Recently, I sat down with two SAP HANA evangelists – Mike Lampa, Global Practice Lead for Dell Services Business Intelligence practice and Jeffrey Word, Vice President of Product Strategy at SAP – to discuss how organizations can harness the power of in memory databases and analytics with joint solutions from Dell and SAP.

This is part two of our conversation. We’ll cover the various ways to add SAP HANA to your database and analytics environment. Check out part one to learn about the capabilities and performance of the SAP HANA platform.

We’ve talked about the potential doors SAP HANA can open from a platform perspective. What kinds of deployment scenarios are you seeing in practice?

Jeff:

We are seeing four major implementation scenarios for SAP HANA:

The first scenario, we call the “Accelerator” or “Side Car” use case. In this model, we copy data and production tables to an SAP HANA database and then redirect the application’s reporting and analytics transactions to use SAP HANA for these queries. Users don’t know that anything has changed, but it runs insanely fast. This model is very popular with current SAP customers because it addresses specific pain points in their SAP systems due to database I/O constraints.

The “Agile Data Mart” scenario is also quite popular. In this case, we start with an empty SAP HANA database and populate it with data from three to four disparate systems to generate integrated reporting and analytics. In this case, we’re not building a full-scale data warehouse, but we are building a powerful data mart designed to address a specific need or business challenge. Customers typically implement a Business Objects front end to the data mart and give folks access to unrestricted ad hoc analysis. This “agile data mart” does not need to include any SAP applications either; approximately 40% of our SAP HANA customers are doing this without any other SAP applications installed!

The third scenario is probably the most exciting for existing SAP customers. It’s the first real SAP solution that runs entirely on SAP HANA.  SAP NetWeaver BW was released last fall and was generally available in May 2012. Customers can  move all of their current SAP BW data to SAP HANA and turn off the old database. Now it’s 1,000 times faster. BW is such a beastly resource drag on the database, and SAP HANA makes almost every possible performance issue with the system go away. We are seeing a stampede of current SAP NetWeaver BW customers signing up to get migrated to SAP HANA.

Finally, customers can build new applications using an SAP HANA database. Programmers can write a new application using Java or .NET application or whatever development tool they prefer. These are transactional applications running on SAP HANA - not just analytical applications. SAP HANA can seamlessly replace databases supporting current applications, as well.

The possible scenarios cover a lot of territory. What are you hearing from current and potential SAP HANA users?

Mike:

Building agile data marts with SAP HANA excites customers that already have a significant investment in their existing data warehouse. Part of their challenge is that it is taking too long to get value and innovation back to the business. So, when we come in with SAP HANA, we start to offload these beastly jobs to this new platform that eliminates performance and development constraints.

BW to HANA will be a Rapid Deployment Solution offered soon by Dell. SAP NetWeaver BW customers love this path. Also, it is traditionally challenging to integrate non-SAP data into BW, but now they can start to take advantage of the capabilities of an agile data mart. They have the BW data running on SAP HANA and now they can start to easily integrate non-sap data.

New applications piece is the one that’s going to be really exciting. When people start to write transactional applications, they’ll realize that they don’t have to develop a separate set of projects and ecosystems for analytics.     

 

How does impact IT efficiency and innovation?

Jeff

IT takes an entirely different role in the enterprise now that they have this ability to so rapidly provision capabilities – nearly at the speed of thought from the business. They don’t have to tell the business that it will take $50 million and two years. That entirely changes the interaction mode of IT. It becomes a strategic enabler of the enterprise.

The design of the SAP HANA database also eliminates about 50% of traditional DBA functions. At least half of what a DBA does in a traditional database is performance tuning. Those functions don’t exist – they can’t even be done in SAP HANA. You can’t speed it up and you can’t slow it down. That allows DBAs to focus much more on the really value-added stuff – adding more value into the data architecture. We’re also automating most of the routine management using third party tools.

It is really simple to build applications using SAP HANA, because it’s just SQL. IT can write apps in whatever language it prefers, and there isn’t much that programmers need to know about SAP HANA to do that. However, a little bit of knowledge will go a long way to help them take advantage of it’s unique capabilities. It takes a philosophical change to take advantage of the new paradigm of how SAP HANA operates.

Mike:

Data architects – especially those guys that “get” the business – now have the opportunity to become much more involved in process engineering and concentrate more on collaboration. They can focus their energies on looking for ways to improve processes and optimize the organization rather than the logistics of data aggregation and OLAP modeling.

 

Learn more about Dell’s SAP HANA solution at www.dell.com/hana.

Participant bios:

Mike Lampa is a Global Practice Lead for Dell Services Business Intelligence practice. Prior to joining Dell in 2008, Mike owned a data warehouse consulting practice for 14 years, providing BI and data warehousing solutions to Fortune 1000 companies in the high-tech manufacturing, telecommunications and financial services industries. Mike has over 30 years of practitioner’s experience and is a sought-after business leader, speaker and educator.

 

Jeffrey Word, Ph.D. is a Vice President at SAP. Mr. Word has more than 18 years experience in business and IT strategy working for Fortune 1000 companies. Over the last several years he has worked on technology strategy with focus on corporate process improvement initiatives and enterprise architecture design. His newest book, SAP HANA Essentials was released in spring 2012.