Developing Applications Running on SAP BTP Using SAP HANA Cloud

Introduction to SAP HANA Cloud

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Introducing SAP HANA Cloud

What is SAP HANA Cloud?

What is SAP HANA Cloud?

SAP HANA Cloud is a fully managed, in-memory, cloud database as a service (DBaaS). It is the cloud-based data foundation for SAP Business Technology Platform. With SAP HANA Cloud you can create, run, and extend new and existing applications.

SAP HANA Cloud includes a number of software components. The core component is SAP HANA Database, but other components can be added at any time, such as a data lake.


SAP HANA Cloud is not a conversion of SAP HANA on-premise, modified to run in the cloud. It is a built-from-scratch cloud-native service.

SAP HANA Cloud offers almost all of the features of SAP HANA on-premise, and it includes some additional services not found in the on-premise version.

A customer running applications on SAP HANA on-premise can easily migrate their applications to run on SAP HANA Cloud.

SAP HANA Cloud Architecture

SAP HANA Cloud can be consumed by any SAP data warehouse, SAP business application or SAP Analytics application, as well as any third party applications.

Using built-in technologies, data can be physically replicated to SAP HANA Cloud in real-time or scheduled from any data source. SAP HANA Cloud can also access data remotely in real-time from any data source. Data can be sourced from any type of application, SAP and none SAP.

SAP HANA Cloud appeals to customers who would like to implement SAP HANA but who do not want to commit resources to the installation and running of SAP HANA on-premise. Also, they do not want to own or lease their own infrastructure (hardware, networks, and so on).

SAP HANA Cloud is run by SAP and its cloud hosting partners (hyperscalers) who take care of the provisioning. The customer simply consumes SAP HANA services as if it were a utility, just like electricity or water.

Key Components of SAP HANA Cloud

There are four key components of SAP HANA Cloud:

Key Components of SAP HANA Cloud

SAP HANA database is the core component that provides the in-memory database. As well as the database, there is are also tools to support the development of advanced data models that can be consumed by any analytical application.

SAP HANA Cloud, data lake is an optional component and provides a warm tier data layer. This means that very large data sets can be stored and queried directly, or accessed in real-time from SAP HANA database.

SAP HANA database, adaptive server enterprise is the cloud version of the on-premise database that was originally Sybase ASE. This component supports extreme-performance transactional applications that requires instant response over huge volumes of data. This component provides ASE on-premise customers with a migration path to the cloud and can be fully integrated with SAP HANA database for a seamless OLAP / OLTP solution.

SAP HANA database, adaptive server enterprise replication supports real-time data replication using log-based approach. This component ensures that all databases (cloud and on-premise) are in real-time sync.


SAP HANA Cloud components are named as follows: SAP HANA Cloud, <component-name>.

For example, SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database or SAP HANA Cloud, data lake.

SAP HANA Cloud Elastic Scale

SAP HANA Cloud can be deployed in a few minutes using a web browser. During deployment, choices are made relating to the size of computing powers (CPU) and data storage (memory and disk) and any additional cloud services that might be needed. These choices can be changed at any time.

SAP HANA Cloud elastic

One of the most appealing aspects of SAP HANA Cloud is its elasticity regarding compute and data storage. Customers can easily increase or decrease their compute and/or data storage using a simple interface.

The elasticity of SAP HANA Cloud is very appealing to SAP HANA on-premise customers who can use SAP HANA Cloud to provide additional, sometimes temporary, compute and storage resources to extend their on-premise landscape.

During deployment, you can choose the number of CPUs. This can be changed as compute-power demand increases or decreases.

Data Tiering Pryamid

Watch this video to learn about the SAP HANA Cloud storage.

SAP HANA Cloud storage

SAP HANA Cloud supports multi-temperature, data tiering.

Data that is access frequently and requires optimal performance is called hot data and is stored in the memory of the SAP HANA Cloud database. Data that does not require high performance is called warm data and is stored on disk. In SAP HANA Cloud, warm data is managed by a component called Native Storage Extension (NSE). NSE uses an intelligent caching mechanism that works closely with memory to determine how to keep the most popular data in memory - in other words how to upgrade the warm data temporarily to hot data while it is popular, remembering to bring it back to the warm tier when it is no longer popular. During deployment you can choose the size of the memory (for hot data) and also the disk storage (for warm data) of your SAP HANA database.

In addition to hot and warm data layers, during provisioning, you can also select an optional Data Lake. A Data Lake provides data storage for cold data. Cold data is also stored on disk but manages huge volumes of data compared to NSE, and at much lower cost. Just like hot and warm layers, even the cold layer allows not just reading data but also writing data. The data lake is ideal for managing very large amounts of data where performance does not need to be optimal. The data lake is fully integrated with the SAP HANA Cloud database using Smart Data Access (SDA) technology.

Note: SDA is the built-in technology of SAP HANA Cloud that manages fast, remote data access.

Beyond the data lake, you can also connect SAP HANA Cloud to any big data storage provider where read-only access is required. The benefits of using big data providers are unlimited data storage capacities at lower cost. But the downside to this approach is the decreasing performance, plus of course read-only access.

Interfaces of SAP HANA Cloud

  • Business Application Studio (BAS) - Used by developers to build and maintain applications. Developers include application coders and also data modelers. BAS includes graphical editors and text editors for development and also a command line interface so Linux commands can be executed. This a relatively new interface launched in 2020 and is SAP's next generation development tool that replaces Web IDE. Business Application Studio is based on Eclipse Theia and includes productivity aids such as code-completion, debuggers, templates etc. Business Application Studio is the recommended tool for developing Cloud Foundry applications.

  • Web IDE - The original interface used by developers to build applications. Just like Business Application Studio, Web IDE is used by application coders and also data modelers. Web IDE also includes some basic developer productivity aids. Web IDE was first developed for SAP HANA on-premise. Although Web IDE can be used with SAP HANA Cloud, it is recommended to use Business Application Studio.

  • Database Explorer - This is an interface that is used by developers and also administrators. The Database Explorer is used to explore the run-time objects of the database, for example, tables, views and stored procedures. It includes a built in SQL console where SQL statements can be executed against the database.

  • SAP HANA Cockpit - Used by administrators to monitor the platform, optimize performance, maintain security, and trace and analyze errors. This interface was originally developed for SPA HANA on-premise and uses a Fiori style interface design with tiles that provide KPI information at a glance.

For completeness, we should also mention two more interfaces that are used by administrators: SAP HANA Cloud Centralis used to create and monitor SAP HANA Cloud database instances. SAP BTP cockpit is used to manage global and subaccounts in SAP BTP.

Use Cases

Use Cases for SAP HANA Cloud

SAP HANA Cloud is central to SAP’s strategy of providing a next-generation digital platform that can power both existing and new applications, either on-premise or cloud or hybrid. These applications can be either SAP or non-SAP applications.

SAP HANA Cloud can be used in a large number of different IT scenarios. Let’s take a look at some examples of where SAP HANA Cloud can be used.

Watch this video to learn about the use cases for SAP HANA Cloud.

Use Cases for SAP HANA Cloud

There are many use cases and scenarios for SAP HANA Cloud. These include the following:

  • To provide the database for next generation applications that require super-fast performance on huge data volumes at scale.

  • To power data warehouses including SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and custom data warehouses. Also, to power analytics, including SAP Analytics Cloud, by connecting to, and coordinating distributed data into a single, consistent data model.

  • To extend the data storage and processing capacities of on-premise applications, for example when large numbers of new users are on-boarded.

  • To extend the functionality of existing SAP applications using cloud-based services.

SAP HANA Cloud in a Hybrid Landscape

Watch this video to know how SAP HANA Cloud can play a key role in a hybrid landscape.

SAP HANA Cloud in a Hybrid Landscape

SAP HANA Cloud can play a key role in a hybrid landscape. As customers move more of their applications to the cloud they often continue to run on-premise applications with their on-premise databases, side-by-side.

But rather than having two unconnected databases, SAP HANA Cloud and SAP HANA (on-premise) can be tightly connected to provide a hybrid set of data storage and processing services.

Data can be replicated between SAP HANA Cloud and SAP HANA (on-premise) and vice-versa, and in real-time or even batch. But replication is sometimes not needed, and virtualization (federation) is also possible both ways.

Some customers have begun to implement SAP HANA Cloud as a central hub where all data is connected form all kinds of applications. Some data sources provide data loads to SAP HANA Cloud, whereas some data sources provide a remote connection to live data. The benefit of this approach his that SAP HANA Cloud becomes the single source of data platform for all applications.

Many organizations choose to power their core, mission-critical applications using SAP HANA on-premise, and in parallel, consume SAP HANA Cloud services. This provides an agile platform for application extensions to the core to meet the ever-changing demands of the business. This hybrid approach means they get feature-stability from the core but are able to add innovative new features at anytime without disrupting the core applications.

SAP HANA Cloud Release Cycle

One of the key benefits of using a cloud solution is that new features are available much sooner than with on-premise solutions. Whereas a new release of an on-premise solution usually take place yearly or even bi-yearly, cloud solution updates take place more frequently, usually every few weeks.

For SAP HANA Cloud, currently, a new version is released every 3 months. This is known as the quarterly release cycle (QRC). The release code format is QRC QQ/YYYY.

Update Frequency

Customers can choose to upgrade once the new release is available, or they can delay the upgrade for a maximum of 7 months. After 7 months if a customer did not choose to upgrade then the upgrade is performed automatically. The automatic upgrade moves the customer to the next release after the one they were using, and not to the very latest release available.

SAP continually provide patches that address security and other high priority aspects of SAP HANA Cloud and these do not wait until the next QRC release.

The upgrade of SAP HANA Cloud highlights one of the biggest differences between SAP HANA Cloud and SAP HANA on- premise. Whereas the upgrade of SAP HANA Cloud on-premise requires a significant investment in resources and time, and includes many tasks, an SAP HANA Cloud upgrade is automated, very simple and is started from a single menu option controlled by the customer. All aspects of the upgrade are taken care of by the cloud provider.

Service Plans

When you provision an SAP HANA Cloud database, you choose a service plan to manage the database artifacts.

Choose a Service Plan

SAP HANA Cloud provides a choice of two service plans for managing database artifacts:

  • Schema service plan — Create all database artifacts directly to schemas using SQL. This run-time only option is the approach that has been used for many years with traditional databases and appeals to organizations that only need a database to power their applications and do not require design-time tooling to define the database artifacts as source files. You will manually define schemas to manage your database run-time objects.
  • HANA Deployment Infrastructure (HDI) Shared service plan — Provides a combined database design-time and run-time environment. Database developers, using this plan, define all database objects using source files. The source files are used to generate and deploy the run-time object to the containers. This plan provides tools for the full life-cycle development and deployment of database artifacts. With this plan you don't have to worry about schemas as these are invisible to the developer and managed by the HDI framework. This is known as schema-less development and provides a flexible re-deployment model as database artifacts are not hardwired to schemas.

A service plan will only be available to you if it was already added as a service entitlement which is done at the Business Technology Platform (BTP) global account level.

A service plan is chosen when you create a new Instance. An Instance belongs to a Space

You are not limited to one service plan and you can choose multiple service plans.

HDI should not be confused with XS Advanced. XS Advanced is a run-time that is not used by SAP HANA Cloud as it is not needed. SAP HANA Cloud uses Cloud Foundry and this provides similar application runtime concepts as provided by XS Advanced but is based on open standards that support multi-cloud developments.

SAP HANA Cloud vs. SAP HANA on-premise

Responsibilities of the Customer

SAP HANA was introduced in 2010 and at that time it was available only as an on-premise platform. The customer would provision their own hardware and would install the SAP HANA software themselves or with a partner. The customer would take care of the day-to-day running and on-going maintenance and upgrades.

In 2020 SAP launched SAP HANA Cloud which provides an easier to deploy version of SAP HANA. SAP HANA Cloud is run by SAP and its cloud partners who take care of all aspects of the operations of the platform.

Compared to on-premise, SAP HANA Cloud receives very frequent updates. There is a new release every quarter when new features are added. Whilst this might sound appealing to some customers who want to develop applications using the very latest technologies, this is not attractive to organizations who require a more feature-stable environment to run their mission-critical applications. Those customers would implement SAP HANA on-premise where they have complete control over the landscape and especially the timing of the updates.

Customer Responsibilities with SAP HANA Cloud vs. SAP HANA on-premise
Do not confuse SAP HANA Cloud with SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC). The latter is a private cloud deployment of SAP HANA and is not shared but is used only by one customer who pays for it and who has complete control over it. SAP HANA Cloud is a public cloud service shared by many customers who are its tenants.

Tools Comparison

Some tools that were introduced for SAP HANA on-premise are also used with SAP HANA Cloud. The main ones are:

  • SAP HANA Cockpit - for monitoring and administration tasks.
  • SAP HANA Database Explorer - for exploring the database and executing SQL statements.
  • SAP HANA Web IDE - application development, though this is replaced with Business Application Studio.

Tools that were introduced for SAP HANA Cloud:

  • Business Application Studio - application development, replaces SAP HANA Web IDE.

Feature Differences

SAP HANA Cloud compares very closely with SAP HANA on-premise in terms of features but there are some differences.

Because SAP HANA Cloud is a provisioned service, most system and database configuration settings that are available in SAP HANA on-premise are not visible to the customer in SAP HANA Cloud.

Key Feature Differences

Hybrid Landscapes

Hybrid Model

But it is not a case of choosing on-premise versus cloud. The majority of organizations already have a hybrid-cloud strategy which means they see value in having on-premise deployments integrated with cloud. Customers often choose to integrate SAP HANA Cloud with SAP HANA on-premise to take advantage of a powerful, hybrid deployment of SAP HANA that provides the benefits from both approaches.

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