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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

In this blog series you will find quotes, backgrounds, suggested further readings and other information related to my latest book SAP HANA 2.0, An Introduction published by SAP Press.

What does HANA mean?

Every once in a while the question comes up in fora and according to Guru99 it is even on the Top 15 SAP HANA interview questions.

What would be your answer?

  1. HANA is an acronym and stands for High Performance Analytical Appliance

  2. HANA is an acronym and stands for Hasso's New Architecture

  3. HANA is a place on Maui island (Hawaii).

  4. HANA means flower in Japanese (花), like fiori in Italian.

  5. SAP HANA is a modern, in-memory database and platform that is deployable on premise or in the cloud.

  6. Business data platform that is SAP’s flagship in-memory database, available both on premise and as a service in the cloud. It enables businesses to process and analyze live data and make business decisions based on the most up-to-date information, a requirement in today’s digital economy. The innovative architecture in SAP HANA allows both transactional processing for data capture and retrieval, and analytical processing for business intelligence and reporting. It reduces time-consuming database and data management tasks and underpins intelligent applications that use advanced analytic processing. It includes features such as text analysis, multitenant database containers to support multiple isolated databases in a single SAP HANA instance, as well as external machine learning libraries.

You are a winner! All answers are correct.

Answer 6

From the SAP HANA entry in the Glossary of the 2018 SAP Integrated Report.

Answer 5

As defined in the SAP HANA Master Guide on the SAP Help Portal.

Answer 4

You would have known this as native speaker (or student) of Japanese. It has nothing to do with SAP HANA but it is a curious resemblance that out-of-the-blue, just after the release of HANA, SAP released a new user interface named Fiori from "flowers" in Italian. Both SAP's Chief Design Officer (CDO) Sam Yen and the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Vishal Sikka at the time are no longer working for SAP, so this mystery be hard to uncover, but should you have any inside information on this topic, please comment below.

Another curiosity is that, as the languages are in no way related, hana (گل) also means flower in Persian/Farsi.

Answer 3

You can drive the scenic Road to Hana. The Hana Highway is listed on the national register of historic places.

For it's relation with SAP HANA, see the next answer.

Answer 2

According to SAP's former and first CTO Vishal Sikka:

And I remember that night as I was driving home, I had just come back from Hawaii, and as I was driving home that night, it was very clear that this was a fundamentally new idea, not only in databases but in how we can apply the database to rethink the architecture of the application itself. And so that night, I thought of the name HANA, as Hasso's new architecture. That's sort of where the HANA name comes from. August 2006, right here in Palo Alto.

See An Introduction to SAP HANA by Dr. Vishal Sikka (video unit 1 at 00:07:29),

SAP’s founder Hasso Plattner inspired me to do an experiment we dubbed Hana, for Hasso’s new architecture (and also a beautiful place in Hawaii), our teams working together with the Hasso-Plattner-Institut and Stanford demonstrated how an entirely new application architecture is possible, one that enables real-time complex analytics and aggregation, up to date with every transaction, in a way never thought possible in financial applications.

Timeless Software, October 22, 2008 Vishal Sikka

Answer 1

The High Performance Analytic Appliance acronym was introduced for marketing purposes. HANA predecessor, the SAP Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA) was tagged with High Performance Analytics (HPA). First mention is from SAPPHIRE 2010 (May). Again, announcement from Vishal Sikka:

With the introduction of the tailored data integration (TDI) program with SPS 06 (2013), HANA was no longer exclusively available as appliance --hardware with pre-configured software-- and the acronym is since no longer used by SAP marketing. It's origins as appliance is no longer very relevant either as a cloud-service.

However, appliance vendors and other hardware and software partners still use the term commonly, e.g.:

Wait, there is more

Before Sikka came up with the name HANA and before marketing invented the acronym, development used their own names. We have

  • HDB

  • NGDB

  • NewDB

HDB comes from hybrid database as it combines both row and column stores. HDB is the name of the script used to start and stop an instance, and of the operating system processes, e.g.  hdbdaemon, or the ODBC driver HDBODBC.

Ngdb stands for next-generation database and is used in the name of the JDBC driver ngdbc.jar. The driver itself is based on the MaxDB JDBC driver sapdbc.jar.

NewDB is used as comment for the HDB stop command but also for example for configuration parameters of related products like the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer.

Although our editor made sure we did not sidetrack too much with stories about Hawaiian resorts, in the book SAP HANA 2.0 - An Introduction we do explain a bit about the different names used for the in-memory platform and where they come from, so you can confidently answer the question what does HANA mean on your job interview (and correct the person asking questions, if needed), coffee corner, or forum.


SAP HANA 2.0 - An Introduction

Just getting started with SAP HANA? Or do have a migration to SAP HANA 2.0 coming up? Need a quick update covering business benefits and technology overview. Understand the role of the system administrator, developer, data integrator, security officer, data scientist, data modeler, project manager, and other SAP HANA stakeholders? My latest book about SAP HANA 2.0 covers everything you need to know.

Get it from SAP Press or Amazon:

For the others posts, see

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Over the years, for the SAP HANA Academy, SAP’s Partner Innovation Lab, and à titre personnel, I have written a little over 300 posts here for the SAP Community. Some articles only reached a few readers. Others attracted quite a few more.For your reading pleasure and convenience, here is a curated list of posts which somehow managed to pass the 10k-view mile stone and, as sign of current interest, still tickle the counters each month.