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*updated - Esri has updated their documentation with useful information on managing a HANA geodatabase - see here *

Since my last blog, I’ve been looking at how the geodatabase support for HANA can be used.  As you may know, Esri released support for HANA as a supported geodatabase which SAP announced on January 24th - see here.  One key benefit is that HANA is now one of the first geodatabase platforms to support the new Esri utility network model (NUM).  Once HANA is setup as a geodatabase, as I showed here, I can use ArcGIS tools to copy feature classes into the HANA enterprise geodatabase.  Read more about Esri support for HANA here.  Once a feature class is in HANA, I can perform queries that provide seamless integration of spatial and business data, IoT and other data using query layers.  Since 2014, ArcGIS has supported query layers against SAP HANA (see here) and it’s all out of the box (see here).  Query layers leverage HANA to provide GIS acceleration by pushing a query down to HANA – queries that used to take hours only take seconds to execute – without the need for any indices or aggregate tables.  The results are returned to the ArcGIS platform as just another feature service – except it’s one that is highly performant that can process big data very quickly.   Many customers are using query layers for this purpose – to take advantage of HANA performance and scalability.

Once you’ve copied feature classes to a HANA enterprise geodatabase, It’s easy to create a query layer.  All you need is one or more feature class tables (which have a shape column (a point, polygon, polyline, etc) and a unique identifier column).  For a good explanation of how you can use SQL against an ArcGIS schema, see here.  You’ll need to make sure that HANA supports any spatial reference systems your data is using (find out how here).  Any query you can express in HANA Studio or Cockpit that meets these requirements can be issued from the ArcGIS platform.  Here is a query layer in ArcGIS Pro.  I can publish this to ArcGIS Enterprise for reuse by any ArcGIS user or app.

This query layer mashes up a transformer feature class with IoT and SAP transactional data.  Because ArcGIS now supports HANA as an enterprise geodatabase, I was able to use ArcGIS Pro tools to put feature classes into HANA – this is all very easy and straightforward.  Since any ArcGIS admin understands how to use these tools (available in both API and interactive forms), you already have people on staff who know how to do this.  If you’re familiar with ArcGIS, this is very similar to a publication geodatabase scenario – except in this scenario, I’m using the HANA geodatabase for GIS Acceleration, query layers and any other HANA capability you want to utilize.

The ability to use the geodatabase capabilities in ArcGIS to copy feature classes into a HANA geodatabase means you can quickly and easily share the data with the rest of the enterprise.  The key is ArcGIS spatial data is no longer locked away in the EGIS – it can be leveraged by the entire enterprise.  It was possible before, but ArcGIS support for HANA as an enterprise geodatabase puts this in reach of every ArcGIS admin using tools they already know.

So far, I’ve focused on what the enterprise geodatabase support enables – query layers, seamless integration with enterprise data, sharing data with everyone in the enterprise and so forth.  But one of the ultimate benefits is being able to run ArcGIS using HANA as its primary (or only) enterprise geodatabase.  All of the advanced ArcGIS spatial analytic capability, the ArcGIS runtime capability and all of the ArcGIS tools can now sit on top of a HANA enterprise geodatabase.  Companies can now consolidate their enterprise geodatabases on to HANA and simplify their landscape.  Keep in mind, the first version of the enterprise geodatabase on HANA doesn’t yet have all of the geodatabase functionality – see here.  Over time, however, that functionality will be added.  By being able to consolidate on to the HANA platform, this simplifies your landscape.  Either way, once the data is in HANA, you also don’t need any user created indices or aggregation tables.

To recap, here’s why you should look at using HANA as an ArcGIS Enterprise geodatabase:

  1. Seamless integration of business, spatial and other data on HANA

  2. GIS acceleration – leverage HANA performance and scalability by using feature classes mashed up with other data via query layers.  Consume in any ArcGIS app by any ArcGIS user.

  3. With the data in HANA, enable GIS data to be used throughout the organization at high speed and in the form best suited for each part of the organization.  No longer is GIS data locked away.

  4. Landscape consolidation - moving the geodatabase to HANA

  5. Easier and faster development effort and less maintenance – no need to create additional indices or aggregate tables

Whether you’re ready now to use HANA as your primary enterprise geodatabase for your ArcGIS deployment or simply start using the geodatabase functionality to make it easy to use HANA in a publication geodatabase or spatial datamart configuration, this allows you to focus on creating innovative apps using SAP HANA and ArcGIS.  As an FYI, SAP will be providing Early Adopter program support for the ArcGIS Enterprise geodatabase on HANA —please contact your Esri and/or SAP rep to get involved!
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