Characteristics That Make SAP HANA Use Cases Suitable for Cloud Deployment

Cross posted from my blog at the SAP Community Network

So I’ve decided to take an approach that might sound backwards: discussing use cases and opportunities for a certain deployment option of SAP HANA without first looking at business requirements. While I’d never start a business case this way, I think it’s instructive to decompose the technical characteristics of cloud applications, see how they mesh with the characteristics of SAP HANA applications, and relate these to potential requirements of use cases.

 Typical Characteristics of Cloud Applications

Those more familiar with traditional SAP HANA deployments may be less familiar with the world of native cloud applications.The best definition of cloud computing that I’ve seen was created by the National Institute of Standards. Part of this definition of cloud computing is 5 essential characteristics:

  • On-demand self-service
  • Broad network access
  • Resource pooling
  • Elasticity
  • Measured service

While the service model in which you subscribe to a cloud application may not provide the subscriber of a service all these characteristics, they are inherent in the supporting infrastructure.

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[SOURCE: From ASUG 2012 Annual Conference © SAP and Asuret, used with permission]

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[SOURCE: From ASUG 2012 Annual Conference © SAP and Asuret, used with permission]

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[SOURCE: From ASUG 2012 Annual Conference © SAP and Asuret, used with permission]

Applications Driving Cloud Adoption

In terms of applications that are driving adoption of cloud computing, I think it’s fair to say that Software as a Service is becoming the most common model of buying net new software applications.  On-demand access greatly simplifies and speeds deployment making it easier for customers to subscribe to software and for software companies to sell the applications. In my blog Sharing Research: What IT Managers and Business Managers Want in Cloud Computing usage scenarios that are driving adoption of cloud computing include the following requirements:

  • Faster deployment
  • Need to access superior technology and skills
  • Providing accessibility to application via multiple devices
  • Need to support collaboration between multiple groups or parties
  • Global accessibility

When you consider permutations of service models, deployment models, and technical features provided by different cloud services, it’s simply too much to catalog in a short blog. However , I cover these in my blogs:choosing a service level, and Turning Cloudy Chaos Into an IT StrategyParts III, and III. With regard to SAP HANA, if you are interested in being able to access the full range of features of SAP HANA, the service model that makes most sense is as an Infrastructure as a Service. In terms of deployment models, there are some SAP partners that provide outsourced private cloud access, and there is SAP HANA One on Amazon Web Services.

Characteristics of SAP HANA and “Big Data” Applications

As a completely re-imagined database, SAP HANA has many differentiating advantages over traditional relational databases. I’ll leave the specific feature descriptions of SAP HANA to the detailed supporting content in the Experience SAP HANA Community. However, the kinds of differentiating applications that leverage SAP HANA tend to share these types of characteristics: Need for extremely fast query results in situations such as:

  • Real time decision making by value comparison in high velocity input stream against a large data set
  • High degree of serial ad hoc queries
  • Complex many-to-many  data models
  • Comparisons between large unrelated data sets, particularly with unstructured data
  • Real time decision making based on predictive analytics

These characteristics exist in business process reporting functions, planning, forecasting, and optimization functions, and sense and respond applications. This means users of such applications can benefit from timely up to date information, work with this information in an interactive fashion, and even automate alerts and responses. Looking at the broader, not exactly precise term of “big data”, there are major forces that are driving creation and adoption of applications. Companies have barely scratched the potential surface, but essentially, they’re looking for the ability to store, serve, and react quickly to:

  • Existing gigantic historical data stores
  • High velocity data
  • Large amounts of unstructured and schematically unrelated data sources

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[SOURCE]

Some things driving this need for speed is:

  • Reacting in short windows of opportunity
  • In large networks of smart devices and digital sensors
  • To contents of increasing digital communication between humans, and machines.

You can learn a lot reading about the many different SAP HANA solutions and use cases already being developed.

Characteristics of Applications Right for SAP HANA and Cloud Computing

Not every SAP HANA application is right for being served in a public cloud. In fact, there are many that are not. However, there are usage scenarios, and some applications that can benefit from a public cloud deployment model. In fact, I bet there are a number of applications that need such a deployment option to be viable. Let’s consider the cloud and SAP HANA & big data application characteristics side-by-side:

Cloud Application Characteristics and Drivers SAP HANA and Big Data Application Characteristics and Drivers
  • On-demand self-service
  • Broad network access
  • Resource pooling
  • Elasticity
  • Measured service
  • Faster deployment
  • Need to access superior technology and skills
  • Providing accessibility to application via multiple devices
  • Need to support collaboration between multiple groups or parties
  • Global accessibility
  • Real time decision in high velocity input stream against a large data set
  • High degree of serial ad hoc queries
  • Complex many-to-many  data models
  • Comparisons between large unrelated data sets, particularly with unstructured data
  • Real time decision making based on predictive analytics
  • Existing gigantic historical data stores
  • Large networks of smart devices and digital sensors
  • Contents of increasing digital communication between humans, and machines.

 

Tagging SAP HANA “Cloud” and “SAP HANA One” Use Cases

With these in mind, consider different use cases you think about. Would your SAP HANA use case benefit from being available without needing extensive implementations of on premise hardware and software? Are your applications just needed some of the time in a quarter or year? These are examples of requirements that are ably met by cloud deployments.

We are adding the tags ‘cloud’ and ‘SAP_HANA_One’ for use cases we think might be good for cloud deployments and specifically SAP HANA One.

Check out the use cases we’ve tagged.

Can you think of any new use cases or good ideas that match characteristics listed above?

Trackbacks

  1. […] A deployment option in the cloud for SAP HANA via SAP HANA One can also provide a degree of elasticity for such a vision. […]

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