Without a doubt, the primary benefit of HANA is the rapid delivery of analytics insights – especially in big-data scenarios, in which high performance is the key to calculate important metrics with little or no waiting time.
If you visit an SAP-related event this year, you will find that there are three dominant themes: HANA, HANA and HANA. As this is not just short-term hype, more and more SAP managers are keen to discover if HANA is the right fit for their organizations. Here are three of the most common questions that we have heard:
- What are the benefits that HANA offers, and which specific challenges can the solution help me to address?
- How can existing applications be migrated to the HANA platform?
- What is the total cost of the HANA migration likely to be?
In discussions with our customers, we have often heard that performance in proof-of-concept environments can be significantly better than performance in production. In some cases, customers have even told us that their analytics performance actually fell following a HANA deployment. Why might this be, and how can you avoid disappointing results in your own HANA project?
“If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
— James Arthur Baldwin
Your seven-step HANA migration plan
To avoid situations like the ones described above, we recommend the following steps:
1) Perform a comprehensive analysis of your systems.
This will enable you to create a full inventory of the data for analysis and identify vendor-specific code, offering a clearer view of the potential risks. Ensure that the BW / ERP fitness test is the first step on your HANA journey.
2) Set clear goals.
What do you want to achieve with HANA, and what key performance indicators will you use to measure your achievement? Make sure that you determine the opportunities and threats to meeting your goals ahead of time.
3) Cleanse your data, and separate hot and cold data.
It is very important to understand the usage frequency of the data in your systems. Migrating data that is never queried – i.e., cold data – into HANA can lead to higher analytics workloads, increasing direct and indirect costs.
4) Convert your ABAP code.
Once you have cleansed your data, you need to get your syntax into shape. Certain statements in custom-developed ABAP code will be a drag on performance within the HANA environment – for example, SELECT * SELECT SINGLE within a loop. You must eliminate these barriers to performance to exploit the full potential of your HANA solution. Virtual Forge offers automated solutions to accelerate ABAP code conversion – get in touch here for more information.
5) Optimize your ABAP code.
When it comes to HANA queries on custom-developed ABAP code, even the best hardware cannot compensate for inefficient programing. Statements such as WAIT are repeat-offenders. In a recent project, we found a WAIT 1800 command – meaning that the application waited for 30 minutes (not milliseconds, as skilled Java programmers might assume). By using hybrid analysis from CodeProfiler, you can achieve run-time improvements of up to 85% – click here to learn more.
6) Keep your ABAP code clean.
Once you have converted and optimized your ABAP code, the last thing you want is inefficient syntax creeping back in to harm the performance of your HANA environment. To help avoid this situation, CodeProfiler is fully integrated with ABAP Development Tools (ADT, Eclipse for ABAP) – enabling you to remediate errors proactively, and keep HANA firing on all cylinders.
7) Keep any new data clean.
Uncontrolled data growth is a serious threat to performance in the long term, and the final step to a successful HANA migration is planning for the future. Establish a robust data governance framework that prioritizes the way you treat new data based on its value to the business. By automating the governance process, you can protect the most valuable resource of all: your time.
How much will your HANA project cost?
Failure to prepare thoroughly will threaten your ability to realize the maximum cost-benefit of a HANA solution. From reading our migration recommendations, it should be clear that investing in HANA licenses and hardware is only worthwhile if you do the necessary homework.
In addition, long-term operational costs such as implementation, configuration and security monitoring should all be included in your total-cost-of-ownership calculations.
About this Article
This article was written in collaboration with our partner Virtual Forge who provide Security, Compliance and Quality products for SAP Systems and applications.