Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Roger Strukhoff, Jason Bloomberg, Glenn Rossman

Related Topics: Virtualization, Java, SOA & WOA, PowerBuilder, SAP, Cloud Expo

Virtualization: Article

SAP HANA’s Real Time Challenge to the Oracle Empire

Real-time In-Memory platform presents a groundbreaking approach

When the character Maverick from the movie Top Gun exclaimed, "I feel the need, the need for speed", you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a sound bite from a CIO discussing their transactional databases. Whether it's a financial organization predicting share prices, a bank knowing whether it can approve a loan or a marketing organisation reaching consumers with a compelling promotional offer, the need to access, store, process and analyze data as quickly as possible is an imperative for any business looking to gain a competitive edge. Hence when in 2011, SAP announced their new in-memory platform HANA for enterprise applications everyone took note as they coined the advantage of real-time analytics. SAP HANA promised to not just make databases dramatically faster like traditional business warehouse accelerator systems but instead speed up the front end, enabling companies to run arbitrary, complex queries on billions of records in a matter of seconds as opposed to hours. The vendors of old legacy traditional databases were facing a major challenge, most notably the king of them all...Oracle.

The Birth and Emergence of Big Data
Back in the days of mainframe, you'd find the application and transactional data of reporting databases physically stored in the same system. This was due to applications, operating systems and databases being designed to maximize their hardware resources, which consequently meant you couldn't process transactions and process report simultaneously. The bottleneck here was cost, in that if you wanted to scale you needed another mainframe.

After the advent of client servers where applications could run on a centralized database server via multiple and cost effective servers, scalability was achieved by simply adding additional application servers. Regardless, of this a new bottleneck was quickly established with systems relying on a single database server and requests from ever increasing application servers that ended up causing I/O stagnation. This problem became exasperated with OLTP (online transaction processing), where report creation required the system to concurrently read multiple tables in the database. Added to this servers and processors kept getting faster while disks (despite the emergence of SSD) were quickly becoming the bottleneck to automated processes that were producing large amounts of data that concurrently resulted in more report requests.

The net effect was a downward spiral where the increase of users requiring an increase of reports from the databases meant an increase in huge amounts of data being requested from disks that simply weren't up to the job. When you then factored in the data proliferation of external users caused by the Internet and pressure inducing laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley, the demand to analyze even more data even quicker has reached fever point. With data and user volumes increasing by a factor of thousands compared to the I/O capability of databases, the transaction-based industry faced a challenge that required a dramatic shift and change.  Cue the 2011 emergence of SAP's HANA.

Real-Time In Memory Platform Presents a Groundbreaking Approach
One of the major advantages of SAP HANA's ability to run in real time is that it offers a non-requirement for data redundancy as it's built to run as a single database. With clusters of affordable and scalable servers, transactional and analytical data are run on the same database, hence eliminating different types of databases for different application needs. Oracle on the other hand has built an empire on exactly the opposite.

Oracle has thrived on a model where generally companies start with a simple database that's utilized for checking sales orders and ensuring product delivery to customers but as the business grows they need more databases with different and more demanding functions. Functions such as managing customer relationships, complex reporting and analysis drives a need for new databases that are separate from the actual business requiring data to be moved from one system to another. Eventually you have a sprawl of databases as existing ones are unable to handle the workloads making it almost impossible to track data movements yet alone attain real time updates. So while the Oracle marketing machine is also pitching the benefits of in-memory via its Exalytics appliance and in-memory database, TimesTen, Oracle are certainly in no rush to break this traditional model of database sprawl and the money-spinning licenses that come with it.

Looking closely at the Oracle Exalytics / TimesTen package, despite the hype, it merely is just an add-on product meaning that an end user will still need a license for the transactional database, another license for the data warehouse database and yet another license for TimesTen for Oracle Exalytics.

Moreover, the Oracle bolt-on approach serves to sell more of their hardware commodity and in some ways perversely justify their acquisition of SUN Microsystems, all at the expense of the customer. Due to the Exalytics approach continuing the traditional requirement for transactional data to be duplicated from the application to the warehouse and once again to Exalytics, the end user not only ends up with three copies of the data, they also have to have three levels of storage and servers. In contrast SAP HANA is designed to be a single database that runs both transactional applications and Business Warehouse deployments. Not only does SAP HANA's one copy of data replace the two or three required for Oracle it also eliminates the need for materialized views, redundant aggregates and indexes leaving a significantly reduced data footprint.

Comparing HANA to Oracle's TimesTen and Exalytics
As expected Oracle have already initiated their FUD team with bogus claims and untruths against HANA as well as even pushing their TimesTen as a like for like comparison. Where this is hugely flawed is that they fail to acknowledge or admit that SAP HANA is a completely groundbreaking design as opposed to a bolt-on approach.  With SAP HANA data is completely managed and accessed in RAM consequently doing away with the requirement of MOLAP, multiple indexes and other tuning features that Oracle pride themselves on.

Furthermore, despite the Oracle FUD, SAP HANA does indeed handle both unstructured and structured data, as well as utilise parallel queries for scaling out across server nodes. In this instance Oracle are trying hard to create the most confusion and subsequently detract the market from realizing that the TimesTen with Exalytics package still can't scale out beyond the 1TB RAM limit unlike SAP HANA where each container can store up to 500TB of data all executable at high speed.

With an aggressive TCO and ROI model compared to a traditional Oracle deployment, SAP HANA also proves a lot more cost effective. With pricing based on an incremental of 64GB RAM and the total amount of data held in memory, licenses are fully inclusive of production and test/development requirements as well as the necessary tools.

SAP HANA's Embracing of VMware
Furthermore with Oracle's belligerent stance towards VMware and the cost savings it brings to end users, SAP on the other hand has embraced it.  The recent announcement that SAP HANA is supporting VMware vSphere will provide them a vast competitive advantdge, as it will enable customers to provision instances of SAP HANA in minutes as VM templates, as well as gain benefits such as Dynamic Resource Scheduling and vSphere vMotion. By virtualizing SAP HANA with VMware, end users can quickly have several smaller HANA instances all sharing a single physical server leading to better utilization of existing resources. With the promise of certified preconfigured and optimised converged infrastructures such as the Vblock around the corner, SAP HANA appliances could be shipped with vSphere 5 and SAP HANA pre-installed within days, enabling rapid deployment for businesses.

The Business Benefits of Real-Time
With business and transactions being done in real time, SAP HANA ensures that the data and the analytics that come with them are also in real time. The process of manually polling data from multiple systems and sorting them through are inadequate in a time when businesses are facing unpredictable economic conditions and volatile demand and complex supply chains. The need is for real time metrics that are aligned to supply and demand where a retailers' shelves can accurately and immediately be stocked eliminating unnecessary inventory costs, lost sales opportunities and failed product launches. Being able to instantly analyze data at any level of granularity enables a business to quickly respond to these market insights and take decisive actions such as transferring inventory between distribution centers based on expected sales or altering the prices of promotions based on customer demand. Instead of waiting for processes that take hours, days or even weeks, SAP HANA's real time capabilities enable businesses to react in real time to incidents.

Ultimately SAP HANA is a revolutionary step forward that will empower organizations to focus more on the business and less on the infrastructure that supports them. With the promise of new applications being built by SAP to support real time decision making as well being able to run existing applications, SAP HANA presents the opportunity to not only transform a business but also the underlying technology that supports it.

More Stories By Archie Hendryx

SAN, NAS, Back Up / Recovery & Virtualisation Specialist.

@CloudExpo Stories
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In their General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate at SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, to discuss how to take advantage of a multitude of compute option...
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every appli...
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Exp...
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your de...
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e....
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? I...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using...
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the...
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speak...
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful devic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual C...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to bui...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic instit...
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.
The consumption economy is here and so are cloud applications and solutions that offer more than subscription and flat fee models and at the same time are available on a pure consumption model, which not only reduces IT spend but also lowers infrastructure costs, and offers ease of use and availability. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, will discuss this shifting dynamic with ...
The emergence of cloud computing and Big Data warrants a greater role for the PMO to successfully manage enterprise transformation driven by these powerful trends. As the adoption of cloud-based services continues to grow, a governance model is needed to orchestrate enterprise cloud implementations and harness the power of Big Data analytics. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mahesh Singh, President of BigData, Inc., to discuss how the Enterprise PMO takes center stage not only in developing th...
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research dat...