July 26, 2012 // By: Dr. Matthias Merz, Camelot IT Lab // Two Ways to Speed Up with HANA
The advantages of using SAP HANA as a database in a BW system are plentiful. As well as benefiting from high-speed access to data – thanks to in-memory technology – you no longer need to create aggregates or build indexes on InfoCubes. Data-loading processes are simpler and execution is significantly quicker. Thanks to the column-based data storage approach, you have rapid access to individual key figures and you can model aggregate functions such as “total figure” and “average figure”, which is particularly important if you are working with a large number of datasets. As a result, you do not need to use other hardware solutions to accelerate reporting. In fact, we anticipate that SAP HANA will replace SAP BW Accelerator completely.
Further performance gains can be achieved by shifting complex calculation operations to the database layer and adapting the application logic accordingly. SAP is realizing this approach through the SAP HANA-optimized InfoProviders that it has introduced in BW 7.3. Using an “in-memory- optimized InfoCube”, for example, leads to enormous speed gains when loading data, because the SAP HANA technology has made it possible to significantly simplify the data model for this type of InfoCube. At the same time, improvements have been made to the delta-set generation logic in the SAP HANA-optimized DataStore objects to make the data activation process much faster.
Applying such attributes as “powerful” and “best-in-class”, SAP is keen to emphasize that customers can lower their operating costs by deploying SAP HANA. Only time will tell whether this really is the case or not. After all, it is worth bearing in mind that deploying SAP HANA involves one-time migration costs, as well as new licensing and hardware costs. And, in many cases, employees who are responsible for the BW system require training.