SAP is an application that powers many of today’s leading businesses and is the very definition of a business critical system. Because of this, users are very careful when it comes to making changes to production SAP environments as outages can be impactful. Over time, SAP has evolved from the original ERP R3 to ECC (which relied upon third party external database software like DB2, Oracle, SQL Server or Sybase) to S4 HANA which uses an internally developed in-memory columnar database architecture that is optimized for SAP. Upgrading to S4 HANA from ECC is an investment in the future, and here are five reasons why you should start the migration process today:
- Speed – S4 HANA relies upon a unique SAP-optimized in-memory database model. By using a custom-designed high performance architecture, HANA delivers powerful speed improvements while also optimizing memory usage to minimize the amount required. You might wonder what happens if your system crashes and the database is in memory. HANA has you covered, as the system automatically writes transactions to disk in an asynchronous manner to enable recovery in the case of an unexpected error. Of course, this does not replace the need for a backup and so you should have those too!
- SAP HANA Fiori – Let’s face it, you might be an SAP script guru, but your users are not. The users are demanding an interface that is easy to use and modern that delivers the functionality that they want without the numerous support calls that you don’t need. SAP Fiori delivers on this with an all new and updated HTML5-centric GUI for SAP. While some Fiori apps run in SAP ECC, you will need HANA to gain complete access to all the Fiori-goodness.
- S4 in the Cloud -The cloud is a hot topic today and while you are likely using it for productivity apps or CRM, what about SAP? Most users run on-premises today, but SAP is investing significantly in S4 in the Cloud which brings all the power and flexibility of the cloud to SAP. Imagine the benefits of running SAP in the cloud with all the scale, flexibility and support that comes from a solution supported and implemented by SAP. Imagine no more, it is here today, and by moving to S4 HANA, you open up the opportunity to leverage any public Cloud either now or in the future.
- It is the Future – SAP is investing significant dollars in S4 HANA, and we continue to see new and more advanced technologies being released in HANA environments. For example, SAP released new AI functionality in SAP S4 release 1805 which is an exciting addition that could potentially benefit many customers. While ECC is still supported, these new features are not likely to make their way to the older platform and instead will appear only in HANA.
- End of life – SAP has made it clear that HANA is the future, and they have set an end of life of ECC of December 31, 2025. While ECC instances will not stop working at that date, SAP provided support will cease. You will still be able to purchase support from third parties, but you will not get access to SAP expertise for bug fixes, patches or other critical upgrades.
In short SAP S4 and HANA are the future of the SAP Intelligent Enterprise. While migrating to the new platform will take some time, effort and monetary investment, now is the time to start moving forward. You do not want to wait until the last moment to rush through the transition as the likelihood of trouble increases exponentially. HANA provides significant business benefits and so you can look forward to a bright future with this new platform.
Oh and if you are looking for a fully qualified solution to protect, clone and recover SAP ECC and SAP HANA environments, look no further than Actifio. We can improve traditional SAP ECC and SAP HANA protection while simultaneously accelerating your development and migration activities by providing automated database clones.