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The key to getting the most out of the SAP HANA architecture is to know why you are migrating. One of the big reasons many companies look to migrate is that S/4HANA allows enterprises to integrate other cloud applications, such as Salesforce, Tableau, and more. This complete-solution integration gives companies a single source of truth from manufacturing through to sales, with the business intelligence to see how the entire enterprise and each business unit are doing against KPIs.

However, the biggest benefit for many companies comes from the productivity gains from adding Fiori. Fiori’s web interface is designed to make common tasks easier. It is easy to learn, which cuts training time and increases adoption and use rates. In a side-by-side test, Fiori cut the completion time of a receivables management task from 2:12 to 47 seconds. That’s almost a 65% increase in productivity. Additionally, it allows managers to drill down into the data, giving executives more timely transparency into items that need attention.

No Simple Task

However, the migration process is not as simple as switching hardware. Most RDBMS are traditional row-table databases with most of the data stored on drives. HANA keeps data in column tables that are stored in memory for fast access. This allows it to combine OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) and OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) in a single structure, which slashes your memory usage tenfold – very important because HANA keeps much of the data in memory.

In order to move to HANA from a traditional RDBMS, you may need to run a dual-stack split (if you run AS ABAP and AS JAVA for example), convert to Unicode, and/or upgrade to a supported version of Business Suite to run on HANA.

Understanding the integration points – those places where the integration changes – is critical to ensure that the new HANA database points to the right names and applications. Then, once the migration is complete, and the integration points are double-checked, you will need performance tuning in order to realize the true benefits of SAP HANA.

Start with a Plan

One of the best practices for migrating to HANA is to start with a plan that is based on getting your assets to meet your goals. At Symmetry, we recommend starting with a list of all of your assets – data sources, databases, applications, connections, and resources that connect with your SAP database.

Next, list your objectives for moving to the SAP HANA architecture. Having those objectives listed allows you to plan the best way to connect your assets in the SAP HANA architecture in a way that will help you achieve your goals. You might find that some of your assets no longer serve your needs, or that you need new tools in order to get where you want to go. These lists help you identify your gaps, both in terms of technology and knowledge.

Migrate in Steps

Often companies think that making the big switch from their Business Suite on traditional RDBMS, such as R/3, Oracle, or SQL Server, to S/4HANA will save time and money. However, Symmetry has found that migrating first to SAP Suite on HANA is less disruptive and less prone to errors. The shift between a row-based RDBMS and column-based HANA is not insignificant, so just getting the data moved there is a fairly big deal.

For starters, the SAP Database Migration Option (DMO) for S/4 requires a lot of change and evaluations in one step. Using the DMO to migrate first to HANA running SAP Suite takes advantage of the way your assets currently connect. This allows for a faster conversion to HANA, without extensive downtime. When Symmetry did this for New England Biolabs (NEB), the Symmetry team moved them first to Suite on HANA and then began the final migration to S/4 HANA two months later to avoid delays and downtime. Once the data is up and running on HANA under SAP Suite, it is much easier to transition over to S/4.

“The implementation went flawlessly and was a complete non-event,” NEB CIO, Sharon Kaiser commented. “We were most impressed that despite the complex nature of a SAP HANA migration, Symmetry’s team planned, designed and moved our critical systems to a new cloud platform while working seamlessly with our team. We are confident that we now have a “total package” partner with advanced security, the right experience and expertise, and a support staff just a phone call away who can help us meet our goals.”

Experience with SAP HANA Migrations

As a leader in enterprise application management and cloud hosting, we understand your whole technology stack, from the applications that run your business processes to the infrastructure and networking that your landscape is built on.

Whether you’re looking for a complete SAP HANA private cloud,  hybrid-cloud solution, or someone to support your public-cloud landscape, our HANA hosting experience enables Symmetry to deliver the performance, reliability, and innovation your business depends on.

Read our free SAP HANA Deployment Guide, or contact us to learn more.

Nick McCall - Basis Consultant

Nick McCall is a Basis Consultant on Symmetry's consulting team, delivering expert technical day to day system monitoring support directly to Symmetry’s valued SAP customers. Nick goes beyond performing daily database administration by also providing SAP system troubleshooting and problem solving – he is always willing to learn the latest SAP trends and advises customers to take advantage of new technologies should it fit their business needs. He pairs his sound technical knowledge with outstanding customer service. This is demonstration by his work on large customer project initiatives, most recently working on: Fiori and Gateway Implementations, Personas 3.0 Ramp-up, implementation and configuration, Solution Manager full implementations and configurations (8 systems currently configured on RHEL5/6, Windows (2008/R2, 2012), MSSQL (2008R2/2012), Oracle (11.0.2/3), domain migrations – homogeneous, database upgrades, compressions, reorgs, and much more. Nick’s skilled approach ensures Symmetry’s clients receive highly disciplined support instilled with industry best practices to keep their SAP system continuously running smoothly.