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Active Contributor
I had the pleasure of hosting a community call with craig.cmehil last week and talk about some of the available installations, common pitfalls and couple of basic tweaks for my favorite free version of HANA, the express edition.

TL;DR: If you want to watch/listen, here is the link to the session:

Shout-out to suantak.niangneihoi from SAP HANA Product Management for joining and supporting.

Installation options for HANA Express

They are all covered by this diagram in the official site for SAP HANA, express edition:


Believe it or not, this diagram can consume considerable brain power, especially if you are drawing it. There is a lot of information to convey in a limited space.

I could spit out some stuff the diagram was not saying during the call. Here is a very abridged and opinionated version of that:

  • Ease of installation: The less number of steps, the less number of possible errors. With this principle in mind, it is my personal opinion the XS Advanced installation on GCP is the easiest. The biggest advantage is the web SSH console. It removes the confusion first-timers face when installing an SSH client and converting the keys. If you are past that initial shock, any of our cloud partners (AWS, Azure or GCP) will give you a great experience.

  • Full control: On the opposite end, if you want to have more control over the installation and some aspects of it, especially for a productive environment, the binary method is my go-to. I call this the ninja method. Although the option is listed as “on premise”, you can download the binaries and run the script on a VM on any cloud provider. I personally switch to openSUSE or Ubuntu for operating system if I'm not planning to pay for the registration fee after 90 days.  Additionally, if you look at the installation script, you will see the libraries for Ubuntu will be fetched for you.

Why can anyone use an alternative OS with HANA Express?

The other editions of SAP HANA, which share the same codebase as HANA Express, are supported by SAP and have specific requirements for hardware and operating systems.

SAP HANA, express edition is supported by the community. This means you will enter a question in if you run into issues and people like me will try to help.

This has a side effect: the community will not reply “that is not supported” if you are using uncertified hardware or another operating system.

You may still be the only one doing that installation or using a very new version of a distro that we may not have tried (or we may even know there may be libraries missing). You can still choose your own adventure. For example, folks like  hpseitz and fred.verheul who I could recognize at the call are other members of the community sharing their adventures.

Updated revision of HANA Express in Cloud Appliance Library

There is a missing installation option in that diagram on the Cloud Appliance Library.

The steps to get your hands on a new instance are covered in this tutorial: .

This image was recently updated to Revision 34 specifically for the openSAP course in HANA Native development and now includes an RDP access.

The only after-installation step is to download and install Chrome and you will be ready to go using the remote desktop connection.

This is definitely a nice and easy option to get started especially if you already have an account in the Cloud Appliance Library.


I touched on some other points, like basic tweaks to perform to your HANA Express instance and some tips on how to request support from the community (so that you actually get support from the community). Some mentions to changes in tooling and approaches between HANA Studio and Web IDE were splattered across the call too.

Hoping to get in touch in another Community Call soon or on Twitter or LinkedIn!