Volvo IT has tested SAP HANA - a Proof of Concept revealing possibilities

by Volvo IT

To provide and run top quality, safe and resilient it-solutions, Volvo IT is constantly reuired to test and monitor innovative it technology and models on the market. Volvo IT has successfully carried out a Proof of Concept test on SAP HANA, and these are some of the key finding.

According to the research company Gartner Inc. SAP HANA is supposed to offer an “innovative change for the IT industry”. Volvo IT saw an opportunity to test the new SAP HANA database and appliance model to see if it actually delivers what it promises. To get answers to questions such as: “Is it complicated to install SAP HANA when the current database needs to be copied?”, “Are the response times really as good as the advertising is promising?” and “Can all data be stored in the main (primary) memory?” Volvo IT decided to carry out a Proof of Concept (POC).

The POC was carried out between November 2012 and January 2013, and at the time SAP HANA was only available for SAP Business Warehouse (BW). (HANA for Business Suite was introduced later in 2013). It was decided to carry out the POC on Volvo IT’s own business system and the BW used for financial follow-up of Volvo IT’s business. Volvo IT’s BW has a 2.4 TB database from Oracle and data includes information about all IT cost allocations in the Volvo Group. The system is physically located in one of Volvo IT’s data centers in Gothenburg, Sweden.
It took only three months from the approval of the POC until the tests were prepared, carried out, surveyed and documented. The project group behind the POC chose HP to supply the SAP HANA appliance and SAP’s rapid prototyping service to help them with the project.

Time plan

One very important goal during the POC was to have two fully comparable environments. Therefore, the entire Oracle database had to be copied to the SAP HANA machine and other components (such as application servers) had to be identical. The goal was achieved and the POC had two parallel BW systems running simultaneously: one on a traditional database and one on SAP HANA

Volvo IT has seen some exciting possibilities with SAP HANA, and here are some of the key findings from the Proof of Concept:

A. SAP HANA contains advanced compression algorithms, which significantly reduces the database size. Ultimately this is important for the performance and ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ (TCO). In the POC the database was reduced from 2.4 TB to 0.34 TB, an 86% storage gain. As aggregates, index and Info Cubes are unnecessary in SAP HANA, the database size can be reduced even more.


B. SAP HANA works reliably and offers a number of cost savings by its ability to cut work steps. Much because the appliance model comes ‘off the shelf’, i.e. with the operating system (OS) and database already installed.
C. The entire data warehouse environment can be simplified and made more stable with SAP HANA. Info Cubes and aggregates are not required – which ultimately means less steps and processes that can go wrong.
D. As mentioned SAP HANA works without aggregates, which means that questions to the database can freely be changed and altered and still give the same response time – all in a few seconds.
E. Business processes are proved to be smoother with SAP HANA. In the Volvo IT data warehouse case, updates of the data warehouse can be done more frequently, e.g. over lunch.
F. SAP HANA is based on a ‘commodity x86 server architecture’ and with its large volume it gives a competitive “Total Cost of Ownership” (TCO).
G. SAP HANA provides a good performance. The figures SAP promises in its advertising for the new appliance model weren’t quite reached in the POC, although up to 6 times quicker loading and 300 times quicker reports on true operational data is impressive.

The above are only a few of the key findings from the poc carried out on SAP HANA. SAP’s founder Hasso Plattner has said that HANA probably will replace ‘evrything’ in the future, i.e. that all of SAP will be run on SAP HANA. It remains to be seen if this will be true. In the meantime, Volvo IT will continue testing and proofing SAP HANA and other technology models – all to ensure delivery of safe, top quality and resilient it soutions to our clients.

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