Understanding SAP HANA
SAP HANA is a revolutionary platform based in the company’s new In-memory database.Learning it implies choosing to pursue a career path that is both fulfilling and exciting to work with. I am honored that you chose TeachMeHANA to assist you on this journey. TeachMeHANA delivers a series of tutorials designed for beginners that will steadily and surely make you an expert in the subject.
For those of you who are new to SAP, do read my post – What is SAP ?
Question before we go further – What is an In-Memory database?
An In-memory database is one that stores all of its data online or in its memory.Confused? Let’s explain this again with the most played out analogy.Now picture yourself turning on your laptop. You now want to work on a word document.
What do you do? Simple. Find that blue icon and give it a click. Then comes the wait.
The wait may be of a few seconds or more based on your configurations. After it opens, now close the program. Now go open it again. The wait this time would be really less at least compared to the first time you started it. What brought around this mystical change?
As shown in the figure, there are 3 components of your computer here. For your CPU to start executing your program, the required information should be available in your RAM. If the program was not called recently, the information would not be available here and would need to be picked up from the persistent disk – your hard drive. Consequently, when you call a program for the first time, the information is loaded to the RAM and then processed by the CPU. The second time when you called it, it was already there in the RAM and hence got processed really fast.
RAM access is really fast and any data present there is referred to as data in-memory.
Your hard disk storage is relatively slower in access but offers cheaper storage. The size of your RAM is a crucial factor in deciding how much of data you can keep In-memory and access really fast. But unfortunately, it’s not practical to expand the RAM size of a PC to be able to house all the data you access.
Realizing this, the good folks at SAP created an in-memory database that keeps all of the customer data online/in-memory. So, in a way you could picture this as a gigantic RAM running multiple cores of CPUs and hence delivering lightning fast response times.
Now before you throw your disks out for being a disappointment, it’s important to understand that the RAM is volatile memory, i.e. it loses its data on loss of power. Thus, it’s important for backups to be taken to persistent disks. Backups are scheduled jobs executed as per the configurations to make sure no data is lost in case of SAP HANA DB down times.
How exactly do Backups happen? We’ll discuss that in a different post.
The beauty of SAP HANA lies in the fact that it does most of its calculations in-memory at the database layer instead of the application layer as done traditionally. SAP HANA is not just a database. It consists of different engines that crunch calculations efficiently and return results to the application layer.
Due to this push-down of logic, the data latency (Time taken between request and response) is really small and that’s where the true magic lies.
SAP HANA opens up possibilities that were unimaginable with a traditional database which range from real-time status reporting of your inventories, online analysis of streaming data from sensors, unrivaled predictive analysis capabilities and many more.
Since you have taken the first step towards a career in SAP HANA, let me tell you exciting roads lie ahead.
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