Tag Archives: Database

HANA Architecture – Key Take-Aways

I just listened to Marc Bernard’s Webinar about the first looks at the architecture around SAP’s HANA. This is the first document I’ve seen that really makes sense out of HANA from a technical perspective. I’ve also worked with Marc in my time at SAP and really enjoy his ability to clearly present technical information to all sorts of audiences. You can check out the PDF and full recorded version of the webinar at the following: http://bit.ly/dU2bQY

I thought it would be worthy to address some of the key technical take aways from the Webinar:

  1. There are two data stores in the In-Memory Computing Engine (IMCE) – row-based and column-based
  2. Both data stores will be stored in memory (column-based will be very similar to existing BWA technology)
  3. The way data is modeled in HANA is via the “Information Modeler”. It is only used for the column based data store
  4. The Information Modeler is built on the Eclipse IDE. I’m going to assume it’s built using Eclipse EMF.
  5. It supports SQL (JDBC/ODBC), MDX (ODBO), and BICS (SQL DBC)
  6. Data comes in either via BO Data Services or Sybase Replicator

Some thoughts:

From a technical perspective I really like where the technology is going. The Information Modeler is much more intuitive than any BW interface (i.e. Data Warehousing Workbench) I’ve ever seen. The support for different front-ends opens up the possibility to use virtually anything, and more importantly build your own “Apps”. My one concern is around MDX and multi-dimensional OLAP. MDX is very sluggish and BICS was chosen to replace it in BusinessObjects Enterprise 4.0. I’ve been through the pain of seeing how MDX works when BusinessObjects was first implemented on top of SAP BW. The performance is a huge concern. I’d be very interested to see how BICS is implemented in HANA. I wonder if it creates the same type of Star Transformations that exist in the current BW system. Ya know, those basically unreadable SQL Explain statements?

Note – IMCE is now “SAP In-Memory Database” – See Vitaliy’s post

EDIT: I wrote “row-based” for the data-store. Oops! Thanks @joerglatza for seeing the mistype!

Why Wait?

I have to give it to SAP, they’ve done a wonderful job marketing their In-Memory computing platform. Unfortunately I’m constantly wondering what the value behind marketing a brand new revolutionary product to it’s ecosystem is. If you can understand what Real-Real Time Computing (or as the SAP techies call it, In-Memory Computing) you can see truly how disruptive it is to the current SAP ecosystem. Especially to the SAP Business Intelligence sector. The way they are proposing the technology (at least how it is being marketed) is that will replace all current BI technology offers.

I’m fairly skeptical at the very loose timelines they have presented to the market. The common question from everyone has been “When do we get it?”. I’d be much more satisfied with an answer of “We don’t know, let us test it first”. So, here are my predictions:

  1. First 15 companies to actually adopt and prove the benefits of HANA “1.0″ – December 2011 (that’s approximately 17 months after its announcement from Sapphire)
  2. General Availability of HANA “1.0″ – August 2012
  3. First 500 companies to adopt and utilize HANA (1.0 and 1.5) on a daily operational basis – December 2013
  4. HANA becomes “mature” – 2016
  5. HANA technology starts to replace ERP transaction functions – 2018

To be fair, humans are naturally terrible at planning. I’m sure anyone in technology can understand that.

Watch the two videos below to get a better understanding of the marketing around HANA. The first is what was presented at Sapphire 2010 (May)

and the second just recently came out in late 2010 (December).