Today, SAP Hana can be used in a wide range of capabilities and use cases, and it is fair to say that SAP is betting its future on the success of its new flagship technology. Of course, there are many other in-memory products available in the market, such as those from Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Pivotal and Teradata, and analytics appliances as well as integration middleware or cloud services. The most common SAP Hana use case scenario in the market today is as a high-speed in-memory data mart.
Other use cases include SAP Hana as a database, analytics appliance, integration middleware, application server, development environment and a cloud platform. In many straightforward scenarios, customers of SAP Hana continue to do the same reporting on the same set of data sources but with significant acceleration, by a factor of 100 to 1,000-plus, depending on the specific scenario.
In most cases, customers are not replacing their existing large data warehouse with SAP Hana because of cost and limitations on large-scale data warehouse implementation, but are complementing it to support near real-time analytics and new business insights. However, other examples exist where some customers have consolidated their heterogeneous smaller data warehouse landscape on SAP Hana, to the extent that sizing allows. Today, the largest SAP Hana implementations go beyond 10 TB, although most are between 1 TB and 5 TB. SAP has internally tested SAP Hana to scale to 100 TB.
Advice on deploying Hana
Application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals need to understand the full spectrum of Hana capabilities and use cases and build a long-term vision and roadmap for their company that leverages investments and provides a platform for real-time business transformation. If you start by accelerating your existing reports using Hana as an in-memory data mart, consider, as a next step, using it as an analytics appliance for some advanced analytic technologies, such as predictive, that run natively within Hana. SAP Hana can be expensive, and organizations need to understand the return on investment before committing to a long-term strategy. AD&D professionals need to understand what license their company currently holds for SAP Hana (if any) and what license is required for the first use case to get started. IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Teradata also offer in-memory database options that are viable for non-SAP sources. These alternate solutions offer in-memory solutions to deliver high-performance analytics and operational reporting.
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