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Enterprise Software veteran, with over twenty years' experience on every side of of business, from user and buyer to VP, CEO and Board Member roles; from Procter & Gamble to Oracle, SAP and OQO. Founder of the OracAlumni Network.
Aactively tracks the trends and strategies of the enterprise software world, shares his news digest and analysis at Next Gen Enterprise.

32 responses to “SAP HANA Makes Progress and Threatens Oracle”

  1. Vijay Vijayasankar

    Great blog as always, Dennis.
    Just a few comments

    1. At the moment, the only scale out solution is the one IBM offers as I understand (I work there). It is not clear if any of the POCs SAP did for customers have a scale out scenario. We are not really talking big data with HANA yet – as in petabytes.

    2. Not sure if ORCL feels any heat from HANA yet, or if they will any time soon either. For one – HANA needs to mature as a DB for BW, and that needs time. And even if all technical stuff gets sorted out, it may be very difficult to get out of ORCL licenses without financial implications that make such a move unattractive.

    3. ORCL, DB2 etc have a head start on the DB game, and it is not easy for a hither to non Db company to catchup. SAP has some very smart people leading the charge, so it is not impossible – but still quite an uphill task. ORCL will not sit around doing nothing. If ORCL does come up with a competing technology to HANA, it will make SAP’s life quite difficult.

    4. Even if SAP displaces ORCL from 25% of BW instal base – it is a very small number. BW only has 16000 installations or something the world over. Will losing 4000 of that make ORCL feel any pain?

    5. I think once HANA can go as DB for business suite – there is a potential to give ORCL a run for their money. But will SAP take a stance that it will only support HANA as a DB for SAP products says 5 years from now? or will they continue to support open connections to any DB? Technology alone might not be the deciding factor in the end game either.

  2. Jean-michel Franco

    I think you hit the right point in mentioning the cost vs Oracle. However, I feel there is a lot of clarification needed in this area to see if Hana can compete against Oracle in terms of TCO :
    – license cost : my understanding is that many SAP customers have contracted their DB in the context of their overall SAP contract. That means that if they are using Oracle for their ERP, Oracle is the only DB they can use with BW with no extra price. If this understanding is correct, this puts a huge challenge for SAP if they want to retire Oracle from their accounts because customers would have to unplug Oracle from all their SAP instance before recovering their Oracle maintenance costs
    – cost of Hana vs Exalogic. I didn t see any papers focusing on The TCO of Hana. If they exist, I would be highly interested.

  3. Robert

    Dennis, at the heart of HANA is TREX. This was never acquired, but a genuine SAP innovation.

  4. Vital BI

    Dennis, you seem to make a statement about exceptional HANA’s price/performance ratio based on the opinions, and not facts. So far perfectly-oiled SAP marketing machine for HANA produces excellent adoption of the ideas, but we still lack facts – in both TCO (cost) and performance areas. HANA future in SAP installations is very promising, but we still to see its potential on the open market.
    To your discussion with Vijay (because of short time I will touch only 1st point): Yes, the moment you partition the data there is an overhead of data movements between nodes and data consolidation. The issue is even with single node servers – some memory areas are further from CPU than others, i.e. we are dealing with NUMA. That’s why SAP keeps investigating the build of huge machines (one presented at TechEd was 5TB RAM prototype) using 3rd party ScaleMP software, which allows to see distributed memory as one continiuos area.
    PS. Oracle’s DW appliance is Exadata, not Exalogic.

  5. scott

    Curious to hear who you think will be the early adopters of Hana? What types of companies? What types of industries, etc. Thank you,

  6. John Appleby

    Few clarifications Dennis as I think there are quite a few inaccuracies:

    1) Your pricing is off – both for hardware and software. Your hardware cost is high and software cost is low. Software could easily be $10-20m for a high-end HANA appliance. Your guess on services is about right for a simple pilot – note that the services cost will vary wildly based on the complexity of the app!

    2) I don’t believe there are any 2TB appliances certified yet (though your pricing on memory is correct). There is also technically no scale-out (larger than 1TB) appliance available yet although IBM claim they have one. It’s not scale-out though, but rather scale-up – based on the expandable (and expensive) IBM x3950 platform. That said, this is likely to change soon.

    3) I believe that your compression figures are way off. If you have a 10TB uncompressed Oracle datamart, then it will typically compress 2:1 – so 5TB compressed. This will typically be a 1TB SAP HANA database. Note that if you export this same 10TB uncompressed Oracle database to ASCII, it will also be about 1TB. So there is actually *NO* compression from ASCII flat file to HANA database.

    4) Your Oracle licensing point is very subjective unfortunately, since many customers either license Oracle for 11% of their SAP license fee as an annual subscription, or via a global license agreement. I’ve not encountered a SAP customer yet that would save any Oracle license revenue by implementing SAP HANA – although obviously if you replace all your SAP Oracle databases, you could indeed save your 11% per annum. So Oracle don’t have anything to worry about here yet.

    5) I’m not sure on the Exadata vs HANA performance comparison – it’s very subjective. I suspect that for many apps, both provide excellent gains, and Exadata is already certified as the RDBMS for NetWeaver, which is neat. That said, HANA ought to massively outperform Exadata for complex calculations on large data sets – although benchmarks are obviously nowhere to be found!

    By the way, I like the article and I agree with the conclusions, although it is unclear so far what the maturity curve is for SAP customers considering running HANA on BW. Please remember that for most SAP customers, BW is business-critical. Not business-critical like store replenishments or manufacturing process, but business-critical in terms of month-end financial process, for example. As a result, many BW customers will be risk-averse.

  7. Basha

    dear expert,
    presently i’m learning sap-bw/bi.i want to start my career with sap bw/bi.but now many of people saying that sap-hana will kill sap-bw/bi in coming one or two years.Is it true?
    let me know about this overall confusion.please reply me as early as possible.


  8. Amit


    i m new to asp hana..How to start with sap hana
    How to istal the s/w in my system
    I want to have hana on top of Oracle,how can i pull real time data from oracle to hana

  9. Cengiz Kaya

    Nice explanations, however there are some wrong descriptions.
    1. HANA is not a replacement for Exadata.
    2. Pricing is totally wrong, the full Exadata costs around 1.5 mil. usd. That is a database server, which you can consolidate your data not only for performance but stability, availability and security.
    3. As long as you run your SAP ERP on Oracle you shoud go on paying 11% maintenance, so you will not save anything.
    4. We migrated SAP systems to Exadata and the data is compressed 10x.
    5. The ERP and the BW performances are at least 20x better. the backup performance is 10x better.
    6. HANA is just an application server, serving between the DB server and the clients.


    1. Dennis Moore

      Sorry for the late reply – just saw your comment for some reason.

      1. Well, there are plenty of use cases where HANA is an alternative to Exadata.
      2. Moving target – depends on config, but that’s a reasonable assumption.
      3. Don’t agree on this one.
      4. 10x on Exadata? You are very lucky compared to the other Exadata customers with whom I spoke.
      5. What is 20x better? ERP and BW on Exadata? Again, you are very lucky (or very good, or not entirely honest) compared to the other Exadata customers with whom I spoke.
      6. Not true.

  10. Wow

    160K EUR + 15% to Oracle for SAP HANA Enteprise Edition 64GB RAM Unit.

    1 TB HANA EE cost = 2 560 000 EUR + 384 000 for DB = 2 944 000 EUR = 3 Milllion Euro.

    Funny isn’t.

  11. Piss Offed Reader

    Thanks Cengiz, it’s nice to finally see something on here that isn’t biased. I like how much Oracle is neglected and undermined by you guys due to being sponsored by Workday. And not only against Oracle but if any company and Workday are mentioned in the same blog post, then all I see is the other company being bashed. I came on here for influencer analysis that is independent so I can make an informed purchase, but I guess I came to the wrong “Independent” blog with a hidden agenda. Tell Workday they have lost a potential customer.

    1. Dennis Moore

      POR –

      FWIW, I am not in any way sponsored by Workday.I have written only one blog ever on Workday, and it was mostly positive but did not compare it to any other ERP product. Unlike most other Enterprise Irregulars, I use Workday at work, and on the whole I like it.

      Thanks anyway …

  12. andre

    looks like oracle is not the only target, SAP just moved on Microsoft as well