What is SAP HANA

Understand what is SAP HANA in under 10 minutes. Learn in simple terms what makes it so powerful. Handy resources to get you HANA certified.

SAP HANA, developed by SAP AG, is a powerful and versatile proprietary database that serves as the backbone for its suite of products. With its cutting-edge in-memory technology, the database is capable of efficiently processing and analyzing vast amounts of data, allowing businesses to derive valuable insights and make informed decisions.

One of the key strengths of SAP HANA lies in its unique architecture, which combines row-based and column-based structures. This enables efficient handling of both transactional and non-transactional data, providing businesses with a comprehensive solution for their diverse data needs.

Furthermore, the platform offers a range of additional features that further enhance its value as the ideal core for enterprises. Its multi-threaded system enables parallel processing, allowing for faster and more efficient data analysis. Moreover, the application intelligently merges the results before delivering the output, ensuring accurate and comprehensive insights.

In summary, SAP HANA is not just a database, but a comprehensive solution that empowers businesses with the tools and capabilities they need to thrive in the digital age.

The Difference between SAP HANA and SAP S4

Sometimes, people confuse SAP HANA with SAP S4 HANA.  SAP S4 HANA is a powerful ERP solution whereas SAP HANA is just the database. S4 HANA, by leveraging the power of HANA, it enables streamlined operations in sales, finance, material management, and human resource management.In this article, we will also touch upon how SAP S4 is different from SAP ECC.

Compared to its predecessor, SAP ECC, SAP S4 HANA offers enhanced capabilities in data processing thanks to its advanced database. This allows organizations to handle larger volumes of data, perform real-time analytics, and gain valuable insights for better decision-making. With its comprehensive features and cutting-edge technology, SAP S4 HANA is revolutionizing the way businesses operate and manage their operations.

If you are new to SAP, here is an extensive guide on what is SAP and various terminologies associated with it.

Brief history leading to SAP HANA

For a significant period, SAP lacked its own offering in database processing. However, in 2010, SAP made a substantial move by acquiring Sybase for a whopping $5.8 billion. Despite this acquisition, many SAP installations still relied on Oracle, DB2, and various other databases.

According to Professor Hasso Plattner, the founder of SAP and the visionary behind SAP HANA, RAM technology has made tremendous advancements over the past two decades, improving by a factor of thousands. In contrast, disk technology, which most ROM-based databases rely on, has only seen a tenfold improvement.

Professor Hasso Plattner introduction

Professor Hasso Plattner introduction

This discrepancy in technology severely limited the processing power of SAP’s suite of products, primarily due to database-related restrictions. In response, Professor Plattner embarked on a comprehensive PhD study, experimenting with different in-memory technologies, ultimately leading to the birth of SAP HANA.

The beauty of in-memory databases lies in their ability to store information directly in the memory, eliminating the need to retrieve data from disk and enabling lightning-fast responses.

However, in-memory databases faced limitations in terms of volatility, as data could be lost in the event of a power interruption, as well as lower transaction processing capabilities in the case of column-based storage.

Nevertheless, through a robust architecture, SAP HANA overcomes all of these aforementioned shortcomings and delivers enterprise-grade performance.

SAP HANA Architecture

At a simplified level, SAP HANA has two in memory components. The first one is called calculation and planning engine. This helps you simulate various scenarios and are scenarios which cannot be implemented by simple joins or OLAP kind of functionality.

Simplified SAP HANA Architecture Diagram

Simplified SAP HANA Architecture Diagram

The second is an in memory database which supports both row based and column based tables. Row based table help accelerate the transactional data. Column based tables improves analytics.

SAP HANA adminstration includes Studio for modelling data, Business Object Services for reporting and real time replication capabilities. In this below section we will discuss what makes the platform enterprise class and so powerful.

Features and Capabilities – Deep Dive

Here are some of the features and capabilities of the platform. We will discuss these one by one in details. This will also help you understand why HANA powers so many mission critical applications today.

Factors that make the solution so powerful

Factors that make the solution so powerful

Delta Merge

However to be serve as both OLTP and OLAP system, SAP HANA needs to perform complex functionality like delta merge. Delta merge is a process by which the application maintains an area to maintain data which has recently changed and merges it with the main memory on a periodic manner.

If a user tries to retrieve the data, SAP HANA takes information from both main and delta memory beforing showing it on the UI.

SAP HANA Real Time Replication

Real Time Replication is the way by which the application removes the problem with in memory database to be volatile. The application’s primary server replicates the changes in a real time manner with multiple secondary server. If a particular server goes down, other server takes place.

SAP HANA Studio Capabilities

SAP HANA Studio makes it possible to define new tables, views and do more. If you have worked with Eclipse, you would be quick to realize that it has been built on the same platform. It is a complete adminstration and development tool for the solution. Here is a way to download and install SAP HANA Studio.

SAP HANA Data Provisioning

Data provisioning is a technique by which you can make data accessible from a source to a target system. SAP HANA provides the following data provisioning methods.

Real Time Replication – By this you can replicate initial data as well as change in data from a source system by something called a System Landscape Transformation (SLT).

Data Federation – In this case the data is still kept in the source. However, meta data as well as views are created in SAP HANA and when the user requests the information, SAP HANA is able to supply it to the application.

Near Real time data provisioning – ETL tools like BODS and Informatica can push data in a near time manner from a source application to SAP HANA.

Local Data Import – This involves uploading data into HANA using CSV or Flat files.

Business Object Services– Business Object services help with highly analytical reports which can be embedded into a front end system. The output can be shown in Crystal Reports or given as Web intelligence reports.

What is SAP HANA Cloud

SAP HANA is a resource intensive application and requires a lot of resources to set up and run. It may be difficult for a company to have it deployed on premise. It is possible to deploy the application on AWS, MS Azure and Google Cloud Platform.

This makes it possible to use the platform on pay per use basis instead of buying and installing the software on premises.


As you have seen by now, SAP HANA has a lot of capabilities. BW reporting can reach a whole new level due to additional computing power of SAP HANA. You can build various simulations and predictive scenarios with this new combination.

SAP S4 HANA and ECC Difference

SAP S4 is an ERP application and the new version of ECC. As opposed to ECC which can run on various databases (Oracle, DB2, Sybase, MS SQL and HANA), S4 runs only on HANA. SAP S4 has many simplification at database level.

Many join tables have been eliminated. It is super fast and has changed functionality in FI and Master data management.

For instance credit management which earlier relied on aggregates table has been revamped. Customer master and business partner concepts have been merged.

Where to get SAP HANA Certified

Hope this tutorial gave you a good glimpse of SAP HANA. You can get a good hand of the technology by going through course of OpenSAP.

For someone who is new, I would recommend SAP HANA® – 360° Introduction. In this you are required to work with HANA data modelling, get accustomed to technology and architecture of the platform.

Hands on exercise contains creating a report on the database as well as creating a new application using HANA as the database. This doesn’t have any pre-requisites.

How HANA is changing the world

SAP has changed the way businesses manage their operations. By harnessing the power of HANA, companies have access to data-driven insights that was never available before. This is making people’s lives easier as well as better decisions and faster results.

Making an impact - blog post image

Making an impact – blog post image

Not only this, but SAP also provides resources for universities globally to give students a chance to learn about these technologies. SAP has developed innovative solutions and technologies that are helping organizations in the world to operate more effectively and efficiently.

An example of SAP HANA predictive analysis was discussed in a SAP Seminar. By using HANA, John Deer was able to do a predictive failure prediction for its tractors. It was able to dispatch technicians to the customers even before the actual problem arose.

Sporting club Kolkata Knight Riders were able to analyze various parameters of players which help them make the right decisions when going into auction of players.

From predictive analytics, machine learning, cloud computing to business intelligence; SAP is revolutionizing the way companies work and this is having a positive effect on many lives around the globe. Every day, people are discovering new opportunities through the use of this powerful technology and companies are able to better serve their customers.

An example of SAP HANA predictive analysis was discussed in a SAP Seminar. By using the solution, John Deer was able to do a predictive failure prediction for its tractors. It was able to dispatch technicians to the customers even before the actual problem arose.

SAP is at the forefront of innovation, meaning that businesses around the world will continue to benefit from its latest technology. As companies embrace new technologies, they can stay ahead of the competition and offer more value to customers. It is clear that SAP has revolutionized the way businesses run and it has had a positive impact on many lives.

By continuously improving their products, SAP is helping businesses become more efficient and profitable. Companies can reduce operational costs by utilizing this technology, allowing them to focus on delivering quality products and services to customers. This is why SAP will continue to be an essential part of business operations for years to come.

In addition, SAP provides certifications for individuals that want to prove their skills and knowledge in the various areas of technology such as S4, Cloud Platform, HANA Database, BW on HANA. This ensures that those with specialized knowledge can work in any industry and drive innovation from within. By having these certifications, individuals will be able to progress in their respective fields and further enhance the capabilities of businesses.

Overall, SAP is becoming more valuable with each passing day and it looks like this trend is here to stay. Companies are already benefiting from the technology that SAP offers and its popularity only continues to grow as new technologies become available. It is exciting to think about what further innovations SAP will introduce in the future. SAP HANA is helping businesses to succeed and as a result, employees are able to experience greater job satisfaction and increased opportunities for career growth. As more companies embrace this technology, it is clear that everyone can benefit from its potential.

It is important to note that the solution requires ongoing maintenance in order to keep running smoothly. From patch management and software updates to ensuring the security of your data, the platform relies on efficient management of all components.

This is why it is important to have trained and certified professionals looking after these systems. With proper maintenance, you can ensure that your business runs smoothly without any major issues or disruptions.

The potential is vast and it has already revolutionized the business world in many ways. With the right qualifications, you can leverage this technology to give your career a boost and increase the value of your company. As businesses continue to look for new ways to grow and improve their operations, the solution is likely to remain at the forefront of innovation.

Summary and Conclusion

We looked at what is SAP HANA and events that prompted Professor Hasso Plattner to father it.

We explored the architecture of the platform which makes it not only super fast but also robust for enterprise customers.

If you are looking to get certified, we also shared the links to the same in the article.

About Us

We are a highly motivated and dynamic couple, united by a common purpose: to make a positive impact on our community by sharing the power of knowledge.

Throughout our own personal and professional journeys, we were fortunate to have the guidance and support of exceptional mentors who played a pivotal role in shaping us into the individuals we are today.

Now, with the launch of GoUpSkillMeNow, our mission is to empower and inspire others in the same transformative way. We are embarking on an incredible adventure, dedicated to helping individuals unlock their full potential and achieve their career aspirations.

Read our professional journey and our story out here.

Feel free to explore some of our recent SAP blog listed below.

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Shailendu started his career as SAP Consultant. He is currently following his entrepreneurial dream. In his company APPSeCONNECT has helped 1,200+ companies seamlessly integrate applications their digital core. He has features on Customer Think, Salesforce Ben, Strategy Driven and other leadership forums. He is an avid Soccer fan and follows the Spanish league (La Liga) and MLS.

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