How to Stupidly Use SAP HANA

Executive Summary

  • HANA is being recommended to be used in very ineffective ways by SAP and their consulting partners.
  • We review these recommendations.


In this article, we will cover how SAP is pitching HANA for the most inappropriate uses.

Stupid Uses for SAP HANA

SAP is feverishly pitching HANA for all types of inappropriate and wasteful uses. I am getting information about SAP CRM being placed on HANA. for what reason?

Let us stop to think. Who would put CRM on HANA?


This is just about one of the silliest uses of HANA. CRM systems have very low requirements. Honestly, one can barely justify even using a CRM system versus a spreadsheet. Why would one need such fast read access for a CRM system?

HANA for Big Data?

So SAP has HANA to offer in the Big Data space, but HANA can’t possibly be a good use for Big Data because it is not for unstructured data and it is quite expensive, and it is priced per GB or TB. This topic is covered in the article The Secret to Not Talking About HANA Pricing. SAP’s argument is that HANA can be connected to Hadoop using Vora, but why would Hadoop need HANA? And is it really a Big Data database if it just connects to a real Big Data database that does all the heavy lifting?

On G2Crowd, SAP is not even listed on Big Data processing ratings, in which Hadoop, Cloudera, HortonWorks, and DataBricks are the top rated.

HANA for the Enterprise Data Warehouse?

None of this background has stopped SAP from proposing companies use HANA as the EDW. And when SAP proposes using HANA for the EDW, they also mean using an SAP data application to sit on top of HANA.

  • Expense: The first problem is that HANA is still so expensive that it is not financially feasible in most cases to push so much data inside of it. HANA’s high TCO is not merely related to its license cost, but to its hardware requirements, its high implementation and maintenance overhead, the difficulty in finding experienced skills and its immaturity.
  • 100% In Memory for an EDW?: Much of the data in an EDW does not require the performance capabilities of an in-memory database. In memory databases really only make sense for supporting databases that have a high query volume, not data stores that are used to feed the queried database.
  • Migrating All Data to Column Oriented Tables for Storage?: Most data in companies is not stored in the column-oriented tables that are used in HANA. For this reason, moving data into a HANA “powered” Enterprise Data Warehouse would mean changing the data from its original storage structure into the HANA structures. This is an unnecessary and overcomplicated amount of work and overhead to maintain, before one even gets to the question of what SAP product should be used. SAP BW is too high in overhead to be an effective EDW tool, and Business Objects has been so starved of development by SAP, that it is no longer an application that companies should be considered for investment due to competitiveness and support issues. And once one eliminates these two data applications, there is nothing else that SAP offers that could fill this role to interoperate with HANA, even if HANA were a good choice for being the EDW database.


CRM, Big Data, for use with S/4HANA (another inappropriate usage of HANA) SAP is a high expense read access only database. That is the only thing it does well. If one has high read access needs, then maybe HANA is for you. So HANA for BW, Business Objects of Lumira. But that is the extent of the rational use.

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