How SAP Has Quietly Changed Strategy on HANA and SAP Oracle

Executive Summary

  • SAP’s original plan for dominating the database market with HANA was overly optimistic. The software was given a massive marketing and PR push, and the company aimed for a penetrate and radiate approach, in which customers would adopt HANA and then purchase follow-on database products.
  • In May 2017, however, SAP came to an agreement to continue supporting Oracle database products through 2025. This suggested SAP was quietly distancing itself from the aim of dominating the database market with HANA.

Introduction: Changes in Policy

SAP has been communicating that it will replace Oracle DB with HANA on a mass scale. You will learn about SAP’s original plan with HANA and then discuss the recent unpublished change in policy regarding SAP Oracle, which says a lot about what SAP has internally realized about HANA and its future.

SAP & Oracle Partnership Future

The relationship between SAP and Oracle has changed when SAP began competing aggressively with Oracle in databases (for SAP customers, no one appears interested in purchasing HANA for non-SAP applications). Recently, SAP and Oracle announced a continuation of their relationship.

In this article, we will review the old version of the agreement from the new version of the agreement.

The Old Version of the Agreement

“SAP also enjoyed the right to resell to customers a license to use an Oracle database in connection with SAP applications, as well as the right to support the combined SAP and Oracle offerings. SAP and Oracle would like to announce that they have recently agreed to an extension of their Reseller and Support Agreement.

This extension continues the existing Oracle and SAP relationship. For the next three years (through December 31, 2017), SAP customers can continue to acquire Oracle licenses from SAP to support SAP business applications. For an additional period of two years, SAP will continue to provide integrated support for SAP/Oracle applications (through December 31, 2019) and has committed to support Business Suite 7 core application releases through 20125.”

Considering The Original Plan for HANA

SAP’s original plan for HANA was optimistic in the extreme. It was championed by Hasso Plattner, and the plan was so extensive that describing all of it would be its article. However, in included the following:

  • Books: Four books written by Hasso Plattner around in-memory computing.
  • Marketing and PR: A massive marketing and PR push for HANA, what must have been one of the greatest efforts and expenditures in the history of enterprise software.
  • Exaggerated Benefits: The proposal of enormous benefits to HANA, some of which are cataloged in the article When Articles Exaggerate HANA’s Benefits.
  • The Illusory Concept of Simplification: The proposal that because of HANA’s simplified model, that HANA would massively reduce the complexity of SAP as well as the business processes on projects.
  • Artificially Limit S/4HANA to HANA: Here SAP took its best-selling ERP system and in the new version, called S/4HANA, limited it only to HANA. This was always an anti-competitive move as there was never any true technical reason to perform this limitation. But as usual, the Federal Trade Commission as well as the European Trade Commission were not paying attention and did not step in. The concept was that many customers would migrate to S/4HANA and then they would be forced into purchasing HANA. But that approach has not yet worked out as S/4HANA adoptions have been incredibly low, which is covered in the article, How SAP Controls Perceptions with Customer Numbers.
  • Penetrate and Radiate: SAP’s had a follow-on strategy after getting HANA into the data layer. SAP has all types of follow-on databases and products that intended to pitch to customers after they had purchased HANA. One of the issues with HANA is that SAP does not divulge all of the components that are necessary to run HANA when one buys a copy of HANA. The customer finds out about complementary products after they have made the purchase. But secondly, SAP had positioned lagging databases, such as SAP IQ, formally Sybase IQ to perform data archiving for HANA. The argument was going to be that SAP IQ communicated much better to HANA, and this would, the plan went, force out database companies that were much better at archival, in favor of SQP IQ.

SAP’s Plan to Grow Into the Database Layer

As Oracle had acquired its way into the application layer using its database market share, SAP intended to grow (rather than acquire) their way into the database layer. In this way, they intended to push Oracle out of “their” accounts. For all software vendors, you should be on notice. When you sell software into an SAP account, they believe they own that account.

SAP’s move into the database layer was based on inaccurate information. Oracle acquired its way into the application layer. This is something I am not a fan of for several reasons:  as acquisitions lead to concentrations of markets, and concentrations of markets invariably lead to less competition and lock-in.

This lesson needs to be relearned by every generation. But Oracle did have real applications that had real value propositions. So while I disagree with whether Oracle’s massive acquisition spree should have been approved by the Federal Trade Commission (which seems to spend most of its time eating donuts and taking long naps), it was not in itself deceptive, except that Oracle promised to add value to its acquisitions, when it really didn’t.

The Long-Term Problems with Software Aquisition

Here is why software acquisitions are in most cases not a good idea for the government to approve. They relate to:

  • Market Inefficiency
  • Market Concentration

Market Inefficiency

Acquisitions are typically made by companies that are dominant in one space. Oracle in databases. SAP in large company ERP. Microsoft in operating systems and office suite. These “excess” profits are then used to purchase often companies in related areas. However, this results in lower profits. Over half of Oracle’s profits still come from databases. Three-quarters of Microsoft’s profits come from Windows and Office (not XBox, phones, etc.).

Acquisitions (and even growth into non-core areas) means a decreasing efficiency of the enterprise as bureaucracy increases and the additions are less effective than the core. About the only company that seems to counter this rule is Amazon. Amazon seems to be able to move into anything they do and be highly effective at doing so. They even migrate into areas like AWS that have a higher profit margin than the area they started in (online retailing).

Market Concentration

Acquisitions lead to concentrations of markets, and concentrations of markets invariably lead to less competition and lock-in. This lesson needs to be relearned by every generation. But Oracle did have real applications that had real value propositions.

So while I disagree with whether Oracle’s massive acquisition spree should have been approved by the Federal Trade Commission (which seems to spend most of its time eating donuts and taking long naps), it was not in itself deceptive.

However, SAP’s statements about HANA were always inaccurate.

The Recent Change in Policy on Oracle

SAP’s plans for HANA were so extravagant that they fell into the category of fantasy. I was working through a consulting company several years ago and attended a meeting where several men from SAP came over to educated us on HANA and S/4HANA. What was pitched as an educational presentation became one of the most aggressive sales pitches for HANA and S/4HANA or any other product for that matter that I have ever witnessed.

Taking a Deep Drink of SAP HANA Kool-Aid from SAP Marketing

At one point, one of these highly confident men stated that “there was going to be no innovation in SAP outside of HANA and S/4HANA.”

“there was going to be no innovation in SAP outside of HANA and S/4HANA.”

This is a ridiculous statement, as it implies that no other SAP products would receive any development (at SAP, “innovation” is a euphemism for “development.” And of course, ceasing all development on all SAP products aside from HANA and S/4HANA would be a very bad, and very illogical move. It is difficult to overestimate the hyperbole that surrounded HANA, and to some extent still encompasses HANA. HANA took over SAP conferences, it took over the marketing messaging of the SAP consulting companies, with each attempting to out-HANA one another.

At one consulting company that I was contracted to, a salesperson with an amazing pipeline of HANA deals was brought into the company without checking anything about him, the desire for some HANA expertise was so high that one. But probably other consulting companies would grab any person with HANA on their resume, and at very favorable terms to the resource. On LinkedIn, virtually overnight, people added HANA not only to their experience to their job titles. There were HANA Solution Architects and HANA Marketing Specialists.

The SAP ecosystem could simply not get enough of HANA!

The Problem with Not Making Sense

There was just one little problem, and it took me a few years to figure it out. But HANA simply did not make any sense. I began investigating HANA from multiple dimensions several years ago, first because the hype around HANA smelled strange. I reminded me too much of the Netweaver marketing program that preceded it. In fact, I compared HANA to Netweaver in the article Has SAP’s Relentless HANA Push Paid Off? 

“Information about the database reseller contract between SAP and Oracle (May 30 2017)

The following text has been agreed upon by SAP and Oracle:

SAP and Oracle have agreed to a long term extension of SAP’s global reseller and support relationship. For more than twenty years, SAP and Oracle have worked together to provide customers with a supported SAP/Oracle environment, running SAP applications and an Oracle database. During this extension SAP customers can continue to acquire Oracle licenses from SAP and Oracle to support their SAP business applications, and SAP and Oracle will continue to offer support for the combined Oracle/SAP Offering.”

This is one of the longest partnership announcements SAP has ever signed. SAP salespeople were until recently telling customers that support for Oracle would stop in 2017. This contract between SAP and Oracle changes that.

How SAP is Underemphasizing This Change

Here is the entire text of the SAUG, the SAP Australian User Group article on the contract.

“”SAP and Oracle would like to announce that they have agreed to a long-term extension of SAP’s global reseller and technical support relationship. For more than twenty years, SAP and Oracle have worked together to provide customers with a supported SAP/Oracle environment, running SAP applications and an Oracle database. During this extension new and existing SAP customers can continue to acquire Oracle licenses from SAP or Oracle to support their SAP business applications, and SAP and Oracle will continue to offer Technical Support for the combined Oracle/SAP offering.”

SAP and Oracle have agreed to a long-term extension of SAP’s global reseller and support relationship. For more than twenty years, SAP and Oracle have worked together to provide customers with a supported SAP/Oracle environment, running SAP applications and an Oracle database. During this extension SAP customers can continue to acquire Oracle licenses from SAP or Oracle to support their SAP business applications, and SAP and Oracle will continue to offer support for the combined Oracle/SAP offering.

Between now and 2025, SAP will continue to offer integrated support for all Oracle/SAP environments (full time and runtime).  SAP will continue its current resale practices Oracle runtime licenses for the first part of the extension period, through December 31, 2023.  For the final two years of the extension, between January 1, 2024 and December 31, 2025, SAP will sell Oracle runtime licenses only to existing Oracle runtime customers.”

That is 144 words. One hundred and forty-four words on a significant change in contractual terms that all but spells out a massive change in SAP’s HANA policy. There is no introduction to the article, and it is the identical language as in the contract announcement. It as if ASUG is ashamed to write it.

What ASUG Wrote Could Happen With the Agreement

In the article About Those Oracle Runtime Licenses That You Own, Geoff Scott proposes that it is time to migrate to HANA from Oracle.

“Another important thing to note is that the SAP-Oracle database licensing agreement is again up for renewal in 2017.

What happens next can be anything from additional price increases to an end to the agreement, to something in between. In other words, uncertainty—which is a hard thing to plan for.”

So ASUG proposes here that the SAP-Oracle licensing agreement could be terminated?

Did ASUG think this was within the realm of possibility when they wrote this or was this just FUD? Because it seems to be the very definition of FUD. If that did happen, what a massive change of the rules that would have been.

Geoff Scott then finishes with:

“It’s hard not to conclude that if SAP is your long-term enterprise software partner, you need to make a move to SAP HANA, Suite on HANA or SAP S/4HANA. All of the other options are intermediate stop-gaps, which require time and money. Better to do this once and right than have to do it multiple times.”

Thus, the answer is to remove all other databases and replace them all with HANA! Any database that is not HANA is a stopgap. It is important that ASUG’s articles never be differentiated from SAP. SAP controls SAP, and this article should be seen as essentially ghostwritten by SAP. Geoff Scott is a puppet, he would never actually write anything that was not first approved by SAP.

Are Vendors Also Partners?

Did it occur to ASUG that these other vendors are also “partners” with these customers in the same way that SAP is a “partner”? In fact, the term partner is just misleading. SAP as with Oracle expects to get paid by their customers. Therefore, these are customers and SAP, and Oracle is vendors. This reframing of customer/vendor relationships as partnering is a highly inaccurate way to describe entities that pay and that are paid. Partners frequently team up to service another customer together. Partners often don’t transfer funds for goods and services.

The words in the English language have already been created to explain these relationships. Furthermore, many customers have had SAP as a vendor and have also had Oracle, IBM or Microsoft as vendors. Why is this logic to move more business over to one vendor versus the other?

What is the TCO of HANA?

Something that ASUG may be interested in knowing is that they think a 7% increase over two years is high, they should read the Brightwork HANA TCO Study which estimates that HANA is more than 2x the TCO of “AnyDB.”

Adjustments

The question is how much is SAP backing off of its approach of trying to replace Oracle with HANA. SAP is continuing to provide false information to customers regarding compatibility to push out database vendors from SAP customers, as alleged in the Teradata complaint.

“On information and belief, SAP has also more recently begun significantly
restricting Teradata’s ability to access customers’ SAP ERP data stored in HANA for use in Teradata’s EDAW products, thereby ensuring that SAP’s Top-Tier ERP Applications customers utilize HANA (and only HANA) for all of their database needs.”

The Future of HANA?

Here is another problem SAP has. Without a large installed base of HANA, they are at a disadvantage regarding much more popular databases regarding the number people reporting things, the “community.” My view is that SAP exaggerated HANA hoping to “fake it until you make it.”

But without that growth, the marketing push is fading, and it will become more obvious that HANA is not a fast growing product, and so its inertia becomes stalled.

Does this look like a growing database? According to DB-Engines, which ranks database popularity, HANA has been declining for eight months. It should be recognized that SAP pumped a very large amount of marketing dollars and company energy into pushing HANA, actually to the detriment of other of SAP’s offerings. This is why HANA’s future does not look good. HANA is out of runway on applications where it adds some reasonable value and is now receiving blowback from SAP’s exaggerations versus real-world performance. IBM and Oracle are now increasingly pushing back on SAP — even though both companies have relationships with and depend upon SAP for revenues.  

Taking the Creme off the Top of the Coffee with BW Conversion to HANA

As you may have read in my recent article, SAP already took the creme off the top of the coffee when it sold into BW. After the BW the value proposition becomes considerably weaker as HANA is just an analytics database masquerading as something more.

Now SAP is locked into this strategy, but it does not make any sense.

I have focused on proposing that SAP is legacy. Its new products have turned out to be poor values had had a weak implementation history on accounts, as is covered in the article, How SAP is Now Strip Mining its Customers. It’s time to keep the ERP system, but stop buying so much from SAP. Our view on this is so emphatic that it is a primary theme on the Brightwork home page.

Of course, that is radical to SAP customers. But really, none of what they said would happen with regards to the benefits of these new non-ERP systems worked out. It was in total, a massive misallocation of resources into a failed strategy. But the customers that did this can’t admit the error. It is interesting that decision makers are very rarely held accountable for bad decisions, and how bad so many of these decisions are when analyzed in detail.

As I mentioned in my article last year, the other teams within SAP will not like to be discounted heavily and then charge full price for HANA. It gives the HANA guys unfair share of recognition within the company.

Who Was Wrong and Who Was Right?

Well, obviously SAP was one. SAP claimed they would be the #2 database vendor in the world back in 2017. According to DB-Engines,

  • They have the 13th most popular database in the SAP Adaptive Server.
  • They have the 19th most popular database in HANA.
  • They have the 49th most popular database in SAP IQ (formerly Sybase IQ) and the 52nd most popular database in SAP SQL Anywhere.

Does that add up to the #2 spot? I need someone good at math to help me out with this one. Does anyone have Bill McDermott’s number? His data is always so reliable.

It seems reasonable for customers to ask SAP salespeople to apologize to them for telling them that SAP would not support Oracle after 2017. That looks quite dishonest, especially after that date has now passed.

Hyping HANA

In the many articles that followed on HANA, I was repeatedly told by people that worked for SAP or for large SAP consulting companies that I did not get it. That HANA was going to be a huge success, and I simply lacked the vision. I was exposed to many discussions, by people that knew little about databases or comparative database designs, that HANA was the future. This is what it is like working in SAP. When you work in SAP, you are expected to mindlessly and loyally support that notion that SAP is the best at everything. And that the mere existence of an SAP product, means that this product should be used — because it is SAP. The lunacy of people talking about things they did not understand reached a fever pitch when I was condescended to by recruiter about how HANA would be so great and that I was not getting it. That is right people, a recruiter — that is a person who never touches much less sees any of the systems that they place people for, who worked for Dickenson and Associates, explained to me that I needed to get on the “HANA train.” He explained that his only reason for supporting HANA was not to staff HANA resources, but was related to making the world a better place. (I can’t make this stuff up)

How To Deflect That You Were Wrong About HANA

A little while ago I began to notice a pattern in the rhetoric with people I would debate, which is the topic of the article How to Deflect That You Were Wrong About HANA. This described an argumentative style that moved away from the main proposals of HANA when challenged on them, to stating that HANA was “so much more” than a database. Then the topic was changed to the HANA Cloud Platform or to HANA Studio, etc.. SAP had simply come up with a number of products and had slapped the name HANA on them. This created a lot of confusion but allowed HANA proponents to essentially move the topic in other areas, and to declare that HANA was a “platform.” We covered the accuracy of the information providers around HANA in the article Who Got it Wrong and Who Got it Right on HANA?

Conclusion

A huge number of people have been proven wrong about HANA. HANA fatigue has hit not only customers but SAP as well. Other groups inside of SAP are tired of playing second fiddle to the HANA teams.  

The word from inside of SAP under brackets of “you did not hear this from me, but ..” SAP now realizes that it cannot come anywhere near approaching the uptake of HANA that they had hoped.

  • This is the reason for extending its relationship with Oracle.
  • This is why SAP does not want to talk about it and why they want it kept as quiet as possible. 

HANA will become just another of SAP’s offerings now. It will not become, as Bill McDermott once said, the “basis for everything that SAP does.” More information is getting out that HANA is just not as advertised, and I predict from here on out, SAP going to lose far more arguments on HANA than it will win. 

As HANA’s time in the sun has come to an end, in a future article, I will cover how SAP will have to reverse itself on HANA. It will be tricky, as it must be done in a way that will not offend Hasso Plattner. Hasso must be handled very delicately. He must be told that his vision was an absolute genius, but SAP customers simply lacked the ability to see his fantastic long-term vision.

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.

What to Do About HANA: Being Part of the Solution

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. That is what we do. 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 your company was lied to about HANA by SAP, reach out to us with the form below.

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.

The Necessity of Fact Checking

We ask a question that anyone working in enterprise software should ask.

Should decisions be made based on sales information from 100% financially biased parties like consulting firms, IT analysts, and vendors to companies that do not specialize in fact-checking?

If the answer is “No,” then perhaps there should be a change to the present approach to IT decision making.

In a market where inaccurate information is commonplace, our conclusion from our research is that software project problems and failures correlate to a lack of fact checking of the claims made by vendors and consulting firms. If you are worried that you don’t have the real story from your current sources, we offer the solution.

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 HANA and S/4HANA Pricing and Costs Content

References

https://www.g3g.com/hubfs/White_Papers/Projected_Cost_Analysis_of_the_SAP_HANA_platform.pdf?t=1455200742977

https://www.saug.com.au/news/saps-global-reseller-and-support-relationship-with-oracle-extended

https://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/sap/introduction/overview/index.html

https://www.businessinsider.com/sources-why-vishal-sikka-left-sap-2014-5

https://www.forbes.com/sites/oracle/2015/10/29/larry-ellisons-world-view-7-observations-straight-from-the-hip/

https://www.asug.com/news/about-those-oracle-runtime-licenses-that-you-own

https://www.computerworlduk.com/it-vendors/will-oracles-customer-base-migrate-sap-business-suite-on-hana-3420138/

https://blogs.gartner.com/donald-feinberg/2014/09/28/in-memory-dbms-vs-in-memory-marketing/

*https://www.simba.com/blog/donald-feinberg-and-vishal-sikka-explain-about-in-memory-and-sap-hana/

Who Was Right and Who Was Wrong on HANA?

Executive Summary

  • Most of the sources that covered HANA were wrong. Only a few were right.
  • In this article, we cover who was right and who was wrong.

Introduction

Few articles measure the accuracy of previous statements in IT.

In this article, we rate this accuracy.

Who Got it Wrong?

Hasso Plattner: Wrong

Hasso was the main driving force behind HANA. Hasso is so wealthy and powerful within SAP that no one can “No” to him. However, Hasso greatly overestimated the benefit that something like HANA would bring to SAP. Hasso thought he had found the magic pill for giving SAP a new life. However, he had SAP invest big into databases at the exact time when less expensive databases and open source databases were about to erode the margins and sales of the proprietary database vendors. This is covered in the article How Accurate is Seeking Alpha on the Decline of SQL? SAP clearly invested in the wrong thing by going into the database, and then by bringing out such a premium-priced product. Hasso was wrong on HANA not only in that the market did not respond as Hasso predicted, but most of what Hasso said about HANA was simply incorrect.

Bill McDermott: Wrong

Bill McDermott is more PR spokesman for SAP than CEO. When Bill McDermott speaks, I never get the impression he has any idea what he is talking about. Bill is an excellent salesman, but essentially he excels as explaining things in a way that make it seem as if the objective the listener wants can be achieved very simply, but to do this, he dispenses with any detail that complicates the messaging. For example, Bill stated to a Fortune Magazine interviewer that one could do both transactions and Big Data all in a single database. However, connecting HANA to Hadoop is not using one database, is it?

Vishal Sikka: Wrong

Vishal Sikka was for a time was the “architect of HANA,” something which is a bit doubtful given his level in SAP. Vishal Sikka is almost indecipherable when speaking. I analyzed Vishal’s statements in great detail about HANA and concluded that he was massively exaggerating the overall reason for and benefit of HANA. After reading his comments, I would never listen to Vishal on any topic as long as his name is attached to it. Interestingly, Vishal left for Infosys in 2014, which may have been for reasons unrelated to HANA’s progress. However, for someone who is thought of being so intelligent, HANA makes little sense. But at SAP, at that level, you do what Hasso tells you to do. If HANA was in part his vision, one does not need a Ph.D. in computer science to recognize that you don’t put an ERP system on what is nothing more than a gussied up analytics database.

John Appleby/Bluefin Solutions: Wrong

Bluefin Solutions, more than any other consulting company went all in on HANA. They wrote articles, lead by John Appleby, clearly simply copied and pasted from information provided to them by SAP. In one article John Appleby stated that..

“SAP is finished on Oracle.”

This is a curious statement as the evidence he provided related to S/4HANA.

John Appleby should know that SAP is about a lot more than S/4. Therefore even if Oracle were finished on S/4 (which I don’t think it is, as covered in the article Why SAP Will Have to Backtrack on S/4HANA), it would not mean that all SAP applications are finished on Oracle. Four and a half years after Appleby made this statement, I wonder if he could guess what the majority of SAP applications use as a database today (hint, it’s not HANA). This is why consulting companies that are partners with SAP are unreliable sources of information on SAP. And this is particularly true of public statements released in the media.

After Appleby was promoted at Bluefin Solutions, Steve Chaflen took over the position of HANA promoter from him Appleby. Not only John Appleby and Bluefin Solutions but all consulting partners of SAP release inaccurate information about SAP as they compete to see who can more intensively shine the shoes of SAP in return for special consideration.

John Appleby’s inaccuracy level was so high that we investigated it in the article A Study into John Appleby’s HANA Accuracy. We later found that John Appleby was also releasing false information HANA in order to promote his company prior to it acquisition, as we cover in the article Appleby’s False HANA Statements and the Mindtree Acquisition.

Gartner: Wrong

Gartner receives probably around $100 to $150 million from SAP per year. All of this undisclosed.

The primary analyst assigned to SAP is Donald Fienberg who is also Gartner’s liaison to SAP. This puts Gartner in a bit of a problematic area as there was no line drawn between the analyst work Donald Fienberg was performing and his role as essentially an SAP relationship manager for Gartner.

Donald Fienberg made repeated inaccurate and promotional statements about HANA, such as the following

“Now SAP can set up a database to do my transactions and analytics with everything virtual. People have wanted to do both in the same database for years, but have not been able to do it because of the discrepancy between the two types of data. These guys (SAP) are first, period. That’s a good thing. They have got a two to five-year head start on everybody else..”

Oracle 12c, which has this ability Donald was describing was released six months after this article was written. IBM DB2 Blu (which offers the same ability) actually preceded HANA. And Microsoft SQL Server had a column store index in 2012, therefore before Donald Fienberg made this statement. We cover Gartner’s terrible coverage of HANA in the article How Gartner Got HANA So Wrong.

Forrester: Wrong

Forrester was paid by SAP to write a report that predicted a reduced TCO for HANA, which SAP then took and marketed as proving that HANA “did reduce TCO.” This deftly changed a forecast into an actual. Forrester made some inaccurate assumptions in the report including the use of a runtime license for HANA. This is not a production license, and there was no reason for Forrester to have used this except — to reduce the cost of HANA artificially. This is covered in the article How Accurate was Forrester’s TCO Study for SAP HANA?  

ASUG: Wrong

A usual, ASUG served as simply outlet for SAP marketing proving once again that they provide no filter to anything SAP says or does.

Fortune Magazine: Wrong

Through a series of what appears to have been paid placements, Fortune provided SAP with an outlet for SAP to say anything it wanted on the future. Brightwork will be sharing an analysis of these articles, and how wrong they were in the coming months.

IT Leaders Who Purchased HANA: Wrong

IT leaders that supported moving to HANA were tricked. Even in HANA’s “golden case,” which is moving BW on HANA, there was never any reason to do this. SAP customers could have stayed with SAP Oracle and received a far better database with better performance than HANA at a lower price. I believe similarly this may apply for DB2 and SQL Server, which also can store data in a columnar store, but I simply have not investigated the technical comparisons as I have with these databases as I have with SAP Oracle as is covered in the article Which is Faster HANA or Oracle 12c. However, Bloor Research recently performed, a study that while funded by IBM, I have reviewed and considered it to be quite accurate. In this study, which I have analyzed in the article How to Best Understand Bloor’s Research on HANA, and have given it one of the highest accuracy ratings of any publication I have analyzed. Those IT leaders cost their companies and directed monies towards SAP’s vanity project that should have been used elsewhere. And this is no small thing. I have visited companies that needed investment quite badly in neglected areas and instead decided to use that money to invest in HANA. What a monumental waste of resources!

Conclusion on Those that Got HANA Wrong

This is a highly truncated list. Aside from individuals who were wrong, every single large SAP consulting company, Accenture, IBM, etc. all of them promoted HANA, and all of them got it wrong. Their support of HANA was so extensive that to analyze all of it would require a book.

This is why I have often said that if I want false information, I can always find it at a big consulting company. Whatever SAP marketing happens to be saying at the time, the major SAP consulting partners all in on the “vision.”

Who Got it Right?

Larry Ellison: Right

Larry Ellison criticizes anything reflexively that is not good for Oracle. But you have to hand it to him; he made some very valid criticisms of HANA.

Probably one of his best lines was in 2015 when he said:

“For years SAP offered up lots of benchmarks for its database systems, Ellison said. But when SAP introduced HANA, its in-memory database, the company didn’t use any of its existing benchmarks —“ and they had a dozen of them,” Ellison said. They said they were going to write a brand new benchmark for HANA.“Now, call me cynical,” he continued, “but I guess this was to make HANA look good. It was a benchmark that allowed HANA to distinguish itself. And we decided to run the same exact benchmark on Oracle. And we ran more than twice as fast as they did.”By the way, SAP has not certified our benchmark. We’ve sent it to them…over and over and over again. And for some reason, they don’t want to certify.…The facts are, the entire SAP cloud runs on Oracle, not HANA. SAP Ariba in the cloud runs on Oracle, not HANA. SAP SuccessFactors in the cloud runs on Oracle, not HANA. SAP Concur runs on Oracle, not HANA. I don’t know what HANA runs, but it’s not [SAP’s cloud applications].”

Every one of these statements by Larry turned out to be true. SAP did play around with the benchmarks, in my view because the HANA benchmarks for anything but read access are poor as we cover in the article The Hidden Issues with the SD HANA Benchmarks. This is something I have verified even with people inside of SAP. And secondly, the acquired applications are not moving to HANA. Right again Larry.

Peter Goldmacher: Right

In the article How Popular is SAP HANA?, I observed that Peter Goldmacher pointed out..

“In a research note, Cowen analyst Peter Goldmacher did a deep dive into SAP’s HANA results. SAP has said that HANA’s two-year license compound annual growth rate through fiscal 2013 has been about 120 percent. If that growth rate is true, Goldmacher noted that “the other 90% of SAP’s license business, apps and business intelligence, is growing at a combined two-year CAGR of roughly 2%, materially below category growth rates.”

Peter was right.

As with CRM growth many years before, SAP was simply shifting revenue to HANA from other sources. This is virtually the same thing that SAP did with CRM beginning 15 years go. SAP pushed back hard on Peter, issuing a nonsensical statement about what percentage of HANA’s sales were stand-alone deals. Every time HANA was criticized, SAP pushed back in the media through a spokesperson. And, every single time I checked what the SAP spokesman said in defense of HANA, it ended up being inaccurate.

Brightwork Research & Analysis: Right

We wrote the most comprehensive and detailed critiques of HANA available on the internet. As more information increasingly comes from the field, it turns out that even we missed areas of weakness of HANA. Our research into HANA is verifiable at this searchable archive HANA Search. (this index may have an issue displaying in Chrome if you run into an issue Firefox or other non-Chrome browser)

This is a highly truncated list. Aside from individuals who were wrong, every single large SAP consulting company, Accenture, IBM, etc. all of them promoted HANA, and all of them got it wrong. Their support of HANA was so extensive that to analyze all of it would require a book.

This is why I have often said that if I want false information, I can always find it at a big consulting company. Whatever SAP marketing happens to be saying at the time, the major SAP consulting partners all in on the “vision.”

Conclusion

The vast majority of information providers on HANA got HANA wrong.

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.

The Necessity of Fact Checking

We ask a question that anyone working in enterprise software should ask.

Should decisions be made based on sales information from 100% financially biased parties like consulting firms, IT analysts, and vendors to companies that do not specialize in fact-checking?

If the answer is “No,” then perhaps there should be a change to the present approach to IT decision making.

In a market where inaccurate information is commonplace, our conclusion from our research is that software project problems and failures correlate to a lack of fact checking of the claims made by vendors and consulting firms. If you are worried that you don’t have the real story from your current sources, we offer the solution.

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 Who Was Right and Wrong on HANA Content

References

https://www.g3g.com/hubfs/White_Papers/Projected_Cost_Analysis_of_the_SAP_HANA_platform.pdf?t=1455200742977

https://www.saug.com.au/news/saps-global-reseller-and-support-relationship-with-oracle-extended

https://www.oracle.com/us/solutions/sap/introduction/overview/index.html

https://www.businessinsider.com/sources-why-vishal-sikka-left-sap-2014-5

https://www.forbes.com/sites/oracle/2015/10/29/larry-ellisons-world-view-7-observations-straight-from-the-hip/

https://www.computerworlduk.com/it-vendors/will-oracles-customer-base-migrate-sap-business-suite-on-hana-3420138/

https://blogs.gartner.com/donald-feinberg/2014/09/28/in-memory-dbms-vs-in-memory-marketing/

*https://www.simba.com/blog/donald-feinberg-and-vishal-sikka-explain-about-in-memory-and-sap-hana/

Analysis of Steve Lucas’ Article on What Oracle Won’t Tell You About HANA

Executive Summary

  • Steve Lucas is one of the most quoteworthy of the SAP executives. In an article, he proposed that many false items around HANA under the concept of “setting the record straight.”
  • Steve Lucas discusses topics ranging from performance to pricing. In this article, we review Steve Lucas’ level of accuracy.

Introduction

Steve Lucas wrote a popular article back in 2012 when HANA was first introduced. Now five years later, we will review what came true.

Steve Lucas Quotes

“The recent and significant increase in negative messaging Oracle is attempting to spread about SAP HANA is pretty amazing. Traditionally at SAP, we’ve taken the high road when it comes to responding to these claims, as nearly 100% of what Oracle says is inaccurate and designed with one thing in mind: To protect their established revenue base. All you have to do is look at what Oracle has stated about the cloud over the last 10 years in order to understand their plan of attack for in memory:”

  1. Step 1: Halfheartedly acknowledge its presence
  2. Step 2: Continue to push old technology
  3. Step 3: Create fear and doubt related to innovations

“We see the same, tired response plan from Oracle emerging for in memory and SAP HANA.”

Steve Lucas works for SAP and is not an unbiased source of information on SAP. So these claims against Oracle are also designed to improve revenue.

However, are they true?

SAP Taking the High Road?

Well, since I began working with SAP in 1997, I have never seen SAP take the high road. SAP is a consistently unethical and monopolist software vendor. Just like Oracle. Secondly, Steve Lucas has not worked with SAP all that long. He came over from Marketo, so would know less about SAP’s history than I would. Thirdly, through his comments, Steve Lucas demonstrates that he knows very little about databases.

Therefore he is unqualified to either promote or speak on SAP’s database or to contradict claims made by Oracle. Oracle also makes exaggerated claims about their database(s). But one has to know something about databases to contradict them, or to know which claims are the most exaggerated.

SAP Using a Similar Storyline to Oracle Regarding the Cloud

Interestingly, the items pointed out by Steve Lucas regarding Oracle’s response to the cloud has also been SAP’s response to the cloud. That falls under the category of hypocrisy to the highest degree. Both SAP and Oracle are on-premises vendors that have tried to put off the cloud as long as possible while cloud washing.

“Why would Oracle want to innovate anyway? There are billions of dollars’ worth of reasons why Oracle must protect their legacy database technology. Oracle has boxed itself into a corner, where they can’t afford to cannibalize their existing revenue stream, and at the same time are obligated to push massive amounts of hardware from their Sun acquisition – effectively amounting to a digital albatross hanging around their neck.”

I could make and have made the same argument regarding SAP! SAP is not an innovative software vendor, but pose as one. I have proposed that SAP reduces the level of innovation in the enterprise software market in the article How SAP Reduces Innovation.

Billions of Dollars of Revenue to Protect

So likewise SAP has billions of dollars’ worth of reasons to protect their ERP and other application business by raising as many barriers as possible. By paying off IT media sources by giving their implementation business to unethical consulting companies like Deloitte, Accenture and IBM that then recommend SAP regardless of the fit between the SAP application and the business requirement, by creating a false construct of Type 2 indirect access in order to block out competitors who have beaten them in software selections.

So SAP has no stones to through here, and if Steve Lucas can’t figure that out, well I don’t know what to say.

“We should also let it be known that comparing this Exalytics bundle/packaged thing is just a red herring for customers. It’s an attempt to imply that HANA isn’t ready to compete with Exadata or Oracle’s core database. It’s an attempt to imply HANA is limited to analytic business scenarios.”

HANA is limited to analytic business scenarios. Steve Lucas should probably have educated himself on databases before writing these things. HANA has portions of the database that is column oriented. SAP proposed that the entire database was column oriented, but we later learned that HANA is a combination of row and column-oriented tables. However, HANA is effective only for queries run on preconfigured analytic data (so simple SQL queries) and slow for transaction processing or complex or long queries.

Column-Oriented for Analytics

It is well known that column-oriented databases are optimized for analytics. This is covered in the article, Why SAP HANA is So Fast. Oracle 12c has a superior ability to switch between column-oriented and row-oriented storage. This is included in the article Which is Faster HANA or Oracle 12c?

Steve Lucas’ writing is like reading someone falling down a set of stairs. Steve Lucas seems not to understand databases but is very comfortable discussing them.

“Bottom line for Oracle, there is no incentive to truly innovate. Is innovation loosely coupling and stacking an RDBMS + TimesTen + Exadata + Endeca on expensive hardware? Clearly they would rather repackage 20 year old, tired products on refrigerator sized servers and overcharge customers for it.”

What a statement. Oracle did innovate with Oracle 12c several years after this. Oracle has been improving its database for decades since it was first introduced. It is nothing compared to how much money Oracle brings in from their database, but they do improve the database. Moreover, why is Steve Lucas obsessed with Exadata in this article. Did he not comprehend that Oracle was pushing its analytics appliance as HANA is primarily an analytics database!

Is that point lost on Steve Lucas?

“In this blog, I will provide a set of facts about SAP HANA and in-memory computing. I will try my best to be objective throughout and dispel some of the silliness Oracle is spreading.”

In Memory Computing?

In memory, computing is a myth, which is something we covered in this article.

In memory, computing was aggressively promoted by SAP, and instead of explaining its inaccuracy, Oracle decided to copy SAP’s marketing message.

It is interesting that Steve Lucas has the lack of self-awareness to describe silliness written by others when he does not himself have the subject matter expertise to understand this topic.

“Let’s take a look at the inaccurate comparisons and misnomers floating around:”

  1. “TimesTen is a mature database technology vs. SAP HANA
  2. Scenario comparisons of Exalytics vs. SAP HANA
  3. Pricing comparisons between HANA and Exalytics.”

Is misnomer the right word here? A misnomer is a misnaming. It is difficult to see what misnomer Steve Lucas is referring to. Steve Lucas means misimpression.

Here are his explanations for why in essence SAP is wrong.

#1: Comparing Database Feature/Functionality:

“Oracle is attempting to compare TimesTen to SAP’s HANA database. There are as many 14 attributes that they claim HANA lacks, including in-memory aggregates, multi-dimensional OLAP (MOLAP), in-memory indexes, NUMA support, etc. Ironically, most of these are cumbersome mechanisms that Oracle has patched on to their RDBMS to improve performance, but thanks to HANA’s innovation, are unnecessary overhead and maintenance tasks that customers will be glad to leave behind.”

“To me, this comparison at a very basic level is exactly the same I would have expected to hear from the horse and carriage salesmen when automobiles were first introduced. Oracle is essentially arguing that our “car” is not as good because it doesn’t come with feed for the horses, or a large bucket and shovel that customers can use to clean up their mess.”

This is highly misleading.

And it is not Oracle that has “patched” them onto their RDBMS. They are part of any RDBMS. Steve Lucas may be surprised to learn that aggregates are a pre-computation device used to speed processing. If a series of values are consistently referred to, it makes sense to create an aggregate table of them. SAP seems to see this as some kind of sin, but it is a sound practice. MySQL has aggregates, MariaDB has aggregates, you get the idea.

H0w Steve Channelled Hasso Plattner

It is unclear why they are considered cumbersome by Steve Lucas, but I suspect this is only because he was told this by Hasso Plattner.

Hasso Plattner places a lot of emphasis on removing aggregates in this book. Hasso wrote four books on in-memory computing, all of them filled with falsehoods. However, outside of SAP, others that focus on databases, and have concentrated on databases for far longer than SAP do not agree that aggregates are a bad thing. We are currently developing an application, and one has to decide whether to precalculate or whether it is worthwhile to re-calculate values. Hasso Plattner seems to emphasize reducing aggregates because he needs to show that he an by extension HANA made essential contributions “innovations” to the column-oriented design, when in fact he didn’t. We cover Hasso Plattner’s lack of innovation and the fake storyline around HANA’s innovation in this article. 

Also, aggregates aren’t maintenance items. They mostly sit there until called upon. Indexes are very similar to aggregates but are pointers for the database to more quickly find things. Indexes also make a lot of sense.

The Major Problems with Steve Lucas’ Comments

So there are three major problems with Steve Lucas’ explanation here of RDBMS systems.

  1. It proposes that Oracle is the only database vendors that use indexes, MOLAP, aggregates, etc..
  2. It proposes that all of these items were grafted onto the RDBMS willy-nilly. They weren’t; they are part of the design.
  3. It proposes that these additions are a lot of maintenance when they aren’t.

There is some truth to the carriage versus the automobile, but the problem is it shows Oracle as the aggressive party here when it is SAP that is the party stating that they have come up with some quantum leap in databases when they haven’t. SAP is saying that all of these items are irrelevant when they aren’t. For instance, HANA still uses aggregates, although minimizes them.

There are in fact cases where it can make sense to replace Oracle, but the opportunity is not with HANA. The opportunity to replace Oracle is with lower cost and quite competitive databases like PostgreSQL or MariaDB, as well as moving Oracle DBs off on premises to AWS or Azure that allow for those databases to be managed. Once the database is managed, the reason for having Oracle declines. Oracle has its place, but it is overused because it is considered the standard and IT departments are comfortable with it. But most Oracle databases are used far below Oracle’s capabilities. And databases like PostgreSQL or MariaDB or AuroraDB now cover the vast majority of most company’s needs.

Steve Lucas’ Facts?

Here Steve Lucas presents what he calls facts. Let us review his list.

A few facts:

HANA is an ACID Database!

“SAP HANA is a fully ACID compliant database”

All the databases that HANA is competing with are ACID. This is like saying that a car competing with another car has “wheels.”

HANA is Entirely Loaded into RAM?

“HANA’s design manages and accesses data completely in RAM allowing for speedy retrieval of data over massive volumes and addressing the BigData problems of today and the future.”

False. This was the original presentation of HANA, but the data is swapped in and out of RAM with HANA. It is just a misrepresentation of the database.

HANA Does Away with MOLAP?

“HANA does away with the need for MOLAP, tuning structures such as multiple indexes, aggregates, materialized views, and saves the costly time to build and maintain such structures.”

Yes, that is true. That is the benefit of the column-oriented design. But IBM, Oracle, and Microsft also now have this same capability.

HANA has Super Efficient Queries?

“HANA leverages parallel queries to efficiently scale out across server nodes as proven in our April 10 scalability testing announcement in which 100 TB of data partitioned across 16 nodes was queried with sub-second response time.”

First, Steve Lucas has no idea what this sentence means. But if we evaluate the sentence on its merits and leave Steve’s knowledge out of it, if this were true, it’s not showing in our analysis of both public and private benchmarks. SAP is not the performance leader in any category versus the competing offerings.

HANA is a Good Place for Unstructured Data?

“HANA handles both unstructured and structured data and has since its inception.”

All databases can do this. The question is whether the database is the right one to use. Due to HANA’s high cost per GB, it will not be the right DB to store unstructured data. That is why SAP introduced Vora, to connect HANA to Hadoop. But Vora is dead in the market.

HANA Can Store Non-SAP Data?

“HANA handles both SAP and heterogeneous data equally well.”

Well, data is data. The database is not going to care what application the data originated from. But HANA is not used to store non-SAP data, because HANA is only sold into SAP environments.

Oracle Can’t Scale Beyond One TB

“Oracle has not demonstrated how Exalytics with TimesTen can scale out beyond the 1TB limit and Oracle has publicly stated that the usable memory in this configuration is about 300GB.”

Not sure what to say to that.

HANA is Super Innovative?

“HANA does, in fact, support ANSI standard SQL syntax, as well as MDX. Just like Oracle extended the ANSI standard with their PL/SQL procedural language, SAP has extended the ANSI standard support in HANA with SQLScript, a procedural language that allows you to write programs with logic not possible to implement in the single-statement SQL language.”

“HANA allows you to manage your data as you choose in either column stores, row stores, or a combination of the two. (Plus other stores/models) Oracle’s claim that you must load data into the row store, and then migrate to the column store, is false. Not to mention their claim that columnar data must be migrated back to the row store to be updated and then back to the column store to be queried. This is simply not how HANA works at all.”

The bottom line: HANA is a next generation solution that replaces many of the tired, legacy products that Oracle continues to re-label as “innovative”.

None of HANA’s claims related to innovation regarding HANA have held up. It is highly unlikely that SAP, with its far lower database expertise, came up with a better way to manage row and column data that Oracle. But the point is moot because performing OLAP and OLTP from the database is both not a significant requirement for companies, and there is no database that can perform OLAP and OLTP optimally for both.

Our Conclusion on Section 1

One can go back and forth on each of these bullet points. Some are false. For instance, HANA is not designed for unstructured data and is not priced for holding Big Data. HANA is not a player in the Big Data market. HANA is priced per GB and is very expensive per GB, so even if HANA is good for unstructured data, it is too costly to place much data in HANA.

I cannot see why Oracle’s database is “tired and not innovative.” Part of what is happening is that Steve Lucas is commingling being immature with being innovative. Yes, HANA has more releases, but that is not necessarily a good thing. It means less stability and HANA can’t compete with Oracle 12c in the ways that SAP promised that it could. Oracle 12c has a far better reputation for reliability than does HANA and for fault tolerance.

#2: Comparison of Use Case Scenarios Between HANA and Exalytics

“The easiest way to find out how HANA is transforming our customers is by looking at the customers stories on saphana.com. Anyone can publicly see proof – compelling business case after case where customers are consolidating IT systems and delivering breakthrough business value with a lower TCO than Oracle.”

SAP would not have jerry-rigged these case studies, would they? For instance, would SAP place a case study on their website where the customer had a lot of problems with HANA or where it failed to meet expectations? I say this because I know of several instances where HANA failed to meet the expectations of different customers, but this did not seem to make it to the SAP website.

SAP’s History with TCO Claims

Second, SAP never estimates TCO. TCO calculators of various SAP applications and non-SAP applications are available for free at the following link. In each of the application categories where SAP had an application, SAP came out as the highest in TCO. SAP’s high TCO is why they have so many consulting partners. Deloitte, Accenture and IBM and others build their consulting practices around SAP for precisely the reason that they can make the most money on SAP implementations. SAP’s proposal about lower TCO is entirely made up, and in fact, any statement by SAP about TCO can be dismissed out of hand because SAP has lied so frequently in the past about their applications lowering TCO.

“I have a moral objection to this whole comparison Oracle attempts, as the mere existence of Exalytics is just a diversionary tactic. Oracle doesn’t want HANA digging into their RDBMS business or Exadata for that matter, ergo the attempt I mentioned at the beginning of this blog.”

If Steve Lucas had any morals, he would not be a top executive at SAP. Also for a person with such high moral standards, he indeed lies a lot when he writes. Therefore, this statement regarding any moral concern must be false. And secondly, Oracle’s comparison between Exalytics and HANA is quite logical, for the reason that HANA is a specialized analytics database. It’s difficult to see why Steve Lucas can’t see this. But Steve Lucas might want to ask people at SAP that know about databases, why SAP stopped releasing a transaction processing benchmark for HANA.

Nothing just written should be taken as an endorsement for Oracle’s morality, it is well known it has none.

Steve on What HANA Supports

“Let me state (again) that SAP HANA supports analytical functions (e.g. all datamarts – e.g. T-Mobile’s use of customer micro segmentation analysis across millions of customers, across SAP and non-SAP application systems), business functions, planning functions and predictive functions (SAP BusinessObjects Predictive Analysis and Predictive Analytical Library in HANA) as well as transactions natively (e.g. upcoming SAP ERP on HANA). To do this in Exalytics you need – TimesTen, Essbase, Endeca, Oracle RDBMS, etc. This amounts to more money for Oracle and no business breakthrough for the customer…not exactly a “win-win”.”

Support is a different word than “excels at.”

Any database can support virtually any application. But the question is whether it does it well. It turns out that HANA is a poor match for S/4HANA, but this not yet a problem, because five years after this article was written S/4HANA is still not ready to implement.

This falls in the conventional approach of simply accepting because SAP offers something or supports something that it must be good or worth using. What other vendor gets that kind of slack cut for it?

Steve on What Scenarios HANA Can Address

“What Oracle doesn’t tell you about SAP HANA is that it addresses scenarios that were not feasible before, even with an armada of legacy tools – for example with the business function library in HANA it is now possible, using standard SQL, to execute in-database processes and functions that could not be written in SQL before.”

Steve Lucas has swung and missed on far more straightforward assertions already in this article. How would he possibly have the background to know if this is true. And this may or may not have been right in 2012, but again Oracle 12c has things that Oracle 12 did not have.

SAP BW Will Not Need to be Recoded for HANA?

“With respect to SAP BW customers, Oracle has argued that customers would have to re-code BW applications to work on HANA.This is simply not true, and we’ve published numerous public statements from our customers that have already migrated to BW running on HANA in production.”

No, it is true. And here is why.

BW is based upon a relational design, but it uses emulated cubes based upon a star schema. BW is one of the least productive report data structure applications that I have used. There are plenty of bad ones that come to mind, such as IBM’s near dead Cognos. However, BW absorbs massive amounts of human resources and produces very few reports. A lot of what BW does is take flat files and make them into a star scheme, which is called and InfoCube in BW. Then queries are run on the InfoCubes. Star schemes, or as SAP calls them in BW, InfoCubes speed read processing. These InfoCubes are rendered unnecessary when a column-oriented database like HANA is used along with BW because the column-oriented design and the memory significantly speed the read. However, the problem comes in that the customer has already spent great amounts of money to build all of these InfoCubes. InfoCubes that are no longer needed. So what is to be done?

Justifying the Investment into HANA

To explain the investment into HANA, but not undermine the investment into the InfoCubes, most customers that put BW onto HANA simply keep using the sale InfoCubes. But when new aggregations are necessary, the BW resources runs merely the query against a non-cube based structure called an InfoProvider. Essentially the BW is in contradiction with HANA, because the BW was created to run on a relational, or more accurately a row-oriented database that was not optimized for analytics.

Therefore, one can dispense with recoding BW after moving to HANA, but there is a natural conflict between BW and HANA. SAP may have published numerous public statements on the topic, but the problem is that most of SAP’s public comments tend to be either false or misleading. The fundamental conflict between BW and HANA will of course not be addressed by SAP.

Our Conclusion on Section 2

Steve Lucas is attacking the reader with an unending list of false contentions. The only things that Steve is pointing to that are right, are also true of the databases for which HANA competes.

#3 – Pricing Comparisons

“Oracle has tried to publicly compare Exalytics pricing to HANA and the information presented is grossly misleading. Not only is SAP HANA less expensive in up-front cost than Oracle’s Exadata + Exalytics bundle, (plus all the derivative components you’ll need to make it work) the differences in total cost of ownership are substantial.”

The TCO of HANA and Exadata is Known?

Steve Lucas has no idea what the TCO of HANA or the TCO of Exadata is. Since SAP was established until this article was written, I have never seen a single credible publication on TCO by SAP.

HANA’s Pricing?

“We didn’t just innovate on the technology platform with SAP HANA, we innovated on pricing as well with a straightforward, simple to understand model based solely on the amount of data held in memory (Unlike Oracle which charges per CPU plus test and development environment fees.) A single unit of HANA (1 HANA unit = 64 GB of RAM) includes the FULL production, test and development licenses a customer needs. It also includes the data modeling and management tools needed to get data into HANA and actually use the product. Even better, HANA gets cheaper over time…the more you buy, the more the list price per unit reduces.”

Putting Business One on HANA?

Wow. This is a lie. HANA is exorbitantly priced. And SAP has not been transparent about the pricing but has instead been publishing information meant to give prospects a misimpression of the amount HANA can be reduced in its footprint. SAP has been utterly opaque about what HANA costs, as they have endeavoured to hide the real costs of HANA from customers.

“Our customers running SAP Business One can purchase a HANA license for as little as €2K. Any customer can purchase a license of SAP HANA Edge Edition for €40k. We also have the SAP HANA Netweaver BW edition for as little as €13k per HANA unit. (64GB of RAM = 1 unit)”

HANA’s Hardware is Not Expensive?

Why would any customer put BusinessOne on HANA? BusinessOne is targeted towards smaller companies that purchase BusinessOne because it is relatively inexpensive. Why would a price sensitive company like this put BusinessOne on HANA, a database that is both expensive to buy, but also very expensive to maintain? Even the pricing Steve Lucas is putting forward here does not match the pricing list from SAP in any way.

“I am certain Oracle would cite that hardware is extra, so let’s cover it right now. HANA servers from certified partners like Fujitsu are available for as little as $12K. That’s because we don’t force our customers into one hardware stack and then overcharge for it. We have certified partners like IBM, HP, DELL and the list goes on and on for HANA. We believe that the Intel platform, combined with the continued commoditization cycle we’ve seen for the last 40 years in computing will win…period.”

Even if the hardware were free, it would not make up for the other costs associated with HANA. I was unaware that SAP hardware is somehow more cost-effective than hardware purchased for other applications.

“Even with rapid growth of data, 95% of enterprises use between 0.5TB – 40 TB of data today. For this market, at the low end (0.5 TB) the combined cost of hardware and software is approximately $500K and at the high end the pricing is comparable to Exalytics alone today. In a recent test, we ran a 16 node cluster of 100 TB of uncompressed data, read more in the SAP HANA Performance Whitepaper.”

I think Steve Lucas should have provided more detail. There are a lot of details to this. Exalytics is expensive, but HANA seems to work out as the most expensive database available. But HANA’s features and performance don’t match up very well to the databases that SAP compares it to.

SAP Will Win?

“As I said when I started this blog, SAP doesn’t usually comment on competitor FUD, but I wanted to pause and be clear. SAP will win this market because we rely on fact and figures, real performance and customer success.”

So far, SAP has not won in the database market. SAP has picked up market share, but it dramatically lags Oracle12c 5 years later. Of course, it is not clear what time horizon Steve Lucas was forecasting. According to DB Engine, a website which tracks the popularity of various databases based on things like media mention, support tickets, etc..HANA is only the 19th most popular database in current usage. This is right around MariaDB and Hive. Furthermore, looking at the popularity value, Oracle is 28 times more popular than HANA. And moreover, DB Engine is most likely overestimating HANA’s actual usage, because it is measuring things like media mentions, and SAP has an enormous ability to get media attention on HANA. For example, one hears less about applications like MariaDB that are far more widely used than HANA (and also free by the way)

SAP Delivers Innovation?

“We are going to continue to deliver real innovation and let customers decide who can better help them build the future, not continue to invest in re-packaging the past!”

SAP does not deliver innovation. They are a marketing company filled with blowhards like Steve Lucas that will say anything to continue to collect millions of dollars of stock options. This innovation narrative is becoming extremely old, and it overshadows real innovation which happens at other vendors, notably smaller vendors. At Brightwork we have given only four applications perfect scores for innovation, and none of them were large vendors.

Our Conclusion on Section 3

The same as our conclusion on Sections 1 & 2.

Overall Conclusion

Steve Lucas is an untrustworthy source of information on HANA. He was certainly not the right person to write this article, and it was one of the lowest quality and least honest articles I have read in a very long time.

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 Who Was Right and Wrong on HANA Content

References

https://db-engines.com/en/ranking

*https://blogs.saphana.com/2012/04/30/what-oracle-wont-tell-you-about-sap-hana/

The Real Story on ERP Book

ERPThe Real Story Behind ERP: Separating Fiction From Reality

How This Book is Structured

This book combines a meta-analysis of all of the academic research on the benefits of ERP, coupled with on project experience.

ERP has had a remarkable impact on most companies that implemented it. Unplanned expenses for customization, failed implementations, integration, and applications to meet the business requirements that ERP could not–have added up to a higher Total Cost of Ownership for ERP were all unexpected, and account control, on the part of ERP vendors — is now a significant issue affecting IT performance.

Break the Bank for ERP?

Many companies that have broken the bank to implement ERP projects have seen their KPIs go down— but the question is why this is the case. Major consulting companies are some of the largest promoters of ERP systems, but given the massive profits they make on ERP implementations — can they be trusted to provide the real story on ERP? Probably not, however, written by the Managing Editor of SCM Focus, Shaun Snapp — an author with many years of experience with ERP system. A supply chain software expert and well known for providing authentic information on the topics he covers, you can trust this book to provide all the detail that no consulting firm will.

By reading this book you will:

  • Examine the high failure rates of ERP implementations.
  • Demystify the convincing arguments ERP vendors use to sell ERP.
  • See how ERP vendors take control of client accounts with ERP.
  • Understand why single-instance ERP is not typically feasible.
  • Calculate the total cost of ownership and return on investment for your ERP implementation.
  • Understand the alternatives to ERP.

Chapters

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to ERP Software
  • Chapter 2: The History of ERP
  • Chapter 3: Logical Fallacies and the Logics Used to Sell ERP
  • Chapter 4: The Best Practice Logic for ERP
  • Chapter 5: The Integration Benefits Logic for ERP
  • Chapter 6: Analyzing The Logic Used to Sell ERP
  • Chapter 7: The High TCO and Low ROI of ERP
  • Chapter 8: ERP and the Problem with Institutional Decision Making
  • Chapter 9: How ERP Creates Redundant Systems
  • Chapter 10: How ERP Distracts Companies from Implementing Better Functionality
  • Chapter 11: Alternatives to ERP or Adjusting the Current ERP System
  • Chapter 12: Conclusion