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This post is part of Transformational Tuesdays: A Series on SAP HANA Business Value from the SAP HANA Solution Management team celebrating 10 years of SAP HANA in 2020.


One of the most intriguing concepts delivered with SAP HANA 2.0 SPS 05 is the support of hybrid scenarios with SAP HANA Cloud enabled by data replication and distributed processing. The idea here is simple – while we can probably all agree that cloud computing is the future of the database market, every organization will have a different path and we need to make the transition as easy and seamless as possible. The aim of this post is to explain a few different scenarios that we’re already seeing customers explore along this path and explain the value in doing so.


Before I jump into the SAP HANA + SAP HANA Cloud details, I thought it might be worthwhile to explore a couple of cloud adoption cases in our everyday personal lives where I see some distinct parallels that you may be able to relate with. There were two that came to mind immediately for me:

  • Smart Phone Storage – With a small child at home, it was easy for my wife to consume all the space on her iPhone in rapid fashion storing pictures, games, movies, and music (is it strange that a high % of that is from the Disney Frozen franchise?). My first reaction when the storage ran out was to argue for a better data retention strategy including manual download to the home computer and cleanup. In the end though, it’s a pointless argument with an easy solution. Using iCloud storage at a cost not more than a few dollars per month, we can easily add virtually unlimited capacity and never have to say no to taking another picture or video.


  • Photo Sharing – Before 2020 happened, there was a time when we could travel and do crazy things in groups. One example for me was a group run through the south of England back in September 2017. Personally, I’m a lazy photo taker and rely heavily on others to share – something the cloud has made simple and cost-effective. With Google Photos as our chosen solution, the team was able to easily and quickly make photos taken on any device available to everyone else on the team or in our circle of friends in real-time and from anywhere.


I suspect every reader has a similar experience with the cloud simplifying activities in our personal lives and it’s probably become obvious where I’m going with this. That said, let’s consider three different patterns where we can use SAP HANA Cloud to complement and extend an on-premises SAP HANA investment via hybrid scenarios:

  • Broaden Data Sources – organizations have an increasing breadth of data sources to manage and integrate, spanning on-premises and cloud deployments. For customers of SAP HANA with an existing on-premises deployment, a wholesale move to the cloud may not be feasible, although the need for integrating non-HANA cloud sources doesn’t dissipate. With optimized connectivity to SAP HANA Cloud, we enable an on-premises deployment of SAP HANA to bridge the gap to cloud data sources fulfilling the “gateway” promise of SAP HANA Cloud. An example might be accessing Google BigQuery or Amazon Athena seamlessly from an on-premises SAP HANA system in order to augment the local data set and provide business users with the most valuable insights. The early success story from Geberit also provides a glimpse into this potential.


  • Burst Capacity – often, the workload on an on-premises SAP HANA system is mission-critical and requires expert care to ensure no business disruptions. At the same time, the data held in SAP HANA is some of the most valuable data in an enterprise and end users like data scientists have an insatiable desire for analysis. With the ability to replicate data in a non-intrusive and real-time manner to SAP HANA Cloud, customers can expand capacity in a way that avoids impacting on-premises performance, scales effectively, and has potential to also leverage additional sources of data.


  • Expand Storage – SAP HANA has made significant progress over the past several years in managing expanding footprints of data, including options beyond in-memory storage (e.g. native storage extension). That said, some customers have expressed a desire to avoid managing this on-premises and seek alternatives for data tiering. The SAP HANA Cloud data lake provides a petabyte-scale ability to store data coupled with a tight integration ensuring common semantics with SAP HANA. By combining the optimized connectivity and the remote replication capabilities, it is possible to achieve a sort of “Data Tiering as a Service” combining an on-premises SAP HANA with SAP HANA Cloud data lake.


As I stated in the beginning, every organization will have a different path to the cloud and our aim is to make that as easy and seamless as possible. You can probably also see the parallels to our personal experiences with both expanded storage and easier access to disparate sources. With these types of hybrid scenarios, we enable customers to move at their desired pace and begin recognizing cloud benefits while protecting their on-premises investments. I hope this provides some insight to scenarios we’re beginning to see in the market, and I hope to hear from you on the value you can accomplish in your organization.