How to Interpret SAP’s 2019 HANA for Cloud Announcement

Executive Summary

  • SAP made an announcement about making HANA “cloud-native.”
  • We provide our analysis for what this means.

Introduction

At SAP’s TechEd announced that its HANA database had been re-architected for the cloud. This was covered by ZDNet.

Beneath those headlines was a very significant development, of SAP re-architecting HANA for its new managed cloud database service to become what it terms “cloud-native.” By that, they are speaking of a separation of storage from compute and embrace of Kubernetes, the combination of which will enable elasticity and quick start, stop, and resizing of cloud services. – ZDNet

Accomplishing in the Cloud What AWS and Azure Have Not Been Able To?

This was analyzed in the following quote by Christian Kaul.

AWS and Azure have so far not been able to rewrite their cloud data warehouse offerings in this way. But I am sure SAP has managed it, given their extensive database and cloud expertise. Neither Redshift nor the Azure version of SQL Server PDW (Parallel Data Warehouse) can scale storage and compute in a cloud-native way.

Snowflake and Google BigQuery can but they have been designed for the cloud and only for the cloud.

Also, which version of HANA did they make cloud-native? I thought native meant born somewhere.

Correct.

HANA is not cloud-native, it is on-premises native. It is being “re-architected” for the cloud, which means it is not cloud-native. If it were, it would not require re-architecting. For example I was born in California. I can’t be “re-architected” to be a native-born Papua New Guinean. I can apply to live in Papua New Guinea. I can perhaps with effort become a citizen, but I can never be a native Papua New Guinean.

Native has a specific meaning.

In another post, we’ll devote a further airing on what’s meant by “cloud-native” data platform as the term is being applied so broadly these days that the definition is in the eye of the beholder. For now, we’ll refer to it as denoting a data platform that exploits the elasticity (use and pay only for the compute that you use) and horizontal scale of the cloud. – ZDNet

Let us help out ZDNet. Cloud-native means developed for the cloud. It is not subjective or in

“the eye of the beholder.”

Secondly, developing for the cloud means exploiting elasticity, but just because SAP announces something does not mean they have mastered it. This is something ZDNet (owned by CBS Interactive) might be more willing to emphasize if they did not receive income from SAP. ZDNet makes zero effort to compare SAP’s history versus the reality, and of course they are being paid not to. They simply accept whatever they are told by SAP. Notice this in the following quote.

By that definition, SAP HANA is just the latest database to exploit a cloud-native architecture. For instance, other platforms such as Amazon Aurora, Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB, and Google Cloud Spanner also exploit the scale of the cloud. – ZDNet

Again, according to ZDNet, SAP does not have to actually provide evidence, they simply have to make the announcement, and ZDNet immediately associates SAP’s product right along with products that are truly cloud-native, such as Google Cloud Spanner and Amazon Arora.

And the list goes on. Oracle Exadata in the cloud also exploits an abstracted storage/compute architecture to support elasticity. – ZDNet

No this is false.

Exadata is not cloud. Oracle calls Exadata “cloud in a box,” but that is inaccurate marketing hyperbole and part of Oracle’s pattern of slapping the “cloud sticker” on anything they have.

Exadata is a customized database appliance that is an on-premises server. We cover this in the article How to Understand Exadata and Exadata Cloud Services.

Back to our main train of thought, we think that as the data pillar of SAP’s next-generation enterprise application portfolio, including S/4HANA and C/4HANA, rearchitecting HANA for the cloud presents some unique possibilities. – ZDNet

No, this is also false.

S/4HANA is barely implemented in the cloud, and C/4HANA will not exist for years as we cover in the article How Accurate Was Bluefin Solutions on C4HANA?

Rearchitecting HANA for the cloud may present unique possibilities, but again, ZDNet is assuming that the announcement is true and that it works. There is no reason (when not paid by SAP that is) to assume either of these things without first seeing the evidence.

Pay As You Go Licensing and Change The Way We Run and Pay for Enterprise Applications?

And combined with phasing in of pay-as-you-go licensing, which will simplify pricing and offer more economical options for running HANA and its sister services in the cloud, the result could lower barriers to adoption. It could change the very architecture and the way we run and pay for enterprise applications. – ZDNet

Once again, ZDNet assumes because SAP says they will do something they say they will. SAP has been promising more transparency in pricing for at least a decade, and it has yet to arrive in anything but around the fringes. SAP has been continually promising to make it is licensing more cloud-like in press releases while doing nothing to make them more transparent or cloud like in reality. This is part of their commitment to cloud washing.

None of SAP’s cloud offerings, even the S/4HANA Cloud are month to month. They are all at least yearly in commitment. SAP is a vendor that sells on-premises software under on-premises and highly restrictive terms and conditions while promising that it offers the flexibility of AWS.

SaaS Providers to Change Their Underlying Data Platform?

It stands to reason that if the underlying data platform is re-engineered to support elasticity, why shouldn’t the application tier? It provides the opportunity for SAP (and others) to rethink their SaaS enterprise application portfolios to provide the ability to ramp up and down compute for specific business processes, or modules. – ZDNet

SAP actually means SaaS providers or cloud service providers. Increasingly SaaS providers don’t run their own infrastructure, it is the cloud service providers. SaaS providers are just a dev team and marketing team at this point.

Brightwork Research & Analysis is a SaaS provider with our Brightwork Explorer application for forecast error measurement and MRP parameter optimization, but we don’t have any servers. We don’t have to make any adjustments — AWS or GCP make the adjustments.

HANA on AWS Marketing Gimmick?

You know, HANA is the most popular item in terms of instances available on AWS.

But my hypothesis is that its really just for marketing. SAP does not want companies running HANA on AWS, because then they can’t upcharge them the same way as we cover in the article How to Understand SAP’s Upcharge as a Service Cloud. SAP wants them using a corrupt private cloud entity (a CPCE) they can control. Therefore, I view the HANA instances on AWS as a marketing gimmick.

How SAP’s Story Falls Apart for the Public Cloud

The announcement is directed towards the public cloud providers. However, this is not a market SAP has much to do with.

For years SAP proposed that using AWS or GCP was a “race to the bottom” (Steve Lucas as covered in the article Diginomica, Steve Lucas on HANA, Oracle, IBM, AWS, Azure. Only later did they change this narrative with their multicloud announcement as we covered in the article How to Best Understand SAP’s MultiCloud Announcement.

SAP has virtually (and outside of its declining SaaS acquisitions) nothing to do with the cloud. Most of SAP’s applications can’t function in a private cloud environment.

SAP’s only hope to attain what McDermott proposed as margins from the cloud is to keep pushing the CPCEs, which aren’t cloud but are hosting. It is not multi-tenant and there are no economies of scale versus the public cloud. Rather, it is just on-premises but in different geographies. Basically they are moving the server location from the IT department location to the hosting location.

Without those short term massive margins off CPCE, Elliott Management (who is currently pressuring SAP to further increase margins) won’t be happy, and SAP’s cloud margin dream can’t come true.

Conclusion

It is amazing. HANA as fallen on its face in nearly every dimension — and that is just backward engineering other databases — and yet they continue to make new announcements. HANA should be called the Chinese knock off database as we cover in the article Did SAP Just Reinvent the Wheel with HANA? And SAP always has IT media entities that will carry their message, and pretend they are engaging in journalism.

SAP’s Inaccurate Messaging on HANA as Communicated in SAP Videos

Fact-Checking SAP’s HANA Information

This video is filled with extensive falsehoods. We will address them in the sequence they are stated in this video.

SAP Video Accuracy Measurement

SAP's Statement
Accuracy
Brightwork Fact Check
Link to Analysis Article
HANA is a Platform
0%
HANA is not a platform, it is a database.How to Deflect You Were Wrong About HANA
HANA runs more "in-memory" than other databases.
10%
HANA uses a lot of memory, but the entire database is not loaded into memory.How to Understand the In-Memory Myth
S/4HANA Simplifies the Data Model
0%
HANA does not simplify the data model from ECC. There are significant questions as to the benefit of the S/4HANA data model over ECC.Does HANA Have a Simplified Data Model?
Databases that are not HANA are legacy.
0%
There is zero basis for SAP to call all databases that are not HANA legacy.SAP Calling All Non-HANA DBs Legacy.
Aggregates should be removed and replaced with real time recalculation.
0%
Aggregates are very valuable, and all RDBMS have them (including HANA) and they should not be removed or minimized in importance.Is Hasso Plattner Correct on Database Aggregates?
Reducing the number of tables reduces database complexity.
0%
Reducing the number of tables does not necessarily decrease the complexity of a database. The fewer tables in HANA are more complicated than the larger number of tables pre-HANA.Why Pressure SAP to Port S/4HANA to AnyDB?
HANA is 100% columnar tables.
0%
HANA does not run entirely with columnar tables. HANA has many row-oriented tables, as much as 1/3 of the database.Why Pressure SAP to Port S/4HANA to AnyDB?
S/4HANA eliminates reconciliation.
0%
S/4HANA does not eliminate reconciliation or reduce the time to perform reconciliation to any significant degree.Does HANA Have a Simplified Data Model and Faster Reconciliation?
HANA outperforms all other databases.
0%
Our research shows that not only can competing databases do more than HANA, but they are also a better fit for ERP systems.How to Understand the Mismatch Between HANA and S/4HANA and ECC.

The Problem: A Lack of Fact-Checking of HANA

There are two fundamental problems around HANA. The first is the exaggeration of HANA, which means that companies that purchased HANA end up getting far less than they were promised. The second is that the SAP consulting companies simply repeat whatever SAP says. This means that on virtually all accounts there is no independent entity that can contradict statements by SAP.

Being Part of the Solution: What to Do About HANA

We can provide feedback from multiple HANA accounts that provide realistic information around HANA — and this reduces the dependence on biased entities like SAP and all of the large SAP consulting firms that parrot what SAP says. We offer fact-checking services that are entirely research-based and that can stop inaccurate information dead in its tracks. SAP and the consulting firms rely on providing information without any fact-checking entity to contradict the information they provide. This is how companies end up paying for a database which is exorbitantly priced, exorbitantly expensive to implement and exorbitantly expensive to maintain. When SAP or their consulting firm are asked to explain these discrepancies, we have found that they further lie to the customer/client and often turn the issue around on the account, as we covered in the article How SAP Will Gaslight You When Their Software Does Not Work as Promised.

If you need independent advice and fact-checking that is outside of the SAP and SAP consulting system, reach out to us with the form below or with the messenger to the bottom right of the page.

The major problem with companies that bought HANA is that they made the investment without seeking any entity independent of SAP. SAP does not pay Gartner and Forrester the amount of money that they do so these entities can be independent as we covered in the article How Accurate Was The Forrester HANA TCO Study?

If you need independent advice and fact-checking that is outside of the SAP and SAP consulting system, reach out to us with the form below or with the messenger to the bottom right of the page.

Inaccurate Messaging on HANA as Communicated in SAP Consulting Firm Videos

For those interested in the accuracy level of information communicated by consulting firms on HANA, see our analysis of the following video by IBM. SAP consulting firms are unreliable sources of information about SAP and primarily serve to simply repeat what SAP says, without any concern for accuracy. The lying in this video is brazen and shows that as a matter of normal course, the consulting firms are happy to provide false information around SAP.

SAP Video Accuracy Measurement

SAP's Statement
Accuracy
Brightwork Fact Check
Link to Analysis Article
HANA runs more "in-memory" than other databases.
10%
HANA uses a lot of memory, but the entire database is not loaded into memory.How to Understand the In-Memory Myth
HANA is orders of magnitude faster than other databases.
0%
Our research shows that not only can competing databases do more than HANA, but they are also a better fit for ERP systems.How to Understand the Mismatch Between HANA and S/4HANA and ECC.
HANA runs faster because it does not use disks like other databases.
0%
Other databases also use SSDs in addition to disk.Why Did SAP Pivot the Explanation of HANA In Memory?
HANA holds "business data" and "UX data" and "mobile data" and "machine learning data" and "IoT data."
0%
HANA is not a unifying database. HANA is only a database that supports a particular application, it is not for supporting data lakes.
SRM and CRM are part of S/4HANA.
0%
SRM and CRM are not part of S/4HANA. They are separate and separately sold applications. SAP C/4HANA is not yet ready for sale. How Accurate Was Bluefin Solutions on C-4HANA?
Netweaver is critical as a platform and is related to HANA.
0%
Netweaver is not relevant for this discussion. Secondly Netweaver is not an efficient environment from which to develop.
HANA works with Business Objects
10%
It is very rare to even hear about HANA and Business Objects. There are few Buisness Objects implementations that use HANA.SAP Business Objects Rating
Leonardo is an important application on SAP accounts.
0%
Leonardo is dead, therefore its discussion here is both misleading and irrelevant.Our 2019 Observation: SAP Leonardo is Dead
IBM Watson is an important application on SAP accounts.
0%
Watson is dead, therefore its discussion here is both misleading and irrelevant.How IBM is Distracting from the Watson Failure to Sell More AI and Machine Learning
Digital Boardroom is an important application on SAP accounts.
0%
SAP Digital Boardroom is another SAP item that has never been implemented many places.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

Search Our Other Accuracy on HANA Content

References

https://www.zdnet.com/article/sap-teched-postmortem-sap-hana-clouds-potential-impact-on-s4hana/

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/analytics-platform-system/parallel-data-warehouse-overview?view=aps-pdw-2016-au7