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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

With 2021 already coming to an end we are happy to announce another exciting bucket of innovations introduced to SAP HANA Cloud with our recent Q4 release. In this blog post, I want to provide you with a summary of the main highlights of this release. 

In case you want to get a more in-depth picture of individual functionalities and changes, click here to watch the replay of our 'What's new in SAP HANA Cloud' webinar originally hosted on January 12 (9AM CET or 11AM EST). There, we also featured some great demos, presented by our product experts. 

Innovations in SAP HANA Cloud, data lake 

Regarding the SAP HANA Cloud, data lake we introduced three main highlights: An automatic refresh for materialized views, capabilities to support loading multiple parquet files in a single LOAD statement, and enhancements to the File Store Command Line Interface.  

Materialize View Automatic Refresh 

This innovation allows you to instantiate materialized views with refresh mode AUTO. Therefore, the auto refresh manager periodically updates the view when the SAP HANA Cloud, data lake detects that a transaction commit of a base table is a newer version.  

But what is in for you?  With this new feature you do not need to worry about outdated materialized views anymore. In the best case it eliminates the manual refresh effort or at least reduces it. Using the enhancement allows you to confidently query your materialized views. 


Materialized View with Automatic Refresh (SAP HANA Cloud, data lake)

Load Multiple Parquet Files in a Single LOAD TABLE statement 

From now on it is possible to load multiple parquet files with different column orders and names in a single LOAD TABLE statement.  

This will reduce your manual load effort and will help you to combine data from multiple parquet files in a handy way.


Loading Multiple Parquet Files via Single LOAD TABLE Statement (SAP HANA Cloud, data lake)

File Store Command Line Interface (HDLFSCLI)​ 

There have also been updates to the file store command line interface (HDLFSCLI). Use the new ‘download’ command, to download files from a file container to your local computer. The ‘lsr’ command will recursively list the files in a file container. Use the ‘delete’ or ‘rm’ command to delete files in a file container. 


File Store Command Line (SAP HANA Cloud, data lake)

Other additions 

Besides the major innovations introduced in Q4 2021 to the SAP HANA Cloud, data lake, we have added some other additions we definitely want to highlight here as well. 

    • The MANAGE EVENT system privilege allows users to create, alter, drop, trigger, and comment on events owned by themself.​ 


    • The DROP CONNECTION statement allows any user connection to be dropped via naming the connection ID.​ 


    • Restore deleted files in a file container with the RESTORE SNAPSHOT API Endpoint​.


    • Use the sp_remote_datasources_files stored procedure to view a list of files that are tracked by a remote table or exist in paths referenced by data sources defined on a remote table.​ 


    • Use JWT token for user authentication for SAP HANA Cloud, data lake.​ 


    • Create an SAP HANA Cloud, data lake user with a JWT login policy​, a JWT provider​, a mapping between JWT token and data lake user, and a certificate for validating JWT tokens 


    • Files are automatically retained in a snapshot if they are deleted or overwritten.​ 


    • Access SAP HANA Cloud, data lake files through Apache Spark with the Data Lakes Files Driver.​ 


    • Quick Start Tutorial for using SAP HANA Cloud, data lake IQ, data lake Files, and SQL on Files. ​ 

Innovations in SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database 


Innovations in Smart Multi-Model 

With the Q4 2021 release of SAP HANA Cloud, there have been some great innovations in SAP HANA Cloud Spatial, Graph, and Document Store, that we want to highlight here. 

SAP HANA Cloud Spatial | Grid Generator 

The Grid Generator represents a set of simple functions which generate a custom spatial grid consisting of square or rectangle cells that cover a geometry (bounding box). The support for hexagonal grids will be added to the grid generator later in the course of 2022 (For further information, please refer to our road map). 


Spatial Grid Generator (SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database)

Using a grid system makes each point on a map referable. You can, for example, count objects that pass specific grid cells.  


Generated Spatial Grid (SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database)

SAP HANA Cloud Spatial | Closest Point of Approach 

This feature computes the smallest measure at which two trajectories are at closest distance to each other. The trajectories are given as LineString with m-value as measurements. Questions like ‘what is the first point in time (m-value = time) at which both trajectories are at the closest distance to each other’ can now be answered. 

Note that this method cannot be used with geometries in a round-Earth spatial reference system. 


Closest Point of Approach (SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database)



Closest Point of Approach - SQL Syntax

SAP HANA Cloud Graph | Real-Time Graph 

When creating a graph workspace, changes in the source data led to an invalidation and rebuild of the “graph cache” with the next query. The larger the graph the more time it takes to rebuild it (Rule of thumb: 1 sec/1 mio edges). 

Basing graph workspaces on column store tables, these changes are based on a delta update mechanism. This way even large graphs that need frequent updates become real-time structures. For convenience reasons this is enabled by default, so there is no need to switch it on manually. 

Note that initialising the graph workspace might take a little longer when first starting it. 

SAP HANA Cloud Document Store | Extended JSON SQL Support – FOR ANY 

Initially introduced in Q4 2020 the SAP HANA Cloud Document Store is a fully ACID compliant JSON document, allowing the processing of schema-less structures. Moreover, it can compress, index and page data to disk.

Being based on common SAP HANA Cloud persistence it offers SQL integration, relational table joins, and import/export of files in JSON format. 


SAP HANA Cloud Document Store - Architecture

With the Q2 2021 release of SAP HANA Cloud we have already extended the JSON SQL integration to support UNNEST and LIKE statements. Finally with our most recent release we are also supporting the FOR ANY predicate, to ease filtering. 


FOR ANY filter expression (SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database)

Innovations to Support Hybrid Scenarios 


Offload Analytical Workload to the Cloud 

You can now extend your on-premises SAP HANA landscapes to the cloud without migration by replicating your analytical workload to SAP HANA Cloud, which can help to take load off your systems.

This innovation therefore allows you to profit from the elastic scalability of the cloud while you still can access calculation views, tables, and reference data in your on-premises landscape. This also means you can run analytics with the latest features in SAP HANA Cloud and even integrate external data from various sources using data federation. 

Via the Replication Service in SAP HANA Cloud, you can now also conveniently replicate calculation views and dependent objects. 


Replicating Analytical Workloads to SAP HANA Cloud

In case you want to learn more about the Replication Service in general, take a look at taesuk.son. 

Innovations in SAP HANA Cloud Calculation Views Modeling 

With our newest release of SAP HANA Cloud we are once again offering multiple enhancements to calculation view modeling. 


Innovations in Administration 


Managing Workload Class Hierarchies  

The newest release introduces the concept of hierarchical workload classes, where you can define a workload class as a ‘parent’, where the value of its memory limits is inherited by several other ‘child’ workload classes. When you create a new workload class in the SAP HANA cockpit, you now have the option to select whether this class is a ‘parent’.  You can then create a new ‘child’ class and provide its parent class name, at which point your new ‘child’ class inherits the parent’s memory limits. This relationship is shown in the cockpit’s workload classes application by grouping all ‘child’ classes underneath its ‘parent’ class entry in the list. 

SAP HANA Deployment Infrastructure (HDI) Administration  

Use the SAP HANA cockpit to define the different HDI administrator roles to manage the HDI, such as the HDI administrator, the HDI container-group administrator, and the HDI container administrator. Once those roles are defined, those administrators can perform the necessary tasks to maintain the HDI, the HDI container-groups and the HDI containers using the new HDI administration application in the SAP HANA cockpit. The application provides an interface to display detailed information about specific HDI components and carry out the necessary tasks to manage the HDI. 

JSON Web Token (JWT) Provider Configuration with Public Keys​  

You can now import public keys into your SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database using the new Public Key Store app. You can then add public keys to certificate collections with the purpose JWT in the Certificate Collections app. 

Within JSON Web Tokens, SAP HANA Cloud provides an authentication mechanism that is based on private and public key pairs to create signed trust​. To make it more convenient as of using a certificate-based authentication mechanisms e.g., like X.509, the possibility to store public keys is added with this feature with adjustments to the JWT provider​. In addition to that the public keys can be added to the personal security environment stores (PSE)​ or also known as certificate collections.  

Innovations in SAP Business Application Studio 


Guided Development   

The guided development tools now include scenarios which allow developers to execute common SAP HANA development tasks. In general, the interactive guided development represents a framework designed to ease developers’ workload. 

With the latest release of SAP Business Application Studio, a new set of development scenarios focusing on e.g., development with the SAP HANA database, or analytical modeling, became available. 

You can access the guided development for SAP HANA Cloud by typing “F1” in the SAP Business Application and selecting “SAP HANA: Getting Started”. 


Activating Guided Development in SAP Business Application Studio

Guided development includes a set of different development tutorials that ease working with SAP Business Application Studio and SAP HANA Cloud. 


Guided Development for SAP HANA Cloud (SAP Business Application Studio)

Improve connection of Analysis for Office to SAP HANA Cloud using the HANA Analytics Adapter (HAA) 

With SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office, you can derive insight from your business data in a convenient and efficient manner, to support intelligent decision making. 

Connecting SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office to SAP HANA Cloud using the SAP HANA Analytics Adapter now becomes easier by using a guided setup procedure in SAP Business Application Studio. For more details see philip.mugglestone.

For more general information about SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office in the context of SAP HANA Cloud, please have a closer look at denys.kempen's blog post.

SQL Console to access SAP HANA Cloud

Since the last release of the SAP Business Application Studio, the development environment now provides a SQL Console to query the SAP HANA database within SAP HANA Cloud. This eases the execution of SQL commands with SAP HANA Cloud and reduces the need to work with multiple tools at the same time.


SQL Console in SAP Business Application Studio

You can find more information on the new SQL console here.

Other Innovations & News 


Innovations in SAP HANA Database Explorer for SAP HANA Cloud 

The December release brings us three new major features for the SAP HANA Database Explorer: 

    • You can now import ESRI shapefiles, that are used to store geometry data and attribute information for spatial features in a data set, from the following cloud storage providers: Amazon S3, Azure Storage, Alibaba Cloud OSS, and Google Cloud Storage. This offers you greater flexibility when importing data into SAP HANA Cloud.


Import Shapefiles from Cloud Storage (SAP HANA Database Explorer)

    • Additionally, you can now use Google Cloud Storage in import and export data wizards for tables or views in SAP HANA Cloud, data lake


Import data to SAP HANA Cloud, data lake from Google Cloud Storage

    • With SAP HANA smart data access, you can now virtualize a parameterized SQL view or table UDF (user-defined function) when SAP HANA is the remote source. To retrieve data, you just need to pass parameters to a remote parameterized SQL view or remote table UDF in SAP HANA. This way you profit from increased flexibility and in parallel reduce your efforts when using remote sources in SAP HANA. 


Virtual parameterized SQL Views / UDFs

Innovation in the SAP HANA Client for Node.js | Promise support 

We have added a Promise support module to the SAP HANA database client (version 2.11) for Node.js. What is in for you? This new module named PromiseModule, provides methods that return promises. Previously asynchronous methods required the use of callbacks. Additional details on the new module can be found at Promise Module, and on the Node.js driver at  Connect Using the SAP HANA Node.js Interface. 


Promise Support for Node.js (SAP HANA Client)

Innovations related to the SAP HANA Cloud Alert APIs 

With the Q4 2021 release, there are now two additional metrics that can be called via the Metrics REST API. Both provide an improved availability check for SAP HANA Cloud, SAP HANA database and data lake instances. 

The two new metrics are named ‘HDBAccessible’ and ‘HDLAccessible’. 

You can find further details showing how ‘HDBAccessible’ is described and then an example of it being used to see the availability of an SAP HANA database instance below: 

GET {{gateway_url}}.{{host}}/metrics/v1/serviceInstances/{{serviceInstance}}/definitions 


GET {{gateway_url}}.{{host}}/metrics/v1/serviceInstances/{{serviceInstance}}/values?names=HDBAccessible


In case you are looking for more information on how to use the REST API to access metrics you should check out this tutorial: Access SAP HANA Cloud Alerts and Metrics using a REST API. 

Free Tier for SAP HANA Cloud 

After having introduced a free tier version of the SAP Business Technology Platform earlier this year, we are more than happy to announce that there is also a free tier model for SAP HANA Cloud as of November 2021.  

Thanks to the free tier model of SAP HANA Cloud, you can explore the values of SAP HANA Cloud free of charge, and it provides some more benefits: 

    • Availability on many more landscapes (than free trial) 


    • Seamless upgrade from free tier to paid tier service plans 


    • No expiry date 


Datacenter Availability 

We are happy to share that as of December 2021, SAP HANA Cloud will also become available on Google Cloud Platform in Europe (Frankfurt). 

The picture blow summarises the currently available datacenter options for SAP HANA Cloud. 


Data Center Locations SAP HANA Cloud



Did this summary make you curious about the entire scope of the Q4 2021 release of SAP HANA Cloud? If that is the case, you can find a summary of all the innovations introduced to SAP HANA Cloud here. 

If you are looking for more details on the latest features and updates to SAP HANA Cloud, then make sure to check out 'What's new in SAP HANA Cloud' webinar from January 2022: Replay here. 

Together with my colleagues from the SAP HANA Cloud Product Management team, I will share more details about these highlights. 

Apart from that, don’t forget to follow the SAP HANA Cloud tag to not miss any updates! 

In case you want to discuss some of the outlined innovations or have any other questions related to SAP HANA Cloud, feel free to post them in our SAP HANA Cloud Community Q&A or in the comments below.

Happy holidays and all the best for 2022!