As you may know, SAP HANA has been gaining a lot of attention from SAP communities lately.
The purpose of this short article is primarily to introduce the brief terminology, and hopefully to bring the clear meaning of HANA and its origin.  

SAP HANA, which is a modern platform for real-time analytics and applications, enables business operations with large volume in real time without delays. 
The word HANA has originated from “High-speed Analytical Appliance”.  HANA is currently getting a lot of attention from many major corporations across the world because of its promise of fast and real-time process mode. 

SAP HANA research has in fact begun in 2006 by SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner while he was a computer science professor at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany. The goal was to develop a database that could operate with a near-zero response time for transactional and analytical data processing.

The key difference of HANA from traditional database system is the HANA’s in-memory computing database infrastructure.  Traditional database systems were designed to perform well on computer systems with limited RAM (Random Access Memory) which also has slow disk I/O with focus on optimizing disk access.  Computer architecture has since changed in recent years and it now have multiple Core CPUs (multiple CPUs on one chip or in one package). This is becoming a standard now with faster communication between processor cores enabling parallel processing.  In this architecture, main memory is no longer limited resources, and modern servers can have 1 TB of system memory which would allow entire database to reside in RAM.  This will definitely improve performance bottleneck from disk I/O to the data transfer between CPU cache and Main Memory.

 HANA’s columnar-based data store is another unique difference from row-based data store of traditional data base system.  SAP HANA stores data in memory in a columnar format. The columnar format enables the product to deliver real-time or near-real-time transactions and analytics. The columnar format offers better access to data and processing of data compared to traditional, row-based memory.

 SAP S/4HNA is a new HANA product from SAP.  SAP S/4HANA is short for SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA, meaning that it is the SAP Business Suite 4th version, but designed to run only on SAP HANA. Moving to SAP S/4HANA would be very similar to the transition from the previous ERP versions, SAP R/2 to SAP R/3. 

 The current trend of HANA is progressing relatively fast, and many companies will soon face the situation to make decision of transition to future HANA environment and investment on HANA.  You will see many conferences and announcements of product releases of HANA from SAP.   

Please refer to SAP.COM site or site for more information about SAP HANA.


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