HANA and SAP Big Data Equals Big Failure?

Executive Summary

  • 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.

Conclusion

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.

Brightwork Disclosure

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.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    This article is free, we do not answer questions for free. Filling out this form is for those that have a budget. If that describes you, just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch asap.

References

https://www.sap.com/products/hana.html

How to Understand SAP HANA and Hadoop

What This Article Covers

  • Hasso’s Summary on the Benefits of SAP HANA
  • HANA and Hadoop
  • SAP Hadoop, Hadoop SAP, SAP HANA Hadoop
  • How Much do You Know About HANA?
  • Our Work on HANA

Introduction

Some of the SAP Hadoop, Hadoop SAP or SAP HANA Hadoop commentary by SAP deserves from analysis. In this article, we will review a statement by SAP on Hadoop and what we think it means.

Hasso Plattner on Connecting HANA to Other Databases

“SAP HANA allows the access of other databases, e.g., SAP HANA Vora or Hadoop, which helps to integrate with IoT scenarios, or data for weather, geography, statistical information, without copying the data into the ERP system.  SAP just announced a host of innovations for SAP S/4 HANA in Barcelona, including the new logistics components, business planning and the reintegration of some sales management functions.”

Vora is a new SAP HANA related application that at this point very little is known about. SAP is communicating to its customers that it is up on the latest things but invoking Hadoop and IoT or the Internet of Things. Hadoop happens to be growing very rapidly, and Hadoop is a low-cost application. SAP HANA is a premium priced application. Therefore companies have Hadoop on the mind, and so Plattner is leveraging this fact as it is marketing SAP HANA.

Plattner uses the “HANA as part of a balanced breakfast” argument to sell SAP HANA. For those unfamiliar with this case, it is taken from breakfast cereal that while unhealthy, can be said to be healthy if it is part of other things. That is the item is not competing on its own merits but on the substance of what is connected to or used with. SAP HANA is not a worthy purchase because it can be attached to Vora or Hadoop or integrating to IoT. Any other database can connect to these things as well.

Let us discuss Hasso’s summary.

Hasso’s Summary

“SAP S/4 HANA is by far the best ERP system SAP has ever offered to the market. In combination  with the new customer-facing applications like those from hybris, the SaaS applications from Success Factors,  Ariba, Fieldglass, Concur and the Internet of Things projects with SAP HANA Vora,”

Interpretation

This quotation is mostly incorrect and is misleading. SAP is attempting to correlate their own competitive HANA product, with the highly successful Hadoop. Terms like SAP HANA Hadoop, Hadoop SAP and SAP Hadoop sound interesting, but Hadoop does not need HANA to add its value. Also contratry to what SAP proposes, HANA does not really have anything to do with Hadoop. Any database can be connected to any other database. But Hadoop is a high-value database that is growing rapidly. HANA is the opposite.

Any database can be connected to any other database. But Hadoop is a high-value database that is growing rapidly. HANA is the opposite.

Conclusions

There is not much to take away from this section of the paper by Hasso Plattner. The statements are not substantiated.

We give Hasso Plattner a 2.5 out of 10 for accuracy.

Brightwork Disclosure

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.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    This article is free, we do not answer questions for free. Filling out this form is for those that have a budget. If that describes you, just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch asap.

References

I cover how to interpret risk for IT projects in the following book.

The Risk Estimation Book

 

Software RiskRethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Better Managing Software Risk

The software implementation is risky business and success is not a certainty. But you can reduce risk with the strategies in this book. Undertaking software selection and implementation without approximating the project’s risk is a poor way to make decisions about either projects or software. But that’s the way many companies do business, even though 50 percent of IT implementations are deemed failures.

Finding What Works and What Doesn’t

In this book, you will review the strategies commonly used by most companies for mitigating software project risk–and learn why these plans don’t work–and then acquire practical and realistic strategies that will help you to maximize success on your software implementation.

Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 3: The Basics of Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 4: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
Chapter 5: Software Sell-ability versus Implementability
Chapter 6: Selecting the Right IT Consultant
Chapter 7: How to Use the Reports of Analysts Like Gartner
Chapter 8: How to Interpret Vendor-Provided Information to Reduce Project Risk
Chapter 9: Evaluating Implementation Preparedness
Chapter 10: Using TCO for Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Software Decisions’ Risk Component Model

Risk Estimation and Calculation

Risk Estimation and Calculation

See our free project risk estimators that are available per application. The provide a method of risk analysis that is not available from other sources.

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