ERP Architecture and HANA DB

ERP software and applications were primarily positioned to connect different sets of data across a business using a mainframe computer collecting transactional data through limited terminals.


Evolving Architecture

Data processing had been the era of 1980s where IT infrastructure was focused on acquiring most of the data and utilization of the most meaningful data of it. The software were limited to accessing data without any processing power. The environment were not user-friendly and frameworks allowed limited access to the data. In the early 1990s, the concept of multi-layered architecture arrived which helped re-designing ERP frameworks in such a suitable manner where the input and output connections were easily integrated and processed whenever required. PCs became powerful to support good graphics and then client based ERP 3-Tier architecture was replaced by mainframe computers.


Client-Server Methodology

A new 3-tier concept technology on client-server is focused on revealing one database to many users by means of many applications. So, it is one system, one database methodology. All the data is stored in the designated database, processed in architecture layer on application servers and presented to user through a GUI front-end interface which is presentation layer. Depending on usage requirement the data service can be distributed to multiple service hosts. Smaller application although keep the database and application program in the same host, whereas the larger data are made to run and process through client-server channel. The connection for a client to a database through applications are called as instance. Thus, a client can have many instances.

An overview of client-server architecture is described below:

Client Server Architecture

source: Client-Server Architecture


Evolution to new Database Management System – Data Mining

The traditional client-server methodology has given exposure to endless terminals making it possible to process data through a request mechanism, channeled from different instances to database. For each segment, the protocol is to fetch data from database, process and project them on presentation layer. Though the concept was easy and reliable but the data processing time was a concern. The advanced analytical applications require more active connection with database and thus entails more bandwidth.

HANA (High Performance Analytic Appliance) is purely developed and designed by SAP SE which signifies usage of in-memory database. The new technology computing database infrastructure combines OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) and OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) in single system making it OLTAP (Online Transaction and Analytical Processing).

In a simpler way, unlike traditional client-server methodology, HANA stores data in main memory (RAM) rather than disk providing faster access and processing time. The new generation HANA is designed to run on multi-core CPU with faster communication between processor cores and containing terabytes of main memory. One more aspect of changed specification with HANA is that the data is now read in columnar way rather than traditional row way. A row oriented database stores a table as sequence of records. Conversely, in columnar storage, the entries of the column are stored in contagious memory locations. SAP HANA supports both, but is particularly optimized for column order storage. SAP HANA also operates in highly efficient compression methods, such as long-length encoding, cluster-coding and dictionary coding.

Dictionary coding enables data to be stored in columnar sequences of bit coded integers. This signifies improved performance during table joins and scans across the tables. This makes the data dispensation much faster than the traditional string-based procedure.

Traditional business software applications use data models with written programs. The aggregated data resulting from such programs are stored and updated through written logics performed at scheduled times. The read operations mostly fetch the result data from the tables rather than computing the raw data available. SAP HANA, with speed of several gigabytes per milliseconds makes it possible to calculate those aggregate raw data on run time with high performance and minimized storage consumption.

Business Software Application

source: SAP HANA Architecture


New generation UX

SAP SE also introduced UI5 (HTML 5) based FIORI application which changed the old school presentation layer for user experience. FIORI are set of role based business function apps which allows user to access the data in a newly designed interface called tiles. SAP has addressed most frequently used business transactions, workflow approvals, information lookups and self-service tasks to FIORI apps. FIORI applications allow user to start process with easy-to-use access across desktop, tablets and smartphones.

FIORI applications are classified based on their functionality. Those are:

FIORI applications

source:SAP Blog


  • Transactional Applications
    Transactional applications are used for performing business tasks integrated to ERP applications. The read/write access can be controlled with role based authorization. The applications run best on SAP HANA DB but can be deployed on any other database.

    Example: Leave Request, Purchase Order Creation, Invoice booking etc.


  • Fact Sheets
    Fact sheets are equipped with enterprise search which enables data search across table using a simple keyword. The contextual data linked to the keywords i.e. documents or transactional events can be fetched across different software applications running on single database. SAP FIORI tiles can be used to link and navigate across different transaction data set. The fact sheet applications directly run on HANA database and requires data modeling through ABAP programing.

    Example: The fact sheet tile containing a particular customer number can be drilled down to check all the transactions/ activities made with the particular customer till date. Details such as invoice document can be easily viewed or a specific task of after sales call can be performed through navigating inside fact sheets to FIORI transactional applications.


  • Analytical Applications
    Analytical applications are used for role based real time reporting for all business functions. These applications are integrated to HANA DB and applications to derive real time calculated information from a large volume of data.

    The highlight of analytical applications are customizing capability to derive operational KPIs. The analytical applications work on HANA DB with data modelling to derive complex aggregate and calculations.

FIORI Dashboardsource: FIORI Dashboard

5 Responses to “ERP Architecture and HANA DB”

  1. Chanda sachdev says:

    Thanking you for providing us such wonderful informative post on data processing, which made my concept more clear.

  2. Riya Patel says:

    Very helpful and deeper explanation about each & every point of ERP architecture and HANA Database. Well done Ronit, it’s a Great work and please keep sharing your thoughts and work to us!!!

  3. Prabhakar Rao says:

    Excellent description regarding SAP HANA which even a layman will be able to understand about its utility in this era.

  4. Srinivasan says:

    The details gives indepth of Hana to sap and very interesting to integrate & throws a light on sap further developments .very good.

  5. Divya says:

    Nice content. Basic information regarding HANA described in simple manner with ease to understand. Keep it up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *