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SAP HANA Database & Performance Improvements

Enhancing System Operations

By
Dave Ducray
SAP HANA Database Improvements

How well are our organization supply chain applications performing? What are the best ways to continually improve all aspects of our systems’ performance? These questions are at the core of many CIO and IT Director initiatives.

The answer requires a combination, at bare minimum, of the following three factors:

  1. Optimizing hardware performance
  2. Making sure software systems are consistent with business requirements
  3. Providing functionality that meet and exceed business requirements through application component.

How well the CIO and IT teams deliver on these important tasks is a measure of their success and ultimately, the success of your organization. And it all starts with a deeper understanding of SAP - your single source of truth.

The SAP HANA (High-Performance Analytic Appliance) database was first released in June 2011 as an in-memory platform designed to process large volumes of data quickly and efficiently. The objective was to enable users with direct access to detailed, real-time data and analytics. Let’s look at eight (8) well documented areas in the SAP HANA database that focus on critical database and system requirements and how well they can help you achieve your goals and the success of your organization.

  1. In-Memory Computing
    SAP HANA stores data in random access memory (RAM) to enable faster data access and processing. Through this in-memory computing capabilities, organizations can take advantage of significant performance improvements and manage complex queries and data analyses in real-time. The HANA database is designed to run the entire database ‘in memory”  or in RAM as opposed to accessing data off disk storage.

    Traditional disk storage comes with a disadvantage: disk storage needs mechanical components to read and write data to the storage medium. Accessing data required a physical movement – until now.
  2. Columnar Storage
    The SAP HANA database replaces the traditional Relational Data Base Management System (RDATABASEMS) that revolutionized systems by enabling client server architecture (in the previous century!). This antiquated storage has been replaced with a columnar storage format, which organizes data in columns rather than rows. Its primary advantage is better data compression that leads to selective data retrieval, improving query performance and reducing disk space requirements.
  3. Parallel Processing
    The scalable HANA database leverages multi-core processors and parallel processing techniques to distribute data processing tasks across multiple nodes. As a result, it can better handle system growth and lead to faster data processing and improved scalability.

    Each multi-core processor can be designed to handle tasks independently of other related tasks, reducing the system load on a single processor during peak periods of operation. This parallel processing is available on many other database platforms, so it is not unique to the HANA database. What is unique is the HANA database was specifically designed to take advantage of multi-core processing in distributed computing environments.
  4. Advanced Analytics
    SAP HANA advanced analytics is a feature of the HANA database and is available to any software component (including S/4HANA software) running on its database.

    These built-in advanced analytics capabilities include predictive analytics and geo spatial processing. Through predictive analytics models, it becomes possible to forecast future trends and identify patterns. Another feature, Geospatial Processing, allows analysis of spatial data - such as maps, coordinates and geographical information to support location-based planning. Organizations can expect to gain greater valuable insights from their data and make better informed data-driven decisions with this improvement.
  5. Real-Time Data Replication
    SAP HANA supports real-time data replication from a multitude of sources, providing up-to-date data for analysis and reporting without the need for complex ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes. Real-time data replication keeps data synchronized and current across various systems. As a result, HANA data is continually refreshed and consistent with source system data. Because of this real-time data replication function, HANA supports system replication, which provides a complete backup if a full system recovery is needed.
  6. Integrated Development Environment
    The SAP HANA Cockpit is a web-based administration tool for managing HANA system health and security. The Web Based Development Workbench offers an integrated development environment, allowing developers to create and deploy custom applications directly on the platform Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP Workbench).
  7. Support for SAP Applications
    SAP HANA is the underlying database platform for all of SAP's latest generation of ERP software, enabling business to leverage the benefits of in-memory computing and real-time processing in their SAP applications.
  8.  S/4HANA Software Applications Designed Specifically to Run on the HANA Database
    SAP HANA's in-memory computing, advanced analytics capabilities, and real-time data processing make it a powerful and versatile database platform that empowers businesses to gain valuable insights, make faster decisions, and improve overall performance across various use cases.

In the past, database performance was not a major concern for many organizations. That is, until database systems became the backbone of business operations. As database systems have become more critical, database performance has become a significant challenge. This challenge is also facing organizations with SAP implementations because many companies are now using database systems that were designed for on-premises installations.

With SAP HANA, however, performance issues are a thing of the past. Performance is everything when it comes to database systems. Any time database systems run on the same hardware as other business systems, there exists the potential for database contention. The contention comes at the database layer, and can lead to performance degradation for other business system workloads. This can also impact overall system availability. This issue typically came at the interface between database systems and the rest of the business, but now SAP has come up with a solution that is completely different from any database system that’s come before it.

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