The real SAP game changer will be when I have one (1) HANA DB for all my production applications. I want single, giant in-memory DB where my ECC, BW, CRM, PLM, SCM, BOBJ, etc. all consume the same data. I want a row view for the OLTP ECC-like applications and column view for OLAP BW-like applications. It would look like the picture below.
Right now, I can’t really recommend using HANA on anything but OLAP based applications. In the future, when we can do the analytic transformations in memory without silly exports, extractors, DSO’s and the like, we will really have a very* different scenario. For now, the cost of the HANA license and risk of losing transactions only committed to memory is not justifiable.
In this new vision with MCOD, there will be two (2) key issues. First, how do we support MCOD. I’ve seen MCOD come and go since 1993 several times. Each time, it was easy to build and impossible to support. The overlapping requirements became overwhelming. Second, HANA will need a data aging architecture which can age data out of main memory to some slightly slower memory or device.
IBM is working on some important technology, Phase Change Memory, that will be of great value (http://www.zurich.ibm.com/sto/memory/). It may provide the near DRAM speeds while being cost effective and non-volatile. Maybe IBM will build out series of servers specifically designed to run in-memory databases such as HANA with massive DRAM and massive PCM capacities. PCM could then provide the roll-back logs and more at near DRAM speeds. PCM won’t solve the MCOD and data aging problems, but at least the risk of running rapidly transacting OLTP systems would go to near zero and certainly lower than that of even today’s highly cached disk writing databases.
It is going to be a fun watching HANA make it from infancy to toddler-hood. I wonder how fast she’ll mature.
* Mark Twain said every time a writer was tempted to use “very” in a sentence, they should use the word “damn” and then the editor would strike the word and the sentence would read as it should.