Setting The Record Straight on SAP HANA

Ken Tsai

visionary.jpgOn Feb 22, 2012 I read a blog from Oracle that creates a lot of FUD around SAP HANA (HANA).  Looks like we have touched a nerve there, as we are seeing the competitive response as a whole lot of trash talk from the competition.  It also means we are doing something right…

Should we even deem this with a response? We had tweets dealing with this blog, all with similar content:

@cochesdiez: #Oracle not telling the truth on #SAP #HANA #Inmemory See my tweets in responding to some simply untrue facts

@jdh2n: @oracleEPMBI @manangoel Might want to check your facts on some of the points. Sounds like marketing flare not technical facts. #sap #HANA

Even though SAP has traditionally taken the high road in these matters and while in keeping with that spirit I’ve decided to join the community and not let this disingenuousness pass. I will try to address the FUD factor and misinformation and set the record straight with facts instead of speculation and misinformation that was rife in that blog. Our customers will do the same for us and in the final analysis that’s what matters.

So here goes…

#1 HANA is first to the market with next-generation innovation in databases

SAP has had ample experience in first generation in-memory technologies with SAP APO, trex, ptime etc.   And yes these technologies and others, including TimesTen, BerkelyDB, and MySQL have been around for years.   SAP HANA is the next generation of in-memory and significantly advanced compared to these technologies – with many innovations and firsts.  Some innovation highlights are

  1. In-memory column and row-store
  2. No disk for operation
  3. Dynamic parallelism
  4. OLTP and OLAP together
  5. Standard SQL on structured and unstructured data
  6. Insert only
  7. Multi-node
  8. Lightning-fast Bulk load (something customers love and saying that this capability alone makes HANA worth it)
  9. Application server AND database server 

One can argue that iPhone was not new, but it was the next generation in “smart phones” and did redefine the category by putting everything together – entire database of songs, moving away from disk to flash, new apps. 

#2 HANA is growing rapidly in adoption and revenue

In 6 short months, we have more than 200 customers and $200 M in software license revenue – it’s a massive uptake and adoption of the product no matter how you slice it.  Our competition is comparing it to their mature cash cow product that has been leading the market for many decades.  Plus they are adding their hardware, software, and maintenance revenues while drawing comparisons.  Not bad for a new innovative product.  If HANA weren’t threatening their hegemony in the space you would not be reading this blog response.  HANA is the innovator and not the incumbent, plus we are focused on software innovation to simplify our customer’s landscape and not intent on selling more expensive hardware, repacking existing products into more expensive appliances and increasing our customers TCO.

#3 HANA is enterprise ready with manageability and reliability. 

HANA is available for scale out as of Nov 7th, its high availability is standard, it is fully ACID compliant, has failover to another standby in-memory system and has persistence to the disk in case of complete failure from which it can replay logs to recover rapidly. HANA schemes can be extended on the fly, no re-indexing needed, e.g. since there are no physical layers, structural changes are easier to implement.  Since this is a modern design with insert only and no updates – antiquated locking mechanisms are not needed and concurrency can be much higher than traditional DBMS such as Oracle.  HANA has been deployed for mission critical applications such as smart meter analytics (Centrica), customer segmentation for marketing offers (T-Mobile) and cost based profitability analysis (Colgate, Ferrero, Honeywell).  Our customers have stood up time and again and have highlighted how HANA has helped them deliver new business value while maintaining the enterprise manageability and reliability that SAP is known for. 

#4: HANA is non disruptive with plug and play on layers above and below.

HANA is open and offers customers real choice.  HANA is ANSI SQL compliant, that why companies like Medtronic utilized ERDs built on Sybase Power designer and have it deployed on HANA in no time.   HANA supports standard MDX interfaces.  In addition to SAP products (SAP BusinessObjects, SuccessFactors), BI products on top such as Tableau, data visualization software like TIBCO Spotfire, Salesforce analytics, MSFT clients like Excel and collaborative platforms like Jive, have all been tested to work with HANA.  Even competitive applications such as UFIDA are looking at HANA.  Oracle Exalytics in comparison is closed and packages in Oracle BI products only. Also, it works only on Sun, while HANA is plug and play with 8 hardware vendors.   SAP’s open ecosystem across hardware partners and partners building applications powered by HANA (coming soon) further confirm these facts.   Some more fun facts – HANA runs apps written for Oracle DB without any changes, Given Oracle says that Exadata runs 10x faster than its traditional RDBMS and HANA runs 1000x faster than Oracle RDBMS in customer situations on an average – one can approximate that apps on HANA run 100x faster than on Exadata.

#5: HANA is available as an appliance with proven ease of deployment

SAP provides level 1 support for SAP HANA irrespective of hardware or software issues. SAP HANA appliance configurations are pre-certified providing customers complete assurance on software + hardware design in addition to bringing open innovation, choice and cost competition from multiple hardware providers. SAP is going further by providing rapidly deployed solutions on top of SAP HANA appliance such as SAP CO-PA Accelerator – by using this RDS customers like Provimi have gone live in less than 3 weeks. That’s what we call ease of use and deployment.  Keep in mind that HANA runs on Intel architecture provided by 8 vendors (turnkey) on one operating system.  HANA runs both OLTP and OLAP on this single architecture greatly reducing TCO – and installs and runs in record time – all further underscoring ease of use and deployment

I do believe that this is an inflection point and companies need to rethink their data management strategy. Should they go with aging, and mature DBMS or bring in new innovation to deal with modern day challenges for doing real-time analysis on extremely large data sets, without pre-thinking the questions or queries and without prefabrication and tuning the old systems like Oracle DBMS need? 

Come to a SAP Forum in or near your city and you can see, touch, and feel HANA live in action.  Better yet – if you are looking for more info – including test driving HANA yourself – go to Experience SAP HANA for the real deal – from basic information to deep technical info on SAP HANA from practitioners, product managers, partners, and customers.  Check it out for yourself!


Ken Tsai

About Ken Tsai

Ken Tsai is the VP of Head of Cloud Platform & Data Management at SAP Product Marketing. He leads global product marketing responsibility for SAP's platform-as-a-service and end-to-end data management solutions. Drove new market opportunity discovery, pipeline acceleration and external thought leadership for SAP's platform solution group (SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP HANA platform, SAP HANA Vora, SAP ASE, SAP IQ, SAP SQLAnywhere, SAP ESP).


awareness , News

Why 3D Printed Food Just Transformed Your Supply Chain

Hans Thalbauer

Numerous sectors are experimenting with 3D printing, which has the potential to disrupt many markets. One that’s already making progress is the food industry.

The U.S. Army hopes to use 3D printers to customize food for each soldier. NASA is exploring 3D printing of food in space. The technology could eventually even end hunger around the world.

What does that have to do with your supply chain? Quite a bit — because 3D printing does more than just revolutionize the production process. It also requires a complete realignment of the supply chain.

And the way 3D printing transforms the supply chain holds lessons for how organizations must reinvent themselves in the new era of the extended supply chain.

Supply chain spaghetti junction

The extended supply chain replaces the old linear chain with not just a network, but a network of networks. The need for this network of networks is being driven by four key factors: individualized products, the sharing economy, resource scarcity, and customer-centricity.

To understand these forces, imagine you operate a large restaurant chain, and you’re struggling to differentiate yourself against tough competition. You’ve decided you can stand out by delivering customized entrees. In fact, you’re going to leverage 3D printing to offer personalized pasta.

With 3D printing technology, you can make one-off pasta dishes on the fly. You can give customers a choice of ingredients (gluten-free!), flavors (salted caramel!), and shapes (Leaning Towers of Pisa!). You can offer the personalized pasta in your restaurants, in supermarkets, and on your ecommerce website.

You may think this initiative simply requires you to transform production. But that’s just the beginning. You also need to re-architect research and development, demand signals, asset management, logistics, partner management, and more.

First, you need to develop the matrix of ingredients, flavors, and shapes you’ll offer. As part of that effort, you’ll have to consider health and safety regulations.

Then, you need to shift some of your manufacturing directly into your kitchens. That will also affect packaging requirements. Logistics will change as well, because instead of full truckloads, you’ll be delivering more frequently, with more variety, and in smaller quantities.

Next, you need to perfect demand signals to anticipate which pasta variations in which quantities will come through which channels. You need to manage supply signals source more kinds of raw materials in closer to real time.

Last, the source of your signals will change. Some will continue to come from point of sale. But others, such as supplies replenishment and asset maintenance, can come direct from your 3D printers.

Four key ingredients of the extended supply chain

As with our pasta scenario, the drivers of the extended supply chain require transformation across business models and business processes. First, growing demand for individualized products calls for the same shifts in R&D, asset management, logistics, and more that 3D printed pasta requires.

Second, as with the personalized entrees, the sharing economy integrates a network of partners, from suppliers to equipment makers to outsourced manufacturing, all electronically and transparently interconnected, in real time and all the time.

Third, resource scarcity involves pressures not just on raw materials but also on full-time and contingent labor, with the necessary skills and flexibility to support new business models and processes.

And finally, for personalized pasta sellers and for your own business, it all comes down to customer-centricity. To compete in today’s business environment and to meet current and future customer expectations, all your operations must increasingly revolve around rapidly comprehending and responding to customer demand.

Want to learn more? Check out my recent video on digitalizing the extended supply chain.


Hans Thalbauer

About Hans Thalbauer

Hans Thalbauer is the Senior Vice President, Extended Supply Chain, at SAP. He is responsible for the strategic direction and the Go-To-Market of solutions for Supply Chain, Logistics, Engineering/R&D, Manufacturing, Asset Management and Sustainability at SAP.

How to Design a Flexible, Connected Workspace 

John Hack, Sam Yen, and Elana Varon

SAP_Digital_Workplace_BRIEF_image2400x1600_2The process of designing a new product starts with a question: what problem is the product supposed to solve? To get the right answer, designers prototype more than one solution and refine their ideas based on feedback.

Similarly, the spaces where people work and the tools they use are shaped by the tasks they have to accomplish to execute the business strategy. But when the business strategy and employees’ jobs change, the traditional workspace, with fixed walls and furniture, isn’t so easy to adapt. Companies today, under pressure to innovate quickly and create digital business models, need to develop a more flexible work environment, one in which office employees have the ability to choose how they work.

SAP_Digital_Emotion_BRIEF_image175pxWithin an office building, flexibility may constitute a variety of public and private spaces, geared for collaboration or concentration, explains Amanda Schneider, a consultant and workplace trends blogger. Or, she adds, companies may opt for customizable spaces, with moveable furniture, walls, and lighting that can be adjusted to suit the person using an unassigned desk for the day.

Flexibility may also encompass the amount of physical space the company maintains. Business leaders want to be able to set up operations quickly in new markets or in places where they can attract top talent, without investing heavily in real estate, says Sande Golgart, senior vice president of corporate accounts with Regus.

Thinking about the workspace like a designer elevates decisions about the office environment to a strategic level, Golgart says. “Real estate is beginning to be an integral part of the strategy, whether that strategy is for collaborating and innovating, driving efficiencies, attracting talent, maintaining higher levels of productivity, or just giving people more amenities to create a better, cohesive workplace,” he says. “You will see companies start to distance themselves from their competition because they figured out the role that real estate needs to play within the business strategy.”

The SAP Center for Business Insight program supports the discovery and development of  new research-­based thinking to address the challenges of business and technology executives.


Sam Yen

About Sam Yen

Sam Yen is the Chief Design Officer for SAP and the Managing Director of SAP Labs Silicon Valley. He is focused on driving a renewed commitment to design and user experience at SAP. Under his leadership, SAP further strengthens its mission of listening to customers´ needs leading to tangible results, including SAP Fiori, SAP Screen Personas and SAP´s UX design services.


What If Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho Could Be Proved Right In Medical Staff Row?

Mark Goad

Big Data and the Internet of Things brings new level of insight to sports medicine

With the 2015-16 European football (soccer) season underway, we are already seeing the impact of the huge pressure to succeed. In some cases, it is boiling over even this early on, with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho getting involved in a very public row with his medical staff over the treatment of Eden Hazard during a match. As the season builds momentum, all clubs know one of the most vital aspects of winning trophies is keeping the best players fit so they can play at the top of their game as often as possible.

Last season, just like in every season, we saw injuries that affected teams’ results and possibly their final standings at the end of the season, while other teams capitalized. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger blamed injuries for the team’s failed title bid, while Real Madrid suffered injuries to players like Gareth Bale and Luka Modric at a crucial stage of the season and lost the title to Barcelona.

There’s no doubt that football clubs, especially the bigger teams, employ first-rate medical staff – physiotherapists, doctors, sports scientists, and so on – but they can only do so much to keep players off the treatment table. Players are human, after all, and keeping them injury-free for such long and grueling campaigns is a big ask. This season again will see players on the end of crunching tackles, over-exerting their bodies, and over-stretching.

What’s less talked about than lost games and league titles when discussing injuries is the salaries paid to injured players. The estimated average cost of player injuries in the top four professional football leagues in 2015 was $12.4 million* per team. Remarkably, every year teams lose an equivalent of 15%-30%** of their player payroll to injuries.

As salaries continue to rise, injuries are becoming just as much of an off-the-pitch boardroom issue as they are an on-the-pitch issue. Consider that if Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, the world’s highest-paid player, spends just a week out injured, the club still has to pay his weekly salary of around $1 million. Not only that, but there’s the huge potential for lost revenue from missing out on UEFA Champions League progress or domestic success because key players are out.

Just as winning seems to mean more than ever, so does football as a business. So with the spotlight firmly on “sweating the assets” – extracting maximum value from the entire squad – clubs are looking to Big Data and Internet of Things technology to consider how player injuries can be prevented with new levels of insight.

Prevention is better than cure

In July this year we saw what could be a huge landmark in the potential of monitoring the risk of injuries, when football’s international governing body FIFA announced its approval of wearable electronic performance and tracking systems during matches. As well as collecting data on statistics like distance covered and heart rate to determine decisions like substitution timings, this also paves the way for wearable satellite devices that keep medical staff updated on the likelihood of a player picking up an injury from over-exertion.

Emerging injury-risk monitoring software uses the concepts of Big Data and wearable technology to pull in and apply mathematical formulas to an exhaustive range of relevant data about players: fitness levels, recent levels of exertion, opponents, age, technique, hydration, even weather. This could help medical staff predict the risk of future injuries with much greater accuracy, allowing them to run simulations and take corrective actions in real time. Imagine a seemingly non-injured key player being substituted during a tightly contested match, only to find out afterwards that monitoring software had indicated he was at a high risk of pulling a muscle. This could very much be a part of the future of professional football.

Going back to Jose Mourinho and his reaction to the Chelsea medical staff running onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard, it’s interesting to consider how in the future this kind of technology could either support or discredit his position in the dispute. It could help managers work more closely with physiotherapists, as they can visualize the data that shows the risk of injury to players. Although the pressure to win will likely keep on rising, the risk of expensive players injuries could see a big reduction.

SAP’s own injury risk monitoring software is currently in the proof-of-concept phase and will be entering development in the near future. The goal is to build IRM on the SAP Sports One platform as an additional component, and to provide integration to the existing modules of SAP Sports One solution. SAP Sports One was launched earlier this year and is the first sports-specific cloud solution powered by the SAP HANA platform, providing a single, unified platform for team management and performance optimization.

*Statistic calulated using 2015 Global Sports Salaries Survey

**Bleacher Report “Inside the 2014 Numbers of Each MLB Team’s Regular-Season Injury Impact” and NBA Injury Analysis


Mark Goad

About Mark Goad

Mark Goad is a Client Partner at SAP. His specialties include social media, digital marketing, analytics, strategy and management.


Big, Bad Data: How Talent Analytics Will Make It Work In HR

Meghan M Biro

Here’s a mind-blowing fact: Research from IBM shows that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. I find this fascinating.

Which means that companies have access to an unprecedented amount of information: insights, intelligence, trends, future-casting. In terms of HR, it’s a gold mine of Big Data.

This past spring, I welcomed the Industry Trends in Human Resources Technology and Service Delivery Survey, conducted by the Information Services Group (ISG), a leading technology insights, market intelligence, and advisory services company. It’s a useful study, particularly for leaders and talent managers, offering a clear glimpse of what companies investing in HR tech expect to gain from their investment.

Not surprisingly, there are three key benefits companies expect to realize from investments in HR tech:

• Improved user and candidate experience

• Access to ongoing innovation and best practices to support the business

• Speed of implementation to increase the value of technology to the organization.

It’s worth noting that driving the need for an improved user interface, access, and speed is the nature of the new talent surging into the workforce: people for whom technology is nearly as much a given as air. We grew up with technology, are completely comfortable with it, and not only expect it to be available, we assume it will be available, as well as easy to use and responsive to all their situations, with mobile and social components.

According to the ISG study, companies want HR tech to offer strategic alignment with their business. I view this as more about enabling flexibility in talent management, recruiting and retention — all of which are increasing in importance as Boomers retire, taking with them their deep base of knowledge and experience. And companies are looking more for the analytics end of the benefit spectrum. No surprise here that the delivery model will be through cloud-based SaaS solutions.

Companies also want:

• Data security

• Data privacy

• Integration with existing systems, both HR and general IT

• Customizability —to align with internal systems and processes.

Cloud-based. According to the ISG report, more than 50% of survey respondents have implemented or are implementing cloud-based SaaS systems. It’s easy, it’s more cost-effective than on-premise software, and it’s where the exciting innovation is happening.

Mobile/social. That’s a given. Any HCM tool must have a good mobile user experience, from well-designed mobile forms and ease of access to a secure interface.

They want it to have a simple, intuitive user interface – another given. Whether accessed via desktop or mobile, the solution must offer a single, unified, simple-to-use interface.

They want it to offer social collaboration tools, which is particularly key for the influx of Millenials coming into the workplace who expect to be able to collaborate via social channels. HR is no exception here. While challenging from a security and data protection angle, it’s a must.

But the final requirement the study reported is, in my mind, the most important: analytics and reporting. Management needs reporting to know their investment is paying off, and they also need robust analytics to keep ahead of trends within the workforce.

It’s not just a question of Big Data’s accessibility, or of sophisticated metrics, such as the key performance indicators (KPIs) that reveal the critical factors for success and measure progress made towards strategic goals. For organizations to realize the promise of Big Data, they must be able to cut through the noise and access the right analytics that will transform their companies for the better.

Given what companies are after, as shown in the ISG study, I predict that more and more companies are going to be recognizing the benefits of using integrated analytics for their talent management and workforce planning processes. Talent analytics creates a powerful, invaluable amalgam of data and metrics; it can identify the meaningful patterns within that data and metrics and, for whatever challenges and opportunities an organization faces, it will best inform the decision makers on the right tactics and strategies to move forward. It will take talent analytics to synthesize Big Data and metrics to make the key strategic management decisions in HR. Put another way, it’s not just the numbers, it’s how they’re crunched.

For more on the power of talent analytics, see Talent Analytics: Predicting HR’s Way Out Of The Fog.

Image source: Simonebrunozzi via Wikipedia