Introducing SAP HANA Cloud

Objectives
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.

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

Note
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.

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.

Note

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 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 two 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.

Note

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Caution
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:

  • 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.

Hybrid Landscapes

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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