IBM Finally Fighting Back Against HANA

Executive Summary

  • IBM has been tolerating SAP’s false statements around HANA for several years, most likely promoted by its SAP consulting practice not to fight back.
  • IBM funded a realistic analysis of HANA by Bloor Research.
  • SAP greatly oversimplifies how database memory is optimized.

Video Introduction: IBM Finally Fighting Back Against HANA

Text Introduction (Skip if You Watched the Video)

After many years of SAP saying pretty much anything that it wanted without Oracle, IBM, or Microsoft saying very much (outside of Larry Ellison), in June 2017, IBM and Oracle began to fight back publicly due to the longstanding partnerships between SAP and these companies. This pushback will lead to HANA’s further decline as the HANA competitors have held back due to partnerships with SAP that they preferred for years not to unsettle. See our analysis of IBM’s anti-HANA slides that it recently released.

Our References for This Article

If you want to see our references for this article and other related Brightwork articles, see this link.

Notice of Lack of Financial Bias: We have no financial ties to SAP or any other entity mentioned in this article.

  • This is published by a research entity, not some lowbrow entity that is part of the SAP ecosystem. 
  • Second, no one paid for this article to be written, and it is not pretending to inform you while being rigged to sell you software or consulting services. Unlike nearly every other article you will find from Google on this topic, it has had no input from any company's marketing or sales department. As you are reading this article, consider how rare this is. The vast majority of information on the Internet on SAP is provided by SAP, which is filled with false claims and sleazy consulting companies and SAP consultants who will tell any lie for personal benefit. Furthermore, SAP pays off all IT analysts -- who have the same concern for accuracy as SAP. Not one of these entities will disclose their pro-SAP financial bias to their readers. 

IBM Slides

HANA Equals Complexity, Cost & Disruption?

All three of these items are true and are covered by Brightwork in various articles.

SAP’s Oversimplification of How Database Memory is Optimally Used

When SAP introduced HANA, it came out with a very oversimplified explanation of how it worked and how databases use memory. They had created a true innovation in SAP’s statement because the entire database was loaded into memory.

However, very few of a database’s tables are typically operated upon at one time. Therefore, moving all the tables into memory, a prime selling point of HANA is quite wasteful. And SAP’s database concepts lag other vendors because SAP is new at databases.

SAP HANA Performance?

SAP will not allow a true competition between DB2 Blu, SQL Server, and Oracle 12c. The reason is that SAP wants to sell HANA, as is covered in the article What is the Actual Performance of HANA?

Brightwork has performed some of the most independent research on HANA. And in our view, it is unlikely that HANA can compete in performance with the competition, that SAP has been saying it is so much better than. It also cannot compete regarding maintenance overhead.

SAP HANA The Right Choice for Big Data & IoT?

This is true. IBM is underplaying its hand in this slide. But SAP intends to use HANA to lock in its customers. This is covered in the article The HANA Police and Indirect Access Charges. SAP is a problematic vendor and fits many new areas, such as Big Data and IoT, as these areas are based upon open standards.

IBM & Bloor’s HANA White Paper

While IBM funds this paper, it received one of Brightwork’s highest accuracy level estimates at 9.5. Customers should read this white paper, and Philip Howard did an excellent job writing it. We covered in the article How to Best Understand Bloor Research’s Article on HANA.


For the first time publicly, at least, IBM is pushing back on HANA. SAP exaggerated HANA’s benefits, as is covered in the article When Articles Exaggerate the Benefits of HANA. SAP’s complaint surrogate network of consulting companies also repeated false information from SAP to their clients. SAP consultants who do not work for SAP have been exaggerating HANA’s benefits without having any evidence or understanding HANA or having the first-hand experience on projects where HANA was implemented. That is, they have been repeating falsehoods presented to them by SAP.

SAP expected that IBM and Oracle should be quiet about HANA and value their partnership sufficiently so that SAP would be allowed to bring in an inferior solution and market it as superior to IBM and Oracle’s RDBMS offering.

IBM apparently finally had enough.