SAP HANA – In Memory

Aug 23, 2012

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In:Data, Vendors

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sap_cube1SAP re-launches the <a href=”http://www.sap.com/solutions/technology/in-memory-computing-platform/hana/overview/index.epx”>HANA</a> (<strong>H</strong>igh-performance <strong>AN</strong>alytic <strong>A</strong>ppliance) platform in 2012 and looks to this as the “game changing” technology for BI/DW/analytics. But is it?

Driven by the corporate demand for real time analytics, the HANA platform seeks to put data into memory and dramatically improve performance. This will help address the demand for big data, predictive capabilities, and text-mining capabilities.

But doesn’t this sounds like the typical rhetoric from computing vendors that previously addressed technology issues by recommending the addition of more CPU, or RAM, or disk space. SAP HANA is delivered as a software appliance focused on the underlying infrastructure for SAP Business Objects. This <a href=”http://download.sap.com/download.epd?context=B576F8D167129B337CD171865DFF8973EBDC14E3C34A18AF1CF17ED596163658ABE46C2191175A1415B54F1837F5F0A13487B903339C6F98″>white paper</a> suggests alot of scoping is centred around hardware and infrastructure design.

HANA makes incredulous claims that traditional BI/DW folks would falter to whisper. The one that stands out is the “Combination of OLAP and OLTP” into the one database. Ouch! Feel the wrath of the stakeholders of business operations. Another claim is running analytics in “mixed operations”. Double ouch!

It’s already challenging enough to get DW/BI solutions deployed without affecting operations. BI folks have constantly advocated separate infrastructure for analytics, with the ETL window  as the firewall between systems. The same ETL window has also created delays for realtime analytics. To advocate moving the BI/DW infrastructure back into operations is going to be a challenge. Yes, it facilitates “closer to real-time”, but its going to be a challenge to make it work politically.

For other BI/DW vendors, this solution would be unfeasible, but because SAP also happens to the largest ERP application platform on the planet, they definitely have a good shot at consolidating their ERP and HANA’s BI analytics. Google, Facebook and the large online behemoths already do it. So why not?!

This is indeed exciting, and its definitely time to take a closer look at SAP HANA.

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