Make way for SAP HANA

Last month, I had the chance to attend the SAP HANA Training Bootcamp in Dubai (UAE). This was my first opportunity, after a lot of expectation and whitepapers, to put my hands on a real SAP HANA machine and the expectation were met.

Let’s start with the impressive hardware improvements that have led us to the In-memory computing revolution.

It’s not difficult to understand that the slower part of a database access is reading data from the disks. This problem has been addressed by the database vendors by trying to use storage optimizations, faster hardware, and other techniques but ultimately the database management system needs to read data from the disk. So here the great idea came to play… What if I can store all the data in memory?

Not so long ago, when our server processors were 32 bit, we were only able to address 4GB of memory, so that was the maximum amount of memory we cold have in our server. Nowadays with the 64 bits architectures we are able to access up to 2 TB.

In addition to the huge amount of principal memory we can have in the server, thanks to the massive parallel architectures (currently we can have up to 64 CPU Cores per server) we can apply a lot of optimizations that reduce data size and increase access performance. These are:

  • Data Compression
  • There is no need to use aggregate tables reducing data storage requirements.
  • We can use table partitioning to increase data access speed.

All of this gives us a near to immediate query response time, even with queries involving billions on rows, and believe me, this is not just a Marketing stunt… I have seen it ;)



So far we have seen why it is interesting to use In-Memory computing and why do it now, but, how do we manage SAP HANA Appliance?

The core for SAP HANA Appliance administration is SAP HANA Studio. Using this tool we are able to:

  • Model our information; these models are used to create multiple views of the transactional data.
  • Preview data from both physical tables and the previously mentioned Information Models.
  • Import and export data
  • Configure data provisioning (initial table loads and replication)
  • Manage the system security

I hope you have enjoyed this overview of SAP HANA appliance. Very soon I will come back with a post on SAP HANA connectivity.

If you have any questions or opinions about SAP HANA appliance, please leave a comment below.