Panelists: Don Loden and Bruce Labbate, Protiviti
Date: Friday, December 21, 2018
Time: 11:00am ET/8:00am PT
Duration: 60 minutes
Sponsor: BI, Analytics & HANA 2019
Read the transcript of the discussion with Don Loden and Bruce Labbate, SAP HANA experts and speakers at the upcoming BI HANA & Analytics 2019 event, to learn more about choosing the right path for your SAP HANA deployment. explore the many types of SAP HANA including SAP S/4HANA, SAP BW on SAP HANA, SAP BW/4HANA, and SAP HANA and Get answers to questions about business use cases, architectural considerations, and distinct resource skill sets to consider when determining your short- and long-term strategy.
Matthew Shea: We’re joined for today’s event by Don Loden and Bruce Labbate from Protiviti. Don and Bruce are frequent speakers at SAPinsider events and will be presenting at the upcoming BI Analytics & HANA 2019 event taking place March 19-21 in Las Vegas.
To learn more, click here.
Zishan Ali: What are some of the options for SAP HANA integration with Apache Hadoop?
Don Loden: From a pure-play SAP HANA standpoint for combining content with Apache Hadoop or other big data environments, SAP Vora is great and works well. If you need just to integrate content from Apache Hadoop with other sources and provision the contents into SAP HANA, you then can use a tool like SAP Data Services to combine the data first and then provision it into the SAP system. It really depends on what you are trying to achieve, but both could be viable solutions.
Savo Markovic: According to SAP Note 1648480, support for SAP Business Suite (SAP ERP Central Component [SAP ECC]) on SAPHANA ends in 2025. Does this mean that we need to be on SAP S/4HANA by then?
Don Loden: The note you mentioned is SAP's published stance, and since we do not work for SAP, we cannot comment on the roadmap, planned innovation, or dates from SAP. That said, however, there are many reasons to move toward SAP S/4HANA from a business and capabilities standpoint, and SAP is offering time for customers to develop a plan and strategy to move to SAP S/4HANA. We are certainly seeing much activity in the marketplace in relation to SAP S/4HANA in the SAP ecosystem.
Jason: Could you discuss how to decide between a greenfield and brownfield strategy for SAP S/4HANA for an organization running SAP ECC?
Don Loden: It all depends on how much of your current processes and custom code you want to retain vis-a-vis starting fresh and optimizing from the ground up. As a completely new implementation, a greenfield strategy is much cleaner and allows you greater opportunity to reengineer and optimize your processes. Given how many changes there are in SAP S/4HANA, that's often a good idea. It may actually be faster to use a greenfield strategy and reimplement SAP S/4HANA-compliant extensions and customizations than to try to migrate them via a brownfield strategy.
For a brownfield strategy, you'll retain most of your customizations and business processes, but at the cost of greater complexity in the migration. Plan for extended time frames and a phased approach. Also, be sure to verify that customizations actually comply with SAP S/4HANA. Finally, you can still do some process optimization, but it will be more difficult as opposed to starting from scratch.
Gustavo: How do we determine the memory required for our SAP HANA installation?
Bruce Labbate: Generally, the required random-access memory (RAM) is recommended to be twice the amount of persistent compressed data in the system. For example, if you're bringing over 250GB of data after compression, you'll need at least 500GB of RAM. The additional memory is for computational tasks. For instance, SAP HANA will use that memory when completing the evaluation of analytic models in real time.
The real trick is determining how much data you'll actually be bringing over. If you're coming from an SAP ECC or SAP S/4HANA system, SAP has estimation tools. Otherwise, you'll need to calculate the use in the source system and apply an estimated compression factor based on the type of data.
Rick: Can we install SAP HANA on-premise ourselves? What is a TDI deployment?
Bruce Labbate: Sure, you can install it yourself as long as you have the proper certification. A TDI install is just that — an installation using SAP HANA tailored data center integration. It just means you installed it yourself without buying some sort of preinstalled appliance. The reason it requires a certification (C_HANATEC_xx, I believe) is because you need to be on supported hardware, properly sized, with the correct OS, filesystem, configuration, etc. It can be difficult, but it's certainly possible. We've done it plenty of times.
Dan: Is SAP BW/4HANA always the best choice for business intelligence with SAP S/4HANA?
Bruce Labbate: Not necessarily. SAP BI has always been a difficult area, and SAP S/4HANA is no different. You still have an SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) option, now SAP BW/4HANA, as well as native SAP HANA solutions, preferably sidecar. But now you also have the SAP S/4HANA embedded analytics.
The choice partly depends on your internal expertise. If you're currently doing native SAP HANA modeling with visualization tools on top, then there's no reason to stop doing that for SAP S/4HANA. However, if you've never done SAP HANA modeling, but have internal SAP BW talent, then leveraging that makes sense. Of course, SAP BW/4HANA is very different from traditional SAP BW, so you'll still want to train yourself on some SAP HANA modeling and administrative skills to make full use of the system.
VK: What is the process for automated alert monitoring in cloud-based SAP BW/4HANA for any system failures, downtimes, and other unplanned service interruption events?
Bruce Labbate: If you're talking about alerting about events native to the cloud infrastructure, that's totally separate from SAP BW/4HANA itself. All the big cloud offerings (Amazon, Microsoft, SAP, IBM, etc.) offer alerting on downtimes and failures for all their services regardless of the application that's running on them.
However, if you mean alerts related specifically to SAP BW/4HANA, nothing would really change except for standard network connectivity concerns.
Don Loden: Good question on cloud monitoring.
Depending on your cloud platform of choice, this may offer many options that have been previously unavailable in your organization. It is important to think of new aspects that should be considered as better alerting and monitoring would offer a great foundational enhancement for support.
Becca: How do you handle change impacts to the user community if you go to SAP S/4HANA from SAP ECC?
Don Loden: SAP S/4HANA is a big change for the organization and offers many new features and potentially ways to change the way that the organization interacts with technology. We recommend organizing an SAP S/4HANA center of excellence (COE) to facilitate and organize the change management tasks within the organization. This COE will span many different threads across functional and technical topics. It is focused on ensuring that user adoption and education are paramount for the changes that will come.
Bruce Labbate: Agreed. This change is by nature disruptive, so mitigating that disruption requires a significant effort and deserves the attention of a full team. You'll, of course, have the technical issues of eliminating downtime, ensuring that users have immediate and functionally identical access to the new system, distributing new software, etc. But you'll also need a parallel workstream of education and outreach. Make sure user representatives have been properly involved in the process from the earliest possible point so that they know they're engaged and their voices are being heard. Ensure they're given proper training and don't feel abandoned moving to the new system.
Matt: Thank you, Don and Bruce, for all your insightful answers today. To learn more about this topic, as well as many other SAP data, data warehousing, and analytics topics, join us at BI Analytics & HANA 2019 March 19-21 in Las Vegas. To learn more, register here.