Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Serafima Al, Janakiram MSV

Blog Feed Post

SAP HANA Aims to Make Oracle Stranglehold a Distant Memory


When the character Maverick from the movie Top Gun exclaimed, “I feel the need, the need for speed”, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a sound bite from a CIO discussing their transactional databases. Whether it’s a financial organization predicting share prices, a bank knowing whether it can approve a loan or a marketing organisation reaching consumers with a compelling promotional offer, the need to access, store, process and analyze data as quickly as possible is an imperative for any business looking to gain a competitive edge. Hence when in 2011, SAP announced their new in-memory platform HANA for enterprise applications everyone took note as they coined the advantage of real-time analytics. SAP HANA promised to not just make databases dramatically faster like traditional business warehouse accelerator systems but instead speed up the front end, enabling companies to run arbitrary, complex queries on billions of records in a matter of seconds as opposed to hours. The vendors of old legacy traditional databases were facing a major challenge, most notably the king of them all…Oracle.

The Birth and Emergence of Big Data
Back in the days of mainframe, you’d find the application and transactional data of reporting databases physically stored in the same system. This was due to applications, operating systems and databases being designed to maximize their hardware resources, which consequently meant you couldn’t process transactions and reports simultaneously. The bottleneck here was cost, in that if you wanted to scale you needed another mainframe.

After the advent of client servers where applications could run on a centralized database server via multiple and cost effective servers, scalability was achieved by simply adding additional application servers. Regardless, of this a new bottleneck was quickly established with systems relying on a single database server and requests from ever increasing application servers that ended up causing I/O stagnation. This problem became exasperated with OLTP (online transaction processing), where report creation required the system to concurrently read multiple tables in the database. Added to this servers and processors kept getting faster while disks (despite the emergence of SSD) were quickly becoming the bottleneck to automated processes that were producing large amounts of data that concurrently resulted in more report requests.

The net effect was a downward spiral where the increase of users requiring an increase of reports from the databases meant an increase in huge amounts of data being requested from disks that simply weren’t up to the job. When you then factored in the data proliferation of external users caused by the Internet and pressure inducing laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley, the demand to analyze even more data even quicker has reached fever point. With data and user volumes increasing by a factor of thousands compared to the I/O capability of databases, the transaction-based industry faced a challenge that required a dramatic shift and change.  Cue the 2011 emergence of SAP’s HANA.

Real-Time In Memory Platform Presents a Groundbreaking Approach
One of the major advantages of SAP HANA’s ability to run in real time is that it offers a non-requirement for data redundancy as it’s built to run as a single database. With clusters of affordable and scalable servers, transactional and analytical data are run on the same database, hence eliminating different types of databases for different application needs. Oracle on the other hand has built an empire on exactly the opposite.



Oracle has thrived on a model where generally companies start with a simple database that’s utilized for checking sales orders and ensuring product delivery to customers but as the business grows they need more databases with different and more demanding functions. Functions such as managing customer relationships, complex reporting and analysis drives a need for new databases that are separate from the actual business requiring data to be moved from one system to another. Eventually you have a sprawl of databases as existing ones are unable to handle the workloads making it almost impossible to track data movements yet alone attain real time updates. So while the Oracle marketing machine is also pitching the benefits of in-memory via its Exalytics appliance and in-memory database, TimesTen, Oracle are certainly in no rush to break this traditional model of database sprawl and the money-spinning licenses that come with it.

Looking closely at the Oracle Exalytics / TimesTen package, despite the hype, it merely is just an add-on product meaning that an end user will still need a license for the transactional database, another license for the data warehouse database and yet another license for TimesTen for Oracle Exalytics.

Moreover, the Oracle bolt-on approach serves to sell more of their hardware commodity and in some ways perversely justify their acquisition of SUN Microsystems, all at the expense of the customer. Due to the Exalytics approach continuing the traditional requirement for transactional data to be duplicated from the application to the warehouse and once again to Exalytics, the end user not only ends up with three copies of the data, they also have to have three levels of storage and servers. In contrast SAP HANA is designed to be a single database that runs both transactional applications and Business Warehouse deployments. Not only does SAP HANA’s one copy of data replace the two or three required for Oracle it also eliminates the need for materialized views, redundant aggregates and indexes leaving a significantly reduced data footprint.


Comparing HANA to Oracle’s TimesTen and Exalytics
As expected Oracle have already initiated their FUD team with bogus claims and untruths against HANA as well as even pushing their TimesTen as a like for like comparison. Where this is hugely flawed is that they fail to acknowledge or admit that SAP HANA is a completely groundbreaking design as opposed to a bolt-on approach.  With SAP HANA data is completely managed and accessed in RAM consequently doing away with the requirement of MOLAP, multiple indexes and other tuning features that Oracle pride themselves on.

Furthermore, despite the Oracle FUD, SAP HANA does indeed handle both unstructured and structured data, as well as utilise parallel queries for scaling out across server nodes. In this instance Oracle are trying hard to create the most confusion and subsequently detract the market from realizing that the TimesTen with Exalytics package still can’t scale out beyond the 1TB RAM limit unlike SAP HANA where each container can store up to 500TB of data all executable at high speed.

With an aggressive TCO and ROI model compared to a traditional Oracle deployment, SAP HANA also proves a lot more cost effective. With pricing based on an incremental of 64GB RAM and the total amount of data held in memory, licenses are fully inclusive of production and test/development requirements as well as the necessary tools.


SAP HANA’s embracing of VMware
Furthermore with Oracle’s belligerent stance towards VMware and the cost savings it brings to end users, SAP on the other hand has embraced it.  The recent announcement that SAP HANA is supporting VMware vSphere will provide them a vast competitive advantage, as it will enable customers to provision instances of SAP HANA in minutes as VM templates, as well as gain benefits such as Dynamic Resource Scheduling and vSphere vMotion. By virtualizing SAP HANA with VMware, end users can quickly have several smaller HANA instances all sharing a single physical server leading to better utilization of existing resources. With the promise of certified preconfigured and optimised converged infrastructures such as the Vblock around the corner, SAP HANA appliances could be shipped with vSphere 5 and SAP HANA pre-installed within days, enabling rapid deployment for businesses.

The Business Benefits of Real-Time
With business and transactions being done in real time, SAP HANA ensures that the data and the analytics that come with them are also in real time. The process of manually polling data from multiple systems and sorting them through are inadequate in a time when businesses are facing unpredictable economic conditions and volatile demand and complex supply chains. The need is for real time metrics that are aligned to supply and demand where a retailers' shelves can accurately and immediately be stocked eliminating unnecessary inventory costs, lost sales opportunities and failed product launches. Being able to instantly analyze data at any level of granularity enables a business to quickly respond to these market insights and take decisive actions such as transferring inventory between distribution centers based on expected sales or altering the prices of promotions based on customer demand. Instead of waiting for processes that take hours, days or even weeks, SAP HANA’s real time capabilities enable businesses to react in real time to incidents.

Ultimately SAP HANA is a revolutionary step forward that will empower organizations to focus more on the business and less on the infrastructure that supports them. With the promise of new applications being built by SAP to support real time decision making as well as being able to run existing applications, SAP HANA presents the opportunity to not only transform a business but also the underlying technology that supports it. 




Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Archie Hendryx

SAN, NAS, Back Up / Recovery & Virtualisation Specialist.

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...