SAP HANA Blockchain was announced at SAPPHIRE NOW this year, along with the general availability of SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain service. Read the announcement here. The news is also on TechCrunch.
You might ask: what's the difference?
Matt Zenus, Global VP, SAP HANA, summarized it during his SAPPHIRE NOW presentation (watch replay here😞 "SAP HANA is one of the first databases to natively connect to and consume blockchain information". The keyword here is ‘consume’. SAP HANA Blockchain is NOT about building a blockchain network, it’s about bringing together business data and blockchain data, so that analysts can easily get a unified view of ALL data—including data in enterprise systems, and multi-party transactions on the blockchain network. Developers can also easily use the SAP HANA Platform to build applications incorporating blockchain data –without dealing with the complexities of blockchain technology.
On the other hand, SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain service is a blockchain-as-a-service offering, enabling customers to use open standards (currently supporting MultiChain and Hyperledger fabric) to create consortium and private blockchain networks.
Next question you may have: how does the two work together?
Andreas Schuster, SAP HANA Blockchain Product Manager, summarized it in his technical blog:
“SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain connects to any supported blockchain network via a cloud service on SAP Cloud Platform. SAP HANA Blockchain establishes a link between this cloud service and SAP HANA, which results in a representation of on-chain data in SAP HANA as a set of regular column store tables.”
“The interplay of the different components ensures that transactions submitted to the blockchain are replicated into SAP HANA. This replication works bi-directionally, meaning that transactions inserted in SAP HANA also find their way back to the blockchain, where they can be consumed by other applications.”
Why is it important?
Blockchain technology while driving innovation generates new data silos that needs to be unified with existing system of records. Especially at such early stage of adoption, companies can have some transactions executed on blockchain while executing others with different mechanisms.
For reporting and regulatory purposes all the data needs to consolidated, analyzed, and presented. To streamline processes, a single business application will have to interact with multiple transaction environments—including blockchain and traditional enterprise transaction systems. A unified development and deployment platform is needed to support such hybrid application architecture.
With SAP HANA Blockchain, companies can leverage blockchain innovation for better trust, traceability, and transparency while getting real-time insights from all transactions and streamlining business processes across the entire business landscape.
By now, hopefully you are interested in learning a bit more about this new offering. If that’s the case, you can: