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sap basis vs. sap hanaSAP HANA, the SAP in-memory database, now operates across much of the modern SAP landscape. It is used to run SAP Business Suite as well as its replacement, the SAP S/4HANA suite. SAP HANA is employed in virtually all modern data analytics workloads involving SAP. Administering SAP HANA requires a distinct skill set. Indeed, there’s a specific certification for SAP HANA admins. Yet, there’s even more to it than that. SAP HANA works properly when the SAP Basis administrator has done his or her job on the underlying systemic elements. The two administrative roles for SAP Basis vs SAP HANA are separate, though they sometimes overlap. If you’re using SAP HANA, it’s useful to understand the distinction between the two types of administration and how they affect your experience of SAP HANA.

What Does SAP Basis Mean?

The very name, Basis, hints at the critical, fundamental nature of the SAP Basis administration process. SAP Basis is characterized by basic maintenance tasks that underpin the functioning of an SAP ecosystem. It spans database administration and maintenance, as well as base application tasks like user and print admin, issue troubleshooting and change management. As SAP landscapes evolve into cloud/on-premise hybrids, SAP Basis becomes more challenging, but also more critical to effective overall performance and reliability.

Differences Between SAP Basis and SAP HANA Administrators

What are the differences of SAP Basis vs SAP HANA administrators? Each has his or her own role to play in supporting SAP for a business. An SAP Basis administrator makes sure that all SAP components and applications are able to communicate with one another. He or she supports the enterprise cloud, database and applications with the goal of keeping them all healthy.

Other SAP Basis duties include installing updates, monitoring the system for errors and tweaking SAP to be faster and more reliable. Their job is also to ensure there isn’t degradation of backend processing performance or end user experience for any reason. It’s a non-stop job, as issues that affect performance and internal communication are constantly arising in an SAP landscape.

Basis work can get complicated. A company running SAP might easily have servers deployed all over the world. Each might be running different SAP systems, with varying versions and modules. If the Basis admin is not fully engaged and making adjustments to the system elements, a problem in one area can bring everything down, worldwide.

The Role of the SAP HANA Administrator

An SAP HANA admin, in contrast, is supposed to be exclusively focused all aspects of running SAP HANA. Responsibilities include administrative management and every stage of SAP HANA execution, e.g. licensing, migrations, implementations, hosting and continued maintenance. To understand what this means in practice, consider the various SAP HANA use cases. SAP HANA is more than just a database. It is an architecturally critical element of many different types of SAP systems.

SAP HANA can serve as the backend database for SAP Business Warehouse (BW) and SAP Business Suite. With BW, some of the non-HANA admin skills will apply. However, SAP HANA adds new required skills. For instance, SAP HANA needs admins who can deal with expanded data modeling capabilities as well as information model consumption. The admin must be ready to handle features like nearline storage which delivers an alternative to traditional data archiving.

These are just a few examples of the SAP HANA admin’s specialized role and responsibilities. He or she must also be expert in SAP NetWeaver to support the use of SAP HANA as an RDBMS with SAP Business Suite. He or she must have a sound knowledge of SAP HANA repository objects like stored procedures and data models. The list is very long.

The Relationship between SAP Basis vs SAP HANA Administration

The respective roles of the SAP HANA Basis admin vs SAP HANA admin are a bit analogous to the relationship between a car mechanic and a driver. The car won’t drive well if its engine and tires aren’t maintained and tuned. Similarly, an SAP HANA system, no matter how well it’s configured, will not work properly without a constant focus on the underlying systemic elements that are the purview of the SAP Basis admin.

SAP HANA runs on a server – either physical or virtual. That servers SAP performance is overseen by the Basis admin. The connections between SAP HANA and the many different SAP system elements it communicates with are also the responsibility of the Basis admin. Basis administrative processes determine things like the sizing of SAP HANA appliances based on pre-configured ratios of installed RAM, CPUs/cores and disk. In this process, the SAP Basis admin has to be knowledgeable about the CPU and RAM ratios required for different SAP HANA use cases. BW has a different ratio from Business Suite, and so forth.

The SAP HANA admin is on task to make SAP HANA as effective an element of the SAP landscape as possible. However, without SAP Basis, SAP HANA will not run optimally. Nor will it scale or extend easily into new use cases.

Choosing a Partner Who Can Handle Both SAP HANA and SAP Basis

Making the most out of SAP HANA, whatever workloads you choose it for, requires having skilled SAP HANA admins working alongside SAP Basis admins. This could be the same person in some cases. Usually, though, the roles are specialized enough that they are performed by separate people. Large organizations often have people in both roles. Though lately it’s become harder to find good Basis admins even for the biggest companies. It may make sense to engage with an SAP partner who can provide (or at least supplement) whatever SAP HANA and SAP Basis admin skills your team has.

Symmetry offers you a depth of talent resources for both SAP HANA and SAP Basis administration. To learn how we can help you get the best results from SAP HANA using skilled Basis processes, contact our team today.

Matt Lonstine, Director of SAP Technology

A Leader and SAP technical veteran, Matt Lonstine oversees the SAP Technologists that make up Symmetry’s Delivery team, while providing strategic guidance to customers. Matt has managed and executed some of Symmetry’s most complex projects with a current focus on HANA, virtualization, disaster recovery, system hardening, and migrations to Symmetry’s SAP Cloud environment.