Modeling in SAP HANA Cloud

Introducing SAP HANA Cloud

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe SAP HANA Cloud

SAP Business Technology Platform

Before we begin to explore SAP HANA Cloud, we should first describe how this cloud service fits into the broader context of The Intelligent Enterprise.

The intelligent enterprise is a holistic approach that integrates the most advanced technology with business processes to deliver significant business value. The key driver in the intelligent enterprise is data. Intelligent enterprises develop and implement data-driven applications to power their business.

The intelligent enterprise includes software and services that combine cloud with on-premise solutions.

Watch this video to learn about the Intelligent Enterprise.

The Intelligent Enterprise

To support the intelligent enterprise, SAP and its partners provide software and services that are highly integrated.

The intelligent enterprise can be described in layers:

  • Business Processes : Activities and functions of a business.
  • Applications : ERP suite (S/4HANA) with integrated, vertical LOB cloud solutions that support the business processes.
  • Technology: The Business Technology Platform provides the technology layer to support the applications. This is where SAP HANA is positioned.
  • Infrastructure: Cloud hosting partners or SAP Data Centres that ensure all software and support is available at all times.

Watch this video to learn about the SAP Business Technology Platform.

SAP Business Technology Platform

The SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) provides all software components, cloud and on-premise, that make up the complete, technical infrastructure to support all applications.

SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) is the platform and set of tools and products that enable you to integrate and extend all SAP and third-party applications and data assets. SAP BTP encompasses database/data management, analytics, application development/integration, as well as support for intelligent technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

The platform offers users the ability to turn data into business value, compose end-to-end business processes, and build and extend SAP applications quickly.

It might help to think of SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) as the next generation SAP NetWeaver platform that combines SAP and open-source technologies, to develop and run data-driven applications. Remember, BTP is not just for cloud but supports hybrid (on-premise / cloud) deployments.
Examples of Components of SAP Business Technology Platform

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.

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 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.

Simplified Data Models and Applications

Traditional Applications vs. Simplified Applications with SAP HANA Cloud

Watch this video to understand the differences between traditional applications and simplified applications with SAP HANA Cloud.

A traditional data model built on legacy technology is often complex and includes workaround solutions to overcome performance problems. This adds complexity to the application code which runs on the data model because code has to be developed to maintain these workaround solutions. Up to 70% of application code is built specifically to support performance of an application and adds no value to the core business functionality.

A complex data model and complex application code means that integration with other applications, and enhancements, are difficult. These applications are simply not agile enough to keep pace with a modern fast-moving business environment.

In SAP HANA Cloud we have a simplified data model and this means simplified application code. It is now much easier to enhance the applications and integrate additional functions.

Traditional Applications

Watch this video to learn about simplified data models and applications.

Simplified Data Models and Applications

Traditional applications were built on a hierarchical data model. Detailed data was summarized into higher level layers of aggregates to help system performance. On top of aggregates, we built more aggregates and special versions of the database tables to support special applications. As well as storing the extra copies of data, we also had to build application code to maintain extra tables and keep it up to date. A backup to these extra tables was also required, so even the IT operations were impacted.

In addition to aggregates, we have another inefficiency that we need to remove. Additional database indexes improve access speed as they are based on frequently used access paths to the data. However, additional indexes need to be constantly dropped and rebuilt each time the tables are updated. So again, more code is needed to manage this process.

Using the power of SAP HANA Cloud, you can aggregate on the fly from any line item table. You do not need pre-built aggregates. SAP HANA Cloud can generate any view of the data at run-time from the core source tables.

SAP HANA Cloud organizes data using column stores, which means that indexes are usually not needed. They can still be created but typically offer little improvement.

As well as removing the aggregates and indexes from the database you can also remove huge amounts of application code that manages the aggregates and indexes.

So, then you are left with a simplified core data model as well as simplified application code with a smaller footprint.

It is now much easier to enhance the applications and integrate additional functions.

Move Calculations to the Data

Old Way - Application Handles the Data Processing

In the past, the role of the database was to take care of all data-related instructions sent from the application. These instructions could be any of the following:

  • Create data

  • Read data

  • Update data

  • Delete data

These requests were usually simple and required little or no actual processing or calculating of the data. For example, in the case of a read request, the database would hand over the raw data to the application layer which would take care of the calculations performed on it. The actions in the database were only to fetch large chunks of data, or write large chunks of data, and so on. However, SAP HANA Cloud database is much more than just a database, it is an in-memory data processing platform and can not only handle the basic database actions but also the complex calculation tasks too.

These processing tasks can include the following:

  • Aggregate and disaggregate data

  • Filter, sort and rank data

  • Combine data sources with intersection, unions and joins

  • Calculate new values from data

  • Generate forecasts

  • Convert data (for example, currency, unit of measure)

  • Cleanse data

  • Re-structure data

New Way - Database Handles the Data Processing

An application should send all data instructions, whether simple or complex, to SAP HANA Cloud database. SAP HANA Cloud database processes the data in memory and sends back only the results ot the application.

Push-Down Processing to SAP HANA

For example, consider the following request sent by the application to SAP HANA Cloud database: Summarize the last 5 years’ sales of yellow widgets by region and year, and calculate the net value after discounts are applied, instead of sending millions of rows of data from the database to the application layer, SAP HANA Cloud database processes the data request and sends back only the results to the application layer. This means a huge reduction in data volume being passed from the database to the application server. As well as this benefit, all data processing is performed in memory by SAP HANA Cloud database where the data resides, so performance is very high.

Moving the data processing tasks from the application layer to the database layer is referred to as push-down. Applying a push-down approach means that application developers need to re-think the way they code. In the past, all coding relating to data calculations was done in the application layer. For example, an ABAP developer would fetch all records from the database into internal tables of the ABAP server and would then write code to loop through the records in the internal table. But now with SAP HANA Cloud database, large parts of the coding can be developed directly in the database. The language used by developers in the SAP HANA Cloud database is an enhanced version of SQL called SQLScript. SQLScript provides developers with language to develop sophisticated views and to write stored procedures and functions that can be called from their application code, passing parameters.

One Data Set for All Applications

One Data Set Shared by All Applications

A key objective of SAP HANA Cloud database is to remove all data redundancy. This means that only one copy of data should exist and this data should be accessible by all applications.

One Data Set for All Applications

There are a number of features of SAP HANA Cloud that make it possible for one data set to be shared by all applications including:

  • Hybrid data models - SAP HANA Cloud handles both transactional and analytical processing by supporting different data models such as relational (for transactional apps) and dimensional (for analytical apps)
  • In-memory column store database - provides exceptional performance even for applications that have demanding data processing needs
  • Data Connectivity - SAP HANA Cloud can connect to any data source, anywhere, cloud or on-premise.
  • Huge Storage - Some applications requires access to a lot of data, perhaps related to history. SAP HANA Cloud supports access to data lakes that can hold infinite amounts of data.

Bringing Analytical and Transactional Processing Back Together

Let's see how SAP HANA Cloud brings transactional and analytical requirements into one platform.

Bringing Analytics and Transaction Processing Back Together

Traditionally, applications were powered by their own dedicated platforms. In order to share data between applications, data would need to be transferred, often through complex middleware and software to clean and restructure data. This lead to latency, silos of data and of course, complexity. A better approach is to have all applications powered by one high performance platform. This means a common architecture with only one data management solution where all data is available to all applications in real time. Then there is no more unnecessary data movement or management of multiple data stores and no more complex platform-to-platform architecture with high maintenance interfaces.

In many business landscapes today, transactions are managed in systems where both the hardware architecture, database design and the data models are built around fast read/write processing at the record level. Analysis systems take on a different design approach. The hardware, database, and data models are built around batch loading, aggregated storage, and a focus on read-intensive queries and caching. That is why online transaction systems (OLTP) and online analytical processing systems (OLAP) are often separated and linked through interfaces through which data is lifted and shifted periodically. This approach means delays in analysis on the transactional data. It is not unusual to have to wait the next day before analysis can begin on the transactional data.

SAP HANA Cloud is able to bring transactional and analysis requirements into one platform. The acronym for this type of consolidated system is Hybrid Transaction/Analytical Processing (HTAP).

The database and data model of SAP HANA Cloud are built to handle combined transactional and analysis processing. No movement of data is necessary from a transaction system to an analytical system as transactional and analytical users work from the same, single copy of the data. This means we have live data available to all applications in real time. This reduces the complexity by removing the need to move data using separate software and interfaces. It also means that new innovative applications can be built that combine transactions and analytics.

Here is an example: An employee vacation booking system analyzes the forecast of peak workloads based on real-time customer orders and blocks out the days that can be taken as vacation when all staff are needed on the shop floor. In the past, two separate applications would need to have been built on separate platforms: One for analysis and another to execute the transaction. This new approach has revolutionized the way applications are built and the line between analysis and transaction application has become blurred.

Access Any Type of Data Anywhere

In today’s digital world, there are many types of data.

As well as the traditional business data of structured records, we also have the following new data types:

  • Spatial Data

    This is data that relates to locality, maps, engineering diagrams, floor plans, and so on.

  • Graph Data

    This is data that relates to highly networked entities such as social networks, supply chains, and so on.

Access Any Type of Data

SAP HANA Cloud can process all types of data and also combine them in new and innovative data models that power new applications.

SAP HANA Cloud can also access data from any type of source, including the following:

  • Enterprise Systems

    SAP S/4HANA is an example of an enterprise system.

  • Data Warehouses

    BW is an example of a data warehouse.

  • Archives

    SAP HANA Cloud can create an online connection to remote archives.

  • Big Data

    Apache Hadoop is an example of Big Data.

  • File Stores

    XL, CSV, and XML are examples of file stores.

  • Databases

    This includes any relational database.

  • Social Networks

    Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are examples of social networks.

SAP HANA Cloud can also access remote data without loading the data to its database. This means a live view of remotely stored data is always possible.

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