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SAP HANA is designed from the ground up to deliver the kind of speed you need to run real-time analytics, improve your customer experience in real time, and perform predictive modeling. Unlike traditional Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS), SAP HANA organizes data in columns, not rows. It also stores the data in memory, rather than on disk, which dramatically speeds up data access.

When you migrate to SAP HANA properly, with well-designed data management process and applications, you will see a dramatic increase in speed that allows you to run both online analytics processing (OLAP) and online transaction processing (OLTP) operations.

How SAP HANA Gets Its Speed

SAP HANA offers improved productivity because of its architecture. First off, it is an in-memory database, so data processing takes place on data that is loaded in memory for fast access. Second, SAP HANA typically stores data in column-based tables versus the traditional row-based tables of an RDBMS. This columnar structure provides faster access because most queries only address certain sets of columns. SAP HANA can directly target only those columns for loading, so you don’t have to load a huge set of data to get specific answers.

SAP HANA’s architecture is optimized for both fast queries and high-speed transactions for either OLAP or OLTP applications. It does this without duplicating or siloing data, so you are always working on the same source data, rather than downloading or offloading it for processing.

There Are No Copies

The architecture also eliminates the in-memory duplication that most disk-based databases with an in-memory option use. This approach makes a copy of the data that it then stores in memory. This actually increases the data footprint and makes for version-control issues, because the data in memory is a copy of the original data and not the actual data.

The column-based architecture also makes aggregation much easier and faster, since you only aggregate the columns you need. Additionally, because columns can be available without being coupled with other columns, you can better compress the data for faster loading and less memory usage. This combination of being an in-memory, column-based database makes accessing and querying much faster than traditional row-based, disk-stored databases.

The Tangible Benefits

Being faster obviously increases productivity, as less time spent waiting for results means more time acting on information. It’s also valuable for customer satisfaction, delivering data in near real time to customers automatically.

However, the most powerful benefit could be the ability to perform real-time analytics and complex reports such as predictive modeling and flexible queries on the fly. This allows you to model new financial strategies or logistics possibilities that would tax a traditional RDBMS or the network bandwidth. This means that your company can make data-driven decisions faster, reacting to sudden market changes based on actual customer data.

Designed for Speed

SAP S/4 HANA applications are designed to take advantage of HANA’s speed and design. For example, SAP S/4 HANA Finance can deliver real-time financial reporting that you can dig into. This allows you to simulate what-if scenarios and model new business approaches to find the right one for you. These capabilities are not available in SAP Suite, and SAP S/4 HANA is only available with the HANA database, since the design and performance of both the software and database are integrally designed.

SAP HANA also enables you to deploy SAP Fiori, which offers even more sophisticated reporting and business intelligence with dashboards that can be viewed on mobile devices. SAP Fiori also uses a more intuitive web-based interface than the traditional SAP GUI, which delivers 64 percent faster times on the most common receivables management tasks.

Designed for the Cloud

SAP HANA database was also designed to deliver reporting and performance through the Cloud. You can use a private, hosted, or semi-public Cloud to deliver SAP HANA and SAP S/4 HANA. The advantage to using a Cloud-based SAP HANA solution is that it often delivers a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) that is 37 percent less than on-premise for small and mid-sized enterprises. Being Cloud-based also takes advantage of Fiori’s HTML5 browser design. This makes your entire organization more productive and more data-driven.

The Migration Path

Migrating to SAP HANA is not as easy as upgrading your hardware. Because you are switching from a row-based database to column-based HANA, you may need to run a dual-stack split (if you run AS ABAP and AS JAVA, for example), covert to Unicode, and then upgrade to a supported version of Business Suite to run on HANA.

The shift between a row-based RDBMS and column-based HANA is not insignificant, so just getting the data moved there and tested often consumes the limited downtime your organization can afford.

Find Expert Help

As a leader in SAP enterprise application management and cloud hosting, you need a partner who understands your whole technology stack, from the applications that run your business processes to the infrastructure and networking that your landscape is built on. One with deep knowledge of SAP Basis – the SAP operating platform – that will allows them to quickly and adeptly get you up and running in record time.

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

Read our free SAP HANA Deployment Guide to learn more.

Curtis Gaska - Solution Architect

Curtis Gaska is a solution architect on Symmetry's expert SA team, delivering complete SAP® technical solutions from upgrades to complex landscape implementations. Curtis pairs his sound SAP technical expertise with sales skills to knowledgably advise clients, and prospective clients of Symmetry’s services and product offerings throughout each stage of the sales cycle.

Curtis has a unique ability to deliver technical knowledge to create customs solutions per the client requirements, by not only taking the technical specifications into consideration but also the business drivers particular to that organization in turn creating an optimal SAP environment. This skilled approached includes scoping, planning, and execution of various projects including Migrations/Upgrades/Installs, Hosting and ongoing Managed Services. He also stays abreast of the latest technologies such as road mapping solutions for client’s to leverage SAP HANA® in their current environment to then be hosted in Symmetry’s state-of- the -art Datacenter.