SAP Performance Management, Meet HANA

Ann All

Updated · Mar 13, 2012

SAP today announced support for its HANA platform from the SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation (BPC) application, version for SAP NetWeaver. The announcement was made at Financials 2012, being held this week in Las Vegas. According to SAP, it will be the first enterprise performance management application to support the HANA-powered NetWeaver Business Warehouse .

SAP in November integrated HANA with the NetWeaver Business Warehouse for improved query performance and faster data loads. It also introduced new software designed to leverage HANA, including Customer Segmentation Accelerator software to allow marketing departments to quickly produce specific segmentations on high volumes of customer data.

The continued rollout of apps designed to leverage both HANA and the NetWeaver Business Warehouse is a sure sign of SAP’s future plans for its application portfolio.

Writing in a blog post, Jens Koerner, senior director of the SAP Enterprise Performance Management Regional Implementation Group for the Americas, lists some of the benefits gained by running the BPC app on the HANA platform. All application and front-end layers will stay the same, so users will not need to migrate their existing BPC environments. Running the app in an environment optimized for HANA also results in simpler cubes with less complex table structures, which means companies will experience faster performance for loading and reporting data.

To take full advantage of HANA, Koerner says SAP pushes calculations down into the HANA engine, executes them highly parallelized in-memory and transfers just the end-results back to the application server.

Excel and Web reporting, business process flows, drill-through, data loading and copying, and journal entries will be among the BPC functionality available on HANA, he says.

As Koerner explains, SAP is also rewriting internal BPC functions, with reporting the first planned function available in service pack 6 (SP6). He writes: “So, rather than calling the BW MDX engine, we will be calling the HANA TREX engine to execute most of our reports. (Reports with dimension member formulas, custom measures and on year-to-date applications are still following the traditional BW MDX path – for now.)”

He includes a graph that shows performance lab results for a report with 500,000 rows of data. The graph compares BPC on Oracle, BPC on HANA and BPC on HANA with the execution pushed into HANA via the new HANABPC add-on. Without the add-on, BPC on HANA makes the report run about 1.7 times faster than an Oracle database. With the add-on, however, the report runs about 21 times faster than Oracle, Koerner says.

The add-on that results in the greatest performance gains will be installed at BPC on HANA customers only, Koerner writes in his post. It contains new HANA-enabled BPC functions such as the report acceleration available in SP6.

It’s no coincidence the graph compares HANA with an Oracle database. SAP and Oracle have been engaged in a sometimes heated war of words over their different approaches to Big Data.

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    Ann All

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