How an SAP HANA Sidecar Becomes a High Overhead Item

Executive Summary

  • SAP created a concept of an SAP HANA sidecar which was designed to get customers to implement uncompetitive or immature solutions.
  • The benefit of the free SAP HANA sidecar is one example of this.

Introduction

The SAP HANA sidecar was presented as an important step to using HANA very aggressively in 2013, and less so since then. In this article you will learn SAP’s logic behind a sidecar, and whether the logic actually holds up.

What is an SAP HANA Sidecar?

An SAP HANA sidecar is where HANA is run as an offline system. The offline nature of the SAP HANA sidecar is critical to understanding the overall concept, as the concept being that HANA is first tested offline before being brought online.

Here you can see a standard graphic that shows a HANA sidecar design.

Using the “sidecar”, the data is replicated to HANA. This is to be a precursor to actually replacing the current database, called AnyDB to reflect it being Oracle or IBM, etc.. with HANA.

Why this database is being replaced in the first place is an interesting question as Oracle, HANA and MS are constantly updating their databases and there is no evidence presented by SAP that HANA outperforms other databases even in analytics, as we cover in the article What is HANA’s Actual Performance and Articles that Exaggerate HANA’s Benefits. But SAP continues to use uses false compatibility claims to push customers to HANA. They do this even when there is no evidence for HANA outperforming the database it is replacing.

Here is a typical quotation from SAP on this topic that tries to ease companies into moving towards HANA, without providing evidence that moving to HANA makes sense.

“Customers can add new analytics capabilities immediately without disruption to their existing landscape. Any investment today will be valid for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA.”

The logic often presented by SAP is that if SAP offers an item, that it naturally should move moved to.

Benefits of the SAP HANA Sidecar?

And here is another promoting the benefits of this design.

“The way the current SAP systems work is, the data is transferred from database to application layer and calculations are performed in application layer. Here you have significant latency between disk to memory transfer and then calculations in application layer. HANA database on the other hand is optimized for mass parallel processing and performs calculations in the database layer and only submits a result set to the application.” – HANA Discussion Thread

There are several important questions to ask regarding this comment.

  • Is This True?: This idea of using a stored procedure for processing has been proposed for quite some time. However, the main reason that SAP promotes this concept is so they can reduce the compatibility of their applications with other database vendors, that is databases other than HANA.
  • Superior Performance?: As explained in the article What is the Actual Performance of HANA?, there is no evidence that HANA outperforms other comparable databases. In fact, the evidence appears to point in the opposite direction. And these comparable databases are able to achieve this performance without stored procedures.

What is the Overhead of the SAP HANA Sidecar?

One of the greatly underemphasized points is that this replication of data between the active system and the sidecar is quite a bit of overhead. This is of course minimized by those who propose using the SAP HANA sidecar. To explain this overhead, we will review the requirements of the sidecar.

Here are a few of the requirements in order to achieve data replication for a HANA sidecar.

  1. “Data must be loaded from the current database to HANA database using any of the existing replication scenarios (DXC, Data Services, SLT) or ABAP custom code.
  2. If you require real-time loading into HANA sidecar you will still need SLT or have custom code that loads to HANA via secondary database connection every time a change is triggered
  3. Custom ABAP programs are needed to be able to connect to HANA database and retrieve/insert/update data
  4. To fully optimize the performance of HANA as a sidecar, all custom ABAP code must be optimized to run SQLSCRIPT in order to fully utilize the HANA calculation (refer to part_2 blog for more details)
  5. HANA only runs on SUSE LINUX SP11 so if your current hardware/os does not include SUSE LINUX you will need get hardware specifically for HANA” – HANA Discussion Thread

The Project Duration of HANA as a Sidecar

A typical HANA implementation will take between 1 year and 1.5 years to finally migrate. This means that the customer has to run the sidecar this period of time and absorb the cost of doing so. This is a longer duration than is pitching by SAP account executives, and it is one reason why HANA’s TCO is so high.

Conclusion

SAP sidecars can be viewed as a sales strategy to push immature applications into prospects and customers by taking the solution “off-line.” The idea being presented by SAP is that the sidecar allows the customer to incorporate “innovation” into companies. However, the overall presentation is a problem. One major reason is that the buyer beings investing from when they buy the sidecar software, and this can easily lead to “sunk cost” decision making where the customer continues to invest in a solution. That is the sidecar can very easily become “project quicksand.” And this is, of course, the objective of those that present sidecars.

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.

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References

https://archive.sap.com/discussions/thread/3376303

https://events.asug.com/2013AC/Business%20Intelligence/4011%20Leverage%20SAP%20HANA%20Analytics%20Foundation%20to%20Bring%20Operational%20Reporting%20to%20the%20Next%20Level%20Using%20SAPs%20Suite%20Content.pdf

Risk Estimation and Calculation

Risk Estimation and Calculation

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