Wednesday, April 3, 2013

SAP CRM Powered by HANA

Are you tired of waiting for your your database to find your customers?
Let's see what SAP HANA can do for you when it comes to SAP CRM.

According to SAP, SAP HANA will bring you database performance at great speeds. Does this mean that the 'hourglass' will make it's way to the history books? Let's take a look.

What is SAP HANA? 

SAP HANA is an in-memory data platform that is deployable as an on-premise appliance, or in the cloud. It is a revolutionary platform that’s best suited for performing real-time analytics, and developing and deploying real-time applications. At the core of this real-time data platform is the SAP HANA database which is fundamentally different than any other database engine in the market today.

How does SAP HANA fit in to SAP CRM?

For the simple answer: SAP CRM will become quicker, but how much quicker?
Let's try to figure this out by looking at some details.

“What is the response time of SAP CRM on HANA?"

To give a good answer we need to understand an important thing of SAP CRM:

We all know that SAP CRM uses a lot of searches in this processes to retrieve the desired information in the master data and business transactions.
The Master Data includes data such as customers, prospects, contact persons and employees (business partners), goods or services that may be sold (products).
Business Transactions describe an interaction between business partners such as visits (activities), customer complaints, sales orders, service requests and so on.

In a single CRM process a lot of these database activities take place to complete the CRM scenario.

So, hypothetically, the impact of a faster database system will be significant.

As the database is not the only factor that influences performance of the SAP CRM Webclient (think of browser settings, antivirus script scanners etcetera, but also how optimized your current system is and how much data it handles), it can be hard to determine the improvement of performance without doing a proof of concept on a sandbox machine. But as a proof of concept on your landscape can be costly, we first take a hypothetical approach on the impact of SAP HANA on the performance of your SAP CRM system.

Theoretical performance improvement 

Our Approach is a theoretical approach and is based on statistics of a current CRM system running on a disk-based Database.  If you do a 1 to 1 migration, you can only account for the in-memory technology in this theoretical model.
We took three often used SAP CRM processes in the SAP CRM WebClient.  During production we recorded SQL traces to determine the most time consuming SQL statements.

Focus of analyses should be:
- Expensive SQL statements with high DB time,
- Tables where buffering is disabled (if buffered, compared to HANA, the difference in performance will not be significant)
- Use of database indexes (SQL cost will be lower)

The following tools and documents were used to execute the performance analysis:
- EWA – Early Watch Alert Report (http(s) response time)
- SAP Workload Analysis  (ST03N)
- DB Performance Analysis (ST01)
- SQL Statement Analysis, used index, SQL costs, DB time (DBACOCKPIT)


Most time consuming SQL statements are searches. All SQL statements are based on standard SAP tables and the indexes are mostly used. High physical (disk) reads and high DB times were identified in the EWA.

In contrast to the currently applied Oracle disk-based Database, in-memory databases require no database wait time. This means that running a CRM system on SAP HANA will reduce the DB time drastically by using in-memory DB technology.

Mostly 50% of the WEBUI (https) response time is caused by DB time . We can assume that the reduction of the total response time of the IC Web-client will be at least 50%.
This response time could be even higher if you optimize your SQL Statement in your ABAP coding and avoid nested loops with single searches in master-data tables.

Because our approach is theoretical, we did not take into account the powerful search capability of SAP HANA. So, the real response time of the CRM Web-client will be faster, because SAP HANA has more technology to be able to speed up your SAP CRM (SQL script, Analytical Information modeling such as Calculation views, Anlytical views and the use of the Fuzzy & full-text searches)

So, will the hourglass find it's way to the historybooks? Probably not completely, but it will show up less often and less long though if you use SAP HANA. On complex database searches though, you will see great improvements.

Migration to SAP HANA

If you have SAP CRM running on a disk-based Database you can do a migration to HANA.
SAP HANA is “just” another Database. There is a very good cookbook available to help you with your migration.

The process of migrating your current SAP CRM database server to SAP HANA is the same process you have already experienced if you have done a data migration before ( Heterogene-, Homogene- or Unicode-Migration ). This process has a very low learning curve and is well documented in the cookbook. It is proven by SAP HANA customers who have already swapped their disk based database servers over to the in-memory solution of SAP.

This database server migration does not bring any functional changes to your SAP application. Configuration, customization, the ABAP workbench, connectivity, security, transports, monitoring – all of these components of your SAP application remain the same.

Before migrating, we should consider...

Migrating will take effort:
- Java & ABAP Stack to be seperated,
- Upgrading your current CRM environment (if needed) to 7.1.2 (CRM of HANA),
- Sizing of your SAP HANA,
- Purchase the HANA Hardware Appliance, which resulted from the Sizing,
- Buy your license for SAP HANA CRM Business Suite.
- Do the Migration to the HANA DB.