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Former Member
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It only feels like a few months ago that I was writing this about HANA SPS07! In a blink of an eye, we get more HANA innovation. SPS08 was released on Friday 31st May and at Bluefin we already have our first two customer projects on it, and a third in the process of moving to it. Why? Read on.

SAP released the Business Suite for SAP HANA, and customers have been cautious. After all, most customers run their most mission critical business processes on the Business Suite - those that will cause serious financial damage to the company if they stop working. So whatever the benefit might be, customers won't move the Business Suite until they know it's rock solid.

That's what HANA SPS08 is all about. The new feature list is shorter than before, but in return, the focus has been on support for the most mission critical scenarios. Tooling has been improved, there are support for more platforms and the experience is better. But, the features of the core HANA DB remain broadly similar. It's not to say that HANA wasn't stable before, but we are already seeing that HANA SPS08 has a more "German" car feel about it.

Enterprise Readiness

There are some nice new Enterprise features. There are more partners for Storage Replication DR, more features in the application-level DR including a new "full sync" option and better cluster management, especially from HANA Studio. It's now possible to have multi-tier metro clusters and hostname management. In short, it's more of the same good stuff.

We also now have support for RedHat Linux and VMWare in production, which is a step forward. VMWare support is fairly limited today, but you can be sure that will change as customers start to adopt it. IBM POWER support for HANA has not (yet) been announced but is rumored to be in progress.

In addition, there are 20 new Outsource Providers for SAP HANA and more to come.

Developers

For developers, the improvements are very incremental, but that's not a bad thing. The Development Perspective is easier to configure, has better code completion and more wizards. Same for the Web Editor - you get recursive deletion, more code completion, better editors, function evaluation and change tracking. An incrementally improved user experience.

There are a handful of SQLScript features - extended Scalar UDF support. This is an area where HANA is some way behind other stored procedure languages like PL/SQL and this will need to be a focus in SPS09, if SAP wants to lure Oracle customers with complex apps onto HANA. There is now support for ADO.Net in the Sap.Data.Hana namespace so you can write .Net apps on HANA.

It was rumored that the Mac OS X Studio comes in SPS08 but I haven't seen it yet. HANA Developer Edition is also now available on the Microsoft Azure cloud as well as a bunch of other cloud providers like AWS.

SAP HANA Answers has now been released as a plugin to SAP HANA Studio. This allows contextual awareness of what you are doing, your problems, and search/answer ability on how to fix the problems. This is a very cool social development tool and I worked with the product team to give feedback earlier in the year.

SAP HANA Interactive Education (SHINE) has been extended with more demos, better apps and models including a business rules model and Fiori Launchpad integration.

Modeling

The modeler got an extensive tune-up with a lot of small new features and usability enhancements. These are detailed in the following link. The highlights are usability improvements like mass copy, a new tree-map for unions, a performance analysis mode, ordering in parent/child hierarchies and better datatype management especially for currency conversation.

There is a production alert system, new color palettes and icons and better tool tips as well as error handling and integration with HANA Answers.

Unfortunately there are still missing features - especially the ability to push COUNT DISTINCT models down into the database without using code. Hopefully this will be a big focus for HANA SPS09.

The Plan Visualizer now has functionality to view physical table access plans and inverted index access display.

Monitoring, Security and Lifecycle Management

There is a very nice looking SAPUI5 dashboard for monitoring HANA now, better emergency support diagnosis, better diagnosis for blocking situations and improved Runtime dump creation - all of which will be appreciated by those of us that use HANA on a day-day basis. The resource monitor has been improved and it is possible to limit memory usage by one statement using statement_memory_limit. It's possible to access the Plan Visualizer from the performance tab for SQL which has been monitored, which is very neat.

There are a large number of new monitoring features - it looks like since the core DB was left alone, all of the monitoring features were able to mature significantly. Check here for more details.

There are almost no new security features - just a handful of changes to auditing, data volume encryption (log volumes are still not encrypted), and the ability to create restricted users with no access at all by default. User Names can also now be in Unicode Characters.

For system lifecycle management, the unified installer is now deprecated (though I tested it and it still works in Revision 80). You must now use HANA Lifecycle Manager (hdblcm), which works for all scenarios now including rename, scale-out, etc.

For application lifecycle management, there are new features around integrating delivery units into products and packages to delivery units. The HANA Lifecycle Manager (HALM or hdbalm) has its SPS07 SAPUI5 interface improved a little. There is now change recording like in ABAP systems, that allow for versioning and transport release. There is now also a native transport manager in HANA, and CTS+ is not required. If you do use CTS+, HALM is now integrated fully into CTS+.

Predictive, Geospatial and Smart Data Access

There are new predictive algorithms for Distribution Fit, Cumulative Distribution Function, Quantile Function, Random Distribution Sampling, ARIMA, FP-Growth, CART, and K-Medoid Clustering and various other improvements. No doubt these have been driven by the KXEN acquisition, and the field has been heavily influencing which algorithms are important.

The geospatial interface gets Esri Query Layer Integration and some SHINE content, which is much needed. The former is required for Esri ArcGIS integration via ODBC, which will allow Esri to integrate fully with HANA.

Smart Data Access gets support for IBM DB2 10.1 and Netezza 7. Virtual and Physical tables can be combined in Information Views in the HANA Modeler perspective. There are various new features like being able to change a remote source, and enhancements for virtual statistics and support for VARBINARY.

Final Words

I made a bunch of predictions at the beginning of the year, and 4/10 of those have come true so far! However we haven't seen SAP River, the HANA Graph Engine, or Complex Event Processing in HANA yet. This is aligned to the SPS08 strategy which is to focus on a mission critical core and extend the tools around the core.

For SPS09 I hope that SAP will focus on getting the new functionality that is in labs out the door and make the rest of my predictions come true. However, for me, the last 6 months have been well spent and HANA SPS08 feels like a more mature, simpler, more consistent product. I believe that SAP customers will thank SAP for this, and will repay them in a faster adoption curve for HANA.

Links to more details

I stole this from michael.eacrett, who wrote a great blog on this subject.

What's New in the SAP HANA Platform (Release Notes)

Web-based Development Workbench

SAP HANA Interactive Education (SHINE)

SAP HANA Platform Lifecycle Management

SAP HANA Answers

Smart Data Access

Client InterfacesPredictive Analysis LibraryAdministration & Monitoring

Geospatial Processing

SQLScript

SAP HANA Studio Development Perspective

Scale-Out, High Availability and Disaster Recovery

SAP HANA Modeling

Security
SAP HANA Application Lifecycle Management

And stole this from scott.feldman. Thanks Scott!

Interested in joining a Live Expert Session where a Product Expert answers all your questions you may have? Simply click and dial-in with the Participant Passcode: 1418481919 (dial-in phone numbers for all countries are attached). Each session will be recorded as well (see under Details - "Watch recorded session") in case you missed one. You can find the session schedule below:

Date

Time (EST)

Topic

Presenter /

Product Manager

Details

June 10th

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Exclusive preview of SAP HANA SPS 08

michael.eacrett

dan.lahl

Join this session to hear an exclusive preview of SAP HANA SPS 08.

June 11th

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Admin/ Monitoring/ Troubleshooting

melanie.handreck

Join this session to hear an overview of the new features in SAP HANA Administration, Monitoring and Troubleshooting for SPS 08.

June 12th

11:00 AM -

12:00 PM

Application Lifecycle Managementronald.silbersteinSAP HANA has extensive features for managing content (i.e. objects or development artifacts), transporting as well. This session provides an overview of these capabilities and discusses what's new for SPS 08.
June 16th

11:00 AM -

11:30 AM

Predictive Analysis Librarymark.houraniLearn how to get context-sensitive help from SAP and the crowd directly from HANA Studio.
June 17th

11:00 AM -

12:00 PM

Scale-Out, High Availability and Disaster Recoveryralf.czekallaJohn this session to get an update about new features mostly in SAP HANA System Replication.

June 24th

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

SAP HANA Answers

mark.hourani

Learn how to get context-sensitive help from SAP and the crowd directly from HANA Studio.

June 25th

11:00 AM – 11:30 AM

SAP HANA Modeling

christoph.morgen

This session will provide an overview on the SAP HANA Modeling enhancements and new capabilities available with SAP HANA SPS 08.


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