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Developing with Advanced In-Memory Data Analytics — Using a Laptop?

SAP HANA, Express Edition, Lets Anyone Explore In-Memory Capabilities

by Dr. Zhibin (Jordan) Cao | SAPinsider, Volume 18, Issue 3

August 16, 2017

SAP HANA is more than just an in-memory database — it integrates data access, advanced analytical processing and application development in a single platform — and is a compelling option for companies seeking to gain an edge in a highly competitive economy. Despite its advantages, however, some may be hesitant to explore an SAP HANA implementation due to concerns about the potential resource investments involved. Learn how SAP HANA, express edition, offers developers, analysts, and data engineers a simplified version of the software that allows them to create innovative applications without expensive hardware configurations or not-yet-needed features.  

With the growing demand for timely and more accurate information, many companies are turning to new technology such as SAP HANA to process data faster and gain a competitive edge. More than just an in-memory database, SAP HANA integrates data access, advanced analytical processing, and application development capabilities in a single platform.

The market desire for SAP HANA is clear, but some companies may be hesitant to explore an implementation out of concern for the time, effort, or technical resources involved. With SAP HANA, express edition, developers, analysts, and data engineers can begin their SAP HANA journey with a simplified version that allows them to create innovative applications that leverage in-memory computing for real-time results. 

What Is the Express Edition?

The express edition of SAP HANA is a streamlined version that runs on resource-constrained machines such as personal laptops, desktops, and smaller server instances that are on premise or in the cloud. Because they share the same code base, the express edition contains the same core functionalities, database features, and application development features as the enterprise edition. With the full power of SAP HANA in a smaller footprint, anyone can build and deploy applications that use up to 32 GB of memory to discover new business insights at no cost.

The express edition provides developers with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the software. “The express edition offers an integrated development environment (IDE), web server, and tutorials to get you up and running quickly,” says Marie Goodell, Vice President of Product Marketing for SAP HANA. “Using a single solution, developers can build applications that process a wide variety of data in real time to deliver never-before-seen insights. It supports multi data models, enabling you to use machine learning and predictive analytics against all types of data in a single environment.”

With a simplified SAP HANA experience, the learning curve is greatly decreased — and even developers new to SAP can get started immediately. “Our goal was to get it into developers’ hands and get them productive from the moment of download,” says Rudi Leibbrandt, Senior Director for SAP HANA Product Management. “We had to balance the features we were able to provide with the requirements on footprint. We made some decisions to eliminate typical ‘enterprise’ features, such as high availability and disaster recovery, while ensuring that developers have the full SAP HANA experience.”

Start Small and Scale Out

SAP HANA, express edition, also gives companies the flexibility to start small and scale out to any data size, no matter the computation complexity. As developers become more comfortable with the software, they can choose to extend their 32 GB of memory to 64 GB, 96 GB, or 128 GB through SAP Store, or move to the enterprise edition.

SAP recently worked with a company that wanted to apply predictive analysis and spatial data processing to core business data for better insight into customer behavior. The express edition of SAP HANA got them up and running instantly, without a long engagement with their procurement organization. And, since the express edition includes a productive use license, their initial prototype could quickly be deployed in production. The application soon surpassed the 32 GB memory capacity of the free edition and the company elected to move the application to the enterprise version.

Learn More

In this highly competitive economy, companies must leverage every opportunity to stay ahead of the pack. With SAP HANA, express edition, anyone can experiment with this transformational technology without expensive hardware configurations and software features they might not need from day one. To get started on your SAP HANA journey, visit

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Dr. Zhibin (Jordan) Cao

Dr. Zhibin (Jordan) Cao is a director of product marketing for SAP HANA. He has more than 15 years of experience in computing science, including roles as an SAP senior architect and solution manager.

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