Understanding Your SAP Environment

Your SAP Environment

Licensing Complexities & HANA Database

Understanding Your SAP Environment and How You Can Use HANA Database

  • 10 May 2022
  • 4.55 minutes to read

We’ve been noticing an increase in the number of customers who are moving from various databases to HANA Database regardless of runtime or full use license lately. When making such transition, customers need to be aware of SAP’s licensing complexities, audit requirements and the risks of not fully understanding the SAP environment.

Recently, SAP has been actively engaging and investigating their customers to validate the usage of HANA database and they are paying special attention to how it is used, including the functionalities.

This has been particularly targeted at Runtime customers, but we are also seeing this becoming standard for full use customers. It’s more important than ever that risks AND opportunities are identified and actioned to optimize your investment in SAP software.

Historically, SAP did not have its own database, and SAP software could be deployed on multiple third-party databases, most commonly Oracle, SQL and DB2. After years of using other databases, SAP finally launched HANA in 2010.

In short HANA is an in-memory, column-oriented, relational database management system. Its primary function as a database server is to store and retrieve data as requested by the applications, including performing advanced analytics - extract, transform, load capabilities as well as an application server. HANA can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud from a number of cloud service providers and on SAP’s own cloud platform and runs on multiple operating systems.

How Does SAP HANA Database Licensing Work?

SAP has been actively pushing the HANA database into its install base (ECC), and SAP S/4HANA runs only on HANA database.

SAP HANA licensing is primarily divided into two categories:

1 - SAP HANA Runtime License

Limited usage to a runtime environment to run SAP applications such as SAP Business Warehouse, SAP BW/4HANA, SAP Business Suite, SAP S/4HANA and other related products powered by SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA.

SAP HANA Runtime Edition for SAP BW (HANA REB)

- set of services catering for SAP Business Warehouse (BW)

SAP HANA Runtime Edition for Apps and SAP BW (HANA REAB)

- includes all capabilities from REB, plus other SAP Applications – SAP Business Suite, S/4HANA

2 - SAP HANA Full Use License

Unrestricted usage to run both SAP and non-SAP, and hybrid applications. This licensing can be used to create custom applications and no limitations on loading and exporting of SAP & non-SAP data directly into and out of SAP HANA as well. As part of the full use license, features are grouped as editions targeting various use cases.

Standard Edition

standard features (with the option to add additional services you need)

Enterprise Edition

all capabilities and features from Standard Edition plus additional bundled components for some of the data loading capabilities and the rule framework.

There are several other options and editions within the HANA database space as well.

The SAP HANA Runtime Edition’s pricing is based on a percentage of licensed spend (HANA SAP Application Value) for SAP software. Whereas the SAP HANA Full Use (Enterprise) Edition is licensed by memory usage. There are reports you could run to review how many GB you are using.

It is important to note that HANA Enterprise Edition is one of the very few licenses that are not discountable and relatively expensive compared to the Runtime Edition license.

How to Determine Which HANA Database License is Right for My Organization?

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to do this. It requires understanding SAP’s software use rights and comparing the HANA database license you own. In addition, you need to ascertain how the current HANA database is being used in order to ensure there is no potential compliance risk especially with the many restrictions around HANA Runtime Edition.

The implications of using functionalities that are not covered by the HANA Runtime Edition license

Due to the many restrictions of the HANA Runtime Edition license, more often than not organizations end up using functionalities that require HANA Enterprise Edition license which comes with licensing implications.

The usage rights of the different editions are detailed out in the SAP Software Use Rights document. It is imperative to have the right clarity and understanding of the usage terms and conditions to ensure that the organization has a comprehensive view of its’ product use in order to avoid any licensing breach.

Possible options available if organization is using functionalities not covered by the HANA Runtime Edition license

  • Review and modify the existing model to fall within the stipulated use rights of the HANA Runtime Edition
  • Acquire license for parts of the business model that requires functionalities which falls within the HANA Enterprise Edition
  • Total conversion to Enterprise Edition

It is worth noting that each of the above options would have corresponding implications from various different perspectives, both from functionality and business point of view, which needs to be reviewed and considered thoroughly.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the decision of choosing which edition is best for your organization depends on whether you want to leverage SAP applications, or you want to use the full power of the SAP HANA platform. The HANA database is an expensive SAP product and functionality is increasingly becoming a focus point during SAP license audits.

SAP experts at SoftwareONE can help you address all the above questions with confidence through our SAP HANA Database Assessment service, which is delivered completely remotely and includes:

  • Review of your SAP contract to understand your risks and opportunities
  • A high-level analysis of your current usage of HANA database to identify risk and mitigation potential that you action before speaking to SAP
  • A report containing data and recommendations so that you can engage SAP with confidence

Making the Right Choice

Before making a final decision a thorough review of your current environment and strategic plan should be undertaken. SoftwareONE can help address the challenges and complexities surrounding SAP HANA Database licensing, allowing organizations to focus on their core competencies and drive business growth and innovation.

Learn more

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