SAP HANA (High-performance ANalytic Appliance)

SAP-HANA-Performance -Analytic-Appliance

Quest for the Right Database Technology

ERP market players have been on the race to design a simplified database technology right from the turn of the century. This is due to the evolution of data from just being numbers to becoming the value adder to business. Modern enterprises have depended on such technologies to address their diverse use cases and realized that only a sophisticated ERP with the right database technology will help them stay current. 

SAP HANA—Driving Smarter and Faster Business

Until 2010, the entirety of SAP applications relied on third-party database providers like Oracle, IBM, etc. for data storage. This kept SAP a step away from running an enterprise end to end. Towards the end of 2010, SAP HANA (High-performance ANalytic Appliance)  was introduced by SAP to meet the dual-purpose need: 

Release of HANA is considered to be a watershed event in SAP’s history as this gave SAP the first-mover advantage towards the goalincorporate smart thinking and swift action into its enterprise customers’ businesses. 

What is SAP HANA?

 SAP HANA’s column-oriented, in-memory processing design allows enterprises to not only store data but also perform advanced analytics with near-zero latency. From a technical point of view, HANA performs both Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) and Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) requests in a business ecosystem. 

SAP HANA, the Processing-Friendly Database

Traditional databasesrelying on disk for its read/write operationshave solved only the storage issues, thereby leaving a void in processing capacity. This made enterprises focused on business agility transition to a processing-friendly database. In-memory databases came in handy as they process transactions in main memory or Random Access Memory (RAM) and solved the processing capacity issue persisted in traditional databases.  

Being ACID Compliant

In the database world, ACID is a compliance criterion that databases have to comply with, and HANA proves its worth by being ACID-compliant.

Atomicity: Each transaction is an indivisible unit. Every instruction/command associated with that particular transaction must successfully execute, moving from one state to another. Failure of even a single instruction must cancel the transaction and revert database back to the original state. 

Consistency: State of database before and after each transaction must be consistent. 

Isolation: Enterprise databases usually run multiple transactions in a given time frame. Isolation ensures that concurrent transactions do not impact one another, thereby ensuring optimal performance at each transaction level. 

Durable: A committed transaction must capture all the reflected changes, even in the state of a power failure. Generally, in-memory databases are not durable enough as main memory is not proofed against a power outage. But in case of HANA, it comes with High Availability (HA) and Disaster Recovery (DR) options, where: 

SAP HANA, the Analytical Engine

Prime imperative for new-age enterprises is to perform complex analytics and embed emerging technologies, such as Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into their business operations. SAP HANA’s high-performing analytical engine executes thousands of analytical transactions per second, by constantly sending data back and forth between application and presentation layers. In other words, HANA is the technical engine that provides complete end-to-end support to S/4’s functionalities. 

There is a host of analytical functions that separates HANA from the rest. However, the following topics will shed information relevant to this day and age. In an attempt to ensure maximum utilization of data, SAP has embedded two machine learning librariesPredictive Analysis Library (PAL) and Automated Predictive Library (APL)into the latest version of SAP HANA. 

Both the libraries cater information to enterprises in fashion, retail, and banking spaces to ensure visibility into future trends. 

Predictive Analysis Library

With ML algorithms, PAL is capable of performing classification, regression, association analysis, social network analysis, recommender systems, and statistics on a vast amount of enterprise data, and generates results in split seconds. 

PAL needs to be installed separately with SAP HANA, as it is part of Application Function Library (AFL). Application functions are predefined computation logics that get executed at the database level, instead of at the application server level, to increase computational performance. 

Automated Predictive Library

This contains predictive data models that can be used on data. This automates the forecasting process, reducing the time taken to analyze huge volume of data. Business analysts, with little to no exposure to database or programming, become immediate beneficiaries of this feature. 

SAP HANA Becoming the Business Acumen of Enterprises

At its core, HANA is an intelligence machine, justifying the long-held belief HANA is more than a database. To date, SAP HANA has two versions, HANA 1.0 and 2.0. With HANA 1.0 phased out of maintenance, SAP is continuing to support maintenance of HANA 2.0, bringing in the needed bug fixes and security patches to the core. Each successive iteration of HANA is purely an intention to elevate the business performance of enterprises—though at a technical level, it is just an upgrade. 

HANA can be deployed both on on-premise and cloud, thereby extending its intelligence to future cloud-based enterprises. 

Justifying the S/4HANA Transition

HANA is set to be the analytical engine that powers the S/4 functional modules. And SAP is very assertive in its stance to take have its customers in the all-new sophisticated business suite, S/4HANA. 

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