- SAP has promoted HANA as connected to Hadoop and Big Data, however, this is untrue.
- SAP would like to “piggyback” on Hadoop, but Big Data does not need HANA.
Introduction to the HANA and Big Data Reality
SAP has been proposing HANA for a new purpose, namely to serve as the database for the customer’s SAP Big Data.
Is HANA a good choice for Big Data? That is it time for SAP Big Data? In this article, you will learn the issues with using HANA for this purpose. And why SAP wants customers to very strongly associate HANA with Big Data.
SAP’s Strategy with Discounting HANA
For the longest time, the policy on HANA was not to discount HANA. This topic is covered in the article How SAP is Now Discounting HANA (Maybe). For the longest time, HANA was targeted towards smaller databases. SAP has been falsely proposing that HANA could shrink the data footprint by 98.5%. This has turned out to be false, as the actual shrinkage is closer to 1/3. This topic is covered in the article How to Best Understand the Price of HANA.
However, with SAP’s recent change to discounting HANA (depending upon whether it decides to drop an indirect access claim on the customer later, as covered in the article the HANA Police and Indirect Access Charges), it has meant that SAP has begun proposing HANA to used in new applications.
Indirect access claim leads to the selection of HANA for Big Data, but this has a high likelihood of leading eventually to project failure. There are quite a few reasons why HANA is not a good choice for being within a Big Data architecture.
What is HANA?
HANA is two things.
- A column-oriented database design.
- An in-memory database that uses SSD and RAM to store the database. With HANA the entire database must be loaded into memory, and spinning disks can only be used for archival.
HANA is optimized for analytics. Its expense can be justified under very limited scenarios — all to do with high query or read access to the database. Although, HANA is not the best database on the market for even this limited type of processing.
Furthermore, Big Data is about using managing massive amounts of unstructured data. That is not all that inconsistent with SAP’s messaging, because SAP’s solution design for HANA is to use HANA with another database that does specialize in unstructured data, called Hadoop. Hadoop, which is an open-sourced database which is the best-known name in Big Data. However, this design is strange. It means extracting data from Hadoop (unstructured) and placing it into column-oriented tables. It is not clear why this is a desirable design, but SAP seeks to frequently skip these details, preferring to simply focus on HANA’s speed benefits.
HANA’s High TCO
- HANA is a very expensive database, both regarding the initial purchase price and regarding the estimated TCO.
- Brightwork has not yet completed a TCO study for HANA, but all of the standard cost inputs to the TCO calculation are high.
- You can see Brightwork’s online TCO calculators at this link.
We have more experience calculating TCO than any other entity, and we performed an analysis of all available TCO research before we created our calculators and as exploratory research for the book Enterprise Software TCO: Using Total Cost of Ownership for Enterprise Decision Making.
HANA is simply far too expensive and is not designed to store unstructured data. HANA is designed to store data in a column-oriented table, which is structured.
SAP Big Data & SAP Hadoop?
The big name in Big Data isn’t SAP; it is Hadoop. Hadoop is an open source database and is not controlled by any company. SAP has tried to promote HANA being used through a connector called Vora to Hadoop; it is unclear what HANA is adding to this “mix of ingredients.”
Companies that have been successful with Hadoop have not used HANA, so what SAP is doing is essentially bandwagoning onto Hadoop’s success.
- Hadoop has one of the best value propositions in the database space.
- Hadoop is growing very rapidly.
Even still it is now a common search term to look for SAP Hadoop? But really how much does SAP have to do with Hadoop?
Force Fitting HANA into the Big Data Trend
SAP is force fitting HANA into the Big Data trend that SAP does not logically have much to do with. SAP Big Data is simply not yet a “thing.” And technically exporting data from Hadoop to HANA for fast queries does not seem to make any sense.
However, we have observed this pattern of co-option many times.
Co-option is where SAP essentially pretends to be involved in something or pretends to have an offering in an area where it really doesn’t. A perfect example of this is IoT and is covered in the article Why SAP’s Leonardo Seems to Fake.
This is just another example of SAP attempting to broaden out HANA into applications that it is simply not a very good fit. Using HANA when it is not a good fit means accepting both very high costs and a high probability of failure.
Financial Bias Disclosure
This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.