Why is SAP HANA such a big deal

Why is SAP HANA such a big deal?

SAP HANA was announced in June 2011. It is an in-memory database software that combines transactional data processing, analytical data processing and application logic processing functionality in memory.

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It has a full database management system with a standard SQL interface, high availability, transactional isolation and recovery (ACID properties). It also supports most of the entry level SQL92 statements. SAP applications that use Open SQL can run against HANA without any changes.

More functions like freestyle search are implemented as SQL extensions. BI applications are supported through multidimensional expressions (MDX) for Microsoft Excel and business intelligence consumer services (BICS), and an internal interface for BusinessObjecs. In addition to these, SAP HANA has a plethora of functionality which is useful for small and large businesses alike.

The HANA difference
HANA�s combination of a row and column store is different from other database engines on a fundamental level. This allows it to perform OLTP and analytics processing in-memory, at the same time.

SAP HANA has been tuned for real-time data processing. While RAM is faster than disk, CPU�s still waste cycles waiting for data from RAM. HANA reduces the idle cycles significantly. It does this by making sure that as much useful data as possible is in the CPU caches. This is achieved with its unique CPU-cache-aware algorithms and data structures. In a similar vein, it uses late materialization to decompress columnar structures as late as possible or to run operations directly on the compressed data.

SAP HANA is sold as an appliance too, but only on Intel Xeon CPUs. Intel developers spent many months with SAP coding the core of the HANA appliance. Only they were able to take advantage of the Xeon chip architecture. They took advantage of HyperThreading, Intel Turbo Boost and Threading Building Blocks. The SAP HANA High Performance Analytic Appliance can perform large-scale data analytics. It can analyze 500 billion records in less than a minute which puts analytics on a whole new level. This represents a complete data warehouse in RAM resulting in accelerated real-time analytics.

All of these are the components of a winning formula. Many businesses today have already begun to use SAP HANA and are reaping the rewards of upgrading. When Larry Ellison heard that SAP was planning on entering the database market with HANA, he is said to have called the plan �Wacko� and �extremely complex�. His company, Oracle, the leading database company then, hadn�t managed anything like HANA. Today, SAP HANA has become a big competitor to Oracle, and is why SAP HANA is such a big deal today.