Last month I visited the SAP HANA Operation Expert and Developer Summit 2018 at SAP in Walldorf. During an evening and full day of networking opportunities and sessions, other visitors and I were brought up to speed on the latest developments around SAP's HANA platform.
The summit kicked off with a Networking Reception on the evening before the summit. While enjoying drinks and dinner we could discuss our questions, projects and implementations with the SAP staff. As I had a number of questions I wanted answered, the SAP Product Management team pro-actively found me the specific HANA developers that I needed to get my questions answered. I could even set up a meeting to dive deeper into my questions the next day during the summit. This alone already made the trip worthwhile for me and the summit hadn't even begun yet!
On Friday morning the actual summit started with a keynote session by Chris Hallenbeck, SVP Database & Database Management Product Management. His main focus was the importance of data, calling it the Digital Currency. The amounts of new data sources and the fact that data is everywhere (e.g. enterprise, cloud, social, legacy systems), but also the new demands from the business (e.g. real-time, streaming, high velocity, machine learning) bring new challenges. It is key that we are able to turn data into a strategic asset and we should be able to innovate without constraints. The recently announced SAP HANA Data Management Suite is able to fulfil these requirements for the intelligent enterprise.
What's new in HANA 2 SPS03
The next speaker, Jörg Latza (Vice President HANA Platform Product Management), showed us how the recently released SAP HANA 2.0 SPS03 is able to facilitate us to:
- Innovate with confidence,
- Achieve Cloud Freedom,
- Act with live intelligence and
- Accelerate with Simplicity
Especially on the topic of innovating with confidence SAP HANA had some interesting new features, including:
Real-time data anonymization to allow for real insight into your data without exposing real data
Dynamic data masking with the ability to hide and protect sensitive information
Comprehensive encryption for data at rest and data in motion
This allows customers to gain secure and compliant data access in real-time without the need for data duplication. This enables customers to use their data without the risk of security or privacy breaches, helping them to be compliant with regulations such as GDPR.
After these two speakers, the summit split up into two tracks: the HANA Operations Experts track and the HANA Development Expert track. In the Operations track there were three sub tracks on Managing, Securing and Monitoring your SAP HANA environments. I however joined the HANA Development track.
XS Advanced Platform
The Development track kicked off with a session on the XS Advanced (XSA) platform, the successor to the classic XS application server. Although this topic was very technical, it contained one of the most important takeaways for the whole summit. Customers who want to innovate and use the new features of the HANA platform must realize that they should start using the XSA platform on their HANA systems as all innovations and new functionality will go into the XSA platform. Examples of this are the SAP WebIDE and the new SAP Enterprise Architecture Designer, which require the XSA platform. The Classic XS engine will be deprecated and at a certain point in the future will no longer be available in the new SAP HANA releases.
WebIDE, SQLScript & Graphical View modelling
What followed were sessions on the WebIDE, SQLScript, Graphical View modelling and the SAP Data Warehouse Foundation. These sessions focused mainly on the new features in the latest HANA 2.0 SPS03 release, but also the opportunity for attendees to provide feedback to the HANA product development team. Topics discussed were our thoughts on the existing functionality and on which important new functionality could be included in future releases.
SAP Enterprise Architecture Designer
Final session of the afternoon was on the SAP Enterprise Architecture Designer (EAD). The EAD 1.0 was first released with the initial HANA 2.0 release and is now available in version 1.4. In my opinion the EAD is at least a web-based version of SAP's PowerDesigner product but could also be its replacement in the future. With the EAD you can create and integrate the enterprise's business, data, landscape and requirement models to architect and plan the intersection of business and technology. Not all of PowerDesigner's functionality is available in the EAD (yet), however the important modelling, governance and impact analysis functionality is available in the EAD. Together with the EAD being fully web-based with a modern user interface makes it a very useful product in SAP's portfolio.
Again, the most important takeaway spanning all sessions was clearly that all new functionality will only be available on HANA 2.0. This was already communicated by SAP with the first release of HANA 2.0, however with the all the new features and the tight integration of all web-based interfaces with the XSA platform, the time is now for customers to seriously start thinking about moving to the HANA 2.0 platform. With all of our experience, Expertum can help you with all aspects of helping you in the next step of your Digital Transformation.