“When can we expect to have a simplified platform to deliver real-time insights from live data?”
“When will we have a platform that doesn’t pose any real-time analytics roadblocks on our cloud journey?”
If similar questions and concerns are plaguing your mind, you are probably looking for a quick fix to such problems. The good news is that the answer lies in an in-memory data platform called SAP HANA, which is as easily deployable as an on-premise appliance as it is on the cloud. SAP HANA is a radical platform that’s most suitable for carrying out real-time analytics and developing and deploying real-time applications.
Central to this real-time data platform is the SAP HANA database, which is essentially dissimilar to all other database systems heretofore. Fortunately, you can identify the exact business scenarios in which SAP HANA’s real-time analytics capabilities can be put to best use, if you follow the below key guidelines.
The two business scenarios
So here are the two scenarios I’ll be talking about in this blog:
Scenario 1: SAP BW powered by HANA
Migrating to HANA database from RDBMS database for SAP BW customers
Scenario 2: SAP HANA standalone
Moving data from non-SAP and SAP systems and performing modeling and reporting
SAP BW powered by HANA
This scenario applies to those who already have SAP BW with RDBMS existing in their environment and now want to move from Oracle to the HANA database. Once you migrate to the HANA database, all existing infocubes or infoproviders will get converted to HANA-optimized cubes. For reporting purposes, you can use both the reporting tools — the existing Business Explorer (BEx) reporting tool and the Business Objects reporting tools (BOBJ).
I see that many firms who want to take advantage of the benefits provided by SAP HANA are now migrating their existing RDBMS database to the SAP HANA database. The main advantage of implementing SAP HANA involves its real-time data loading and reporting capabilities. For ease of understanding, picture a database with 1.2 billion data rows. With SAP HANA, the database will provide you with the cumulative results in BO Explorer in approximately 4.5 seconds. You can also witness report times that used to be about 3 minutes before the BW on SAP HANA migration get completed within less than 2 seconds after the migration.
The typical service scope for SAP BW HANA can de described thus:
- Project setup and reporting
- Kick-off workshop
- Prerequisites check
- Execution, monitoring, and controlling of results
- Migration to the SAP HANA database using Database Migration Option (DMO)
- One-test migration (second optional) on copy of the PRD Business Suite system
- Migration of DEV, QAS, and PRD systems
- Post steps after migration
- Support for go-live
Skills required within the implementation team:
- SAP BW consultants with HANA Expertise (for BW & HANA Modeling)
- SAP HANA Admin (BASIS consultants with HANA Migration expertise)
- SAP BOBJ Consultants (for Reporting)
On an average, the SAP BW on HANA database migration can go live within 16–20 weeks.
SAP HANA Standalone
Here, I am talking about a scenario where you may or may not have SAP BW in your environment but still want to leverage SAP HANA.
In this case, you can deploy HANA as a Standalone or as a Sidecar database, loading data into the database via various mechanisms. HANA standalone requires a supplementary technology such as SLT (SAP Landscape Transformation) or Business Objects DataServices (BODS) to stream data into the database with real-time or ETL capabilities. HANA views are then created to model the raw data tables. And, no database to date is as simple and fast as SAP HANA, which is approximately 200 times speedier than other current RDMBSes. Executives and techies vote for SAP HANA due to its ability to process high data volumes, often as much as hundreds of terrabytes.
There are many data provisioning techniques through which you can bring the data from SAP and non-SAP source systems to HANA DB. These data provision techniques include:
- Flat File
- ETL-Based Business objects Data Services (BODS)
- Smart Data Access
The SLT replication server allows loading and replicating data in real time from SAP and non-SAP source systems into the SAP HANA environment. It permits actual time and planned data replication, copying just the appropriate data into HANA.
Benefits of SLT:
- Real time delta-enabled data acquisition capabilities for any source
- Operational Data Provisioning shares massive loads from source systems on account of data being drawn out accurately once and thereafter delivered over ODP as necessary, may it be in real-time or after particular breaks in time
- Operational Data Provisioning actions a recovery system with configurable data retention periods. That’s why it allows you to characterize the duration for which the data ought to be stocked in the ODQ after it has been read by all subscribing applications.
- Adept compression allows data compression rates of as much as 90% in ODQ
Once the data is available in the HANA Database, we can start creating information models. We can use the SAP HANA-certified reporting tool — the SAP BO reporting suite. SAP HANA offers a wide range of reporting possibilities. There are many interfaces through which we can connect the HANA DB to Business Objects Reporting tools. Below-mentioned are these interfaces:
- ODBO (OLE DB for OLAP)
- ODBC (Open DB Connectivity)
- JDBC (Java DB Connectivity)
- BICS (Business Intelligence Consumer Services)
There is a formula to success with SAP HANA. And, there are plenty of examples of businesses showing ROI with SAP HANA. In short: Whatever the business case, zero in on your budget, pick one of the two abovementioned scenarios that fits your business need, and get ready to measure the results with HANA.
Author: Naresh Biyyala
Naresh Biyyala is a Managing Consultant at Knack Systems with over nine years of professional IT experience, including in SAP BW/BI, BO, and HANA. Naresh is an SAP-HANA certified consultant and has worked extensively in implementation, upgrade, and support projects for different industries such as Manufacturing, Healthcare/Pharmaceutical, Oil & Gas, and Automobile. He has been part of several successful projects, PoCs, co-innovations, and Center of Excellence initiatives and has in-depth experience and understanding of SAP HANA. Naresh holds an M.S degree from McNeese State University, USA.