How Accurate Was John Appleby on HANA SPS08?

Executive Summary

  • John Appleby made bold predictions on HANA.
  • We review how accurate he was in his article HANA SPS08.


John Appleby’s article on the SAP HANA blog was titled SAP HANA SPS08: HANA grows up and was published on June 2, 2014.

The Quotations

Developments in HANA?

There was a time during HANA’s early years – 2011 through 2013 – where it was nearly a full time just to keep up with what was going on. The volume of new features was huge, HANA was doing amazing things that no other database could do, and we were scurrying just to keep up with technology.

HANA went through many changes, but this is because HANA was so lacking in features. In terms of doing amazing things now we know now that that was false. HANA cannot do things that other databases cannot do even in 2019. Appleby either lacked familiarity with the competing databases or was lying at the time he wrote this.

Time for HANA to Grow Up?

By comparison, I just read all the release notes, changes and new features in the SPS08 release, and I know what’s new within a few hours and how to apply it to our customers. What? SAP stopped innovating with HANA? It’s not so much that, but rather that it was time for HANA to grow up.

Why does HANA need to grow up? Appleby wrote several articles before this article and before SPS08 that stated everything in HANA worked perfectly.

Why Are MySQL or PostgreSQL Not SAP Supported?

This actually happened around November last year, when SAP released SPS07 of HANA. Only bug fixes were included in the patches of SPS07 and only 4 additional patches of SPS07 were released – compared to 12 in some other releases. The reason for this is because in May of last year, SAP released support for their Business Suite on HANA. Customers require their core processes to run on super-reliable databases – one of the reasons why Microsoft has struggled to get traction in the SAP market and why SAP does not support mySQL or PostgreSQL.

This is not true. There is no evidence that HANA outperforms SQL Server. PostgresSQL is a highly performant database. PostgresSQL has taken high performance and large scale customers from Oracle. MySQL is an incumbent database, but because it is owned by Oracle, it is no longer considered where leading development occurs. However, overall the true reason that SAP does not support these databases is that they can’t upcharge or markup open source databases as they can with commercial databases. It has zero to do with the technological capabilities of these databases or their ability to meet SAP’s requirements.

HANA Becoming More Solid?

So for the last 12 months I have watch HANA become more and more solid – no longer is she racing around the track on a sports bike – she has gone to college and got a job. HANA stands toe to toe on reliability with Oracle and IBM DB2. Mission critical functionality to provide business continuity solutions is in place. As a Global 200 company architect told me last week: “I thought HANA was quite new, but I’ve been to an advisory and seen that it is an enterprise class database”.

Why does HANA have to become more solid? According to Appleby’s previous articles customers are overjoyed at all of his accounts, and on the first day that HANA was introduced in 2011 it exceeded all other databases in all dimensions. It is very strange to read about progress in 2014, when HANA was already hailed by Appleby as better than any other database.

Who’s Money and Who’s Mouth?

And for me, with HANA SPS08, we have the fruit of that labor. I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is, because I have a customer going live in a few weeks and I have chosen this release. So far, there are no surprises, and this is a large enterprise class system with a total of 18 nodes of HANA.

First, it is not Appleby’s money, it is his client’s money. Appleby here is saying he is willing to gamble with his customer’s money. Unless Appleby is paying for the implementation, the explanation he is giving here does not exist. Certainly, Appleby wants to get experience with the most recent version of HANA, so he can then resell the experience. But he is not bearing the costs or the risks of this approach. This is the problem with consulting companies generally, they do not bear the risks of the high-risk implementations as they are (mostly) paid on a time and material basis.

As for there being no surprises….there are never any surprises in any of Appelby’s articles. HANA works every time and exceeds expectations.

Growth in Outsource Providers

With this timeline has come a bunch of related activities which reinforce what I’m saying. There are 20 new outsource providers for HANA. VMWare is now supported in production. RedHat Linux support is on its way. IBM POWER support is coming. Huge 12 and 24TB single servers are coming from the likes of Silicon Graphics.

Yes, during this time many providers were jumping into support HANA. Many thought that HANA would be a great money maker for them.

More Maturity

This is what we get in HANA SPS08 – instead of a load of new features, we get a refinement of what we had, more maturity, more support options, more partners. I believe this is exactly what customers wanted and whilst SAP needs to get back to innovating (that’s what HANA is all about after all), customers will repay SAP with increased adoption.

Again, HANA was supposedly mature and enterprise-ready before SPS08. This is a constant pattern with HANA where it is declared complete, and then later articles declare that is it finally mature.

Advice on Enjoying the Quiz

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This article scores a 3.5 out of 10 for accuracy. The article is correct on the new additions to SPS08, but the presentation of the status of HANA is misleading.

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