaining the product life cycle. With SAP HANA, SAP can deliver hardware or software (in the cloud) appliance to the customers. These appliances could be pre-configured to work for certain business scenarios and the partners (ISVs) could then setup the landscape to provision the entire solution.
Promise of HANA
SAP HANA will bring in-memory, real time analytics to enterprises. Real time analytics would imply there is no BW (business warehouse) staging required for generating reports. In fact the way to think about information would be not to think in terms of reports, but in terms of data analysis, using tools like Business Objects Explorer or ever pivot tables in excel.
Imagine bypassing the need to ask data analysts to prepare specific reports, which can take hours, if not days to prepare. Imagine if this data (or rather information) is instead available instantly. And imagine you could do data analysis on the most current data in real time, even if the data size was millions of transactional records.
This should be possible with HANA. OLTP (online transaction processing) and OLAP (online analytical processing) will finally come together in real time, which can give significant advantages to most businesses, especially the ones that have to react very quickly (retail, energy, emergency response, etc...)
As an independent technology provider, we feel quite excited about the prospects of HANA and wish everyone successful data analytics