SAP HANA 2.0 is the next generation of the SAP HANA database platform. It provides significant incremental improvements in a wide range of areas, including administration, data security, high-availability, and database management. SAP will be releasing two HANA 2.0 Support Package Stacks (SPS) per year with new functionality. Users should work with a managed services provider to upgrade to SAP HANA 2.0 by 2019.
Expert Insight: Curtis Gaska, SAP Solutions Architect
SAP HANA regularly releases both application upgrades (e.g. SAP HANA 1610) and database upgrades (e.g. SAP HANA SPS12). While SAP HANA application upgrades focus on new functions in SAP modules such as SAP S/4HANA Finance, database upgrades focus on the underlying database SAP uses to work with your data — the tools that read, write and store your data, query it for information, and so on.
SAP HANA 2.0 is the next upgrade to the database, following SAP HANA SPS 12. However, it’s a new version, not a support package. SAP has gone beyond a minor SP and changed the look and feel of the database along with the way controls are organized, and added new features that will change the way SAP admins will run and configure HANA.
SAP will continue to support HANA 1.0 until 2019, but will not offer new functionality on it. SAP is expected to make a major announcement about HANA 2.0 at SAPPHIRE NOW 2017, which will provide more guidance for businesses considering a database upgrade.
How Does SAP HANA 2.0 Simplify SAP Administration?
The SAP HANA cockpit has been revamped to simplify administration, merging the Database Control Center and the HANA 1.0 cockpit, and adding brand new functionality. For example SAP Basis administrators can now configure HANA to queue or reject tasks that push resource demands past a certain threshold.
This enhances SAP’s stability in major demand surges. Although companies running SAP HANA should carefully size HANA, keep track of resource demands, and add new resources as needed, in reality, many companies don’t actually upgrade HANA until it starts actually running out of resources, which can result in instability, sluggish performance and even costly outages. This new feature will provide an extra check, should demand outgrow provisioning..
How Does SAP HANA 2.0 Boost HANA Security?
SAP HANA 2.0 has significant security improvements . SAP HANA 1.0 gained the ability to encrypt the data volume (data stored on disk) with SP, and application data, but could not change the log volume — a record of changes in the data volume since the last savepoint, used to restore HANA in the event of a crash. Although SAP HANA 1.0 is very secure when patched correctly and maintained by a talented cyber security services team, this still represented a potential vulnerability, where an attacker could theoretically obtain sensitive information.
SAP HANA 2.0 adds log volume encryption, and makes it easier to manage encryption keys for data, log, and application encryption. You can use SQL statements to upgrade all encryption keys, and back them up on a dedicated, password-protected file. SAP has also added a system privilege called ENCRYPTION ROOT KEY ADMIN to supervise administration of encryption.
SAP HANA 2.0 also makes it easier to handle group authorization and privileges. SAP security administration controls have been improved with the SAP HANA cockpit. For example, admins can create users and configure their privileges, right from the cockpit.
These additions are not revolutionary, but they are significant. Encryption controls access to your data, and losing or mishandling encryption keys can be disastrous for your business. Similarly, proper administration of user privileges is crucial for SAP security. Any changes that make encryption more comprehensive or security administration easier make your business safe.
What Does SAP HANA 2.0 Do For Database Management?
SAP HANA 2.0 provides new database management functionality to help you maintain business continuity, high availability and performance. SAP HANA production runs on physical or virtual hardware called the primary system, and uses a process called System Replication to create a backup copy on the secondary system, which can either be located in the same data center (high availability) or another data center (disaster recovery).
In an emergency, the admin can execute a takeover, which makes the secondary system the primary system, allowing the business to quickly get back online with minimal data loss or interruption. SAP HANA 2.0 has improvements in how HANA high availability and disaster recovery are administered. The controls for monitoring system replication and administrating takeover are now in the cockpit, making it easier (and quicker) to handle HANA emergencies, as well as planned takeovers — such as when the primary system is updated..
SAP HANA 2.0 also makes better use of secondary system resources. In addition to replicating primary system data, it can now also be used for reporting. The Log Replay – Read Access mode allows HANA to look up data in that landscape, using its resources to speed read-intensive applications.
Are There Other SAP HANA 2.0 Improvements?
We’ve barely scratched the surface. SAP HANA 2.0 also has a range of significant enhancements that will increase its power for end users and developers. SAP HANA analytics — already a major HANA strongpoint — are even better, with improved search and filtering functionality, text analytics, graph data processing, and machine learning. Other SAP HANA 2.0 decrease the time and cost of developing new applications.
Will SAP HANA 2.0 Affect My Upgrade Strategy?
Yes. As we said before, SAP HANA 1.0 SP12 — the latest upgrade before HANA 2.0 — will be supported until 2019, but will have no new services packs. SAP HANA 2.0 users will have to upgrade at least annually, as SAP will only support older versions for two service packs.
Companies will have to upgrade to SAP HANA 1.0 SP12, and may need to modernize other parts of their landscapes to perform an SAP HANA 2.0 migration. HANA 2.0 does not support Suite on HANA or NetWeaver 7.40, and may not be supported by older third-party applications. Other applications will adopt new SAP HANA functionality quickly, requiring users to upgrade.
Businesses who don’t need the new SAP HANA functionality, or aren’t ready for SAP HANA 2.0’s rapid rate of change may benefit from putting off an SAP HANA 2.0 upgrade for the time being, but keep in mind, 2019 isn’t that far away. The sooner your business retains a partner to plan your SAP HANA upgrade, the easier the transition will be.