Getting into SAP HANA (part 3): SAP HANA Starter book

Posted by on Feb 4, 2013

saphanastarterLast year I got a bit stuck when playing around with the SAP HANA Studio on our Amazon AWS HANA setup. In the meanwhile a great book (SAP HANA: An Introduction) has been published providing all the ins-and-outs of HANA. This book is on the #1 best-seller spot at SAP Press for months now!

Time to get some actual hands-on experience with those Analtyic views and Calculated attributes. I found this book called SAP HANA Starter by Mark Walker, which appeared to be an extremely practical guide to get you started with HANA and let you learn the basics of the SAP HANA Studio tool.

The book starts with a basic intro to HANA, including some explanation on the column-based database. This is all very very short, but that’s okay because the purpose of this book is to give some practical guidance, not all the theory. Next the book takes you through the installation, the setup of SAP HANA Studio itself and finally a big example scenario is followed. This is all done in a step-by-step manner, supported with a lot of screenshots.

What I really like about the demo scenario that is worked out throughout the book is that you don’t have to set up things like a connected source database or an additional tool like Data Services or so to get started. The book show you how to create some new tables and how to use some SQL statements to create some demo data yourself. Based on these tables a scenario is followed in which objects like the analytic view, attribute view, filters, calculated attribute, graphical calculation view and so on are discussed and created step-by-step. If you follow all the steps, in the end the result of your ‘HANA application’  can be presented through MS Excel.

SAP HANA Starter is a very to the point and hands-on ebook and will be useful for you if you are a SAP HANA Studio first timer. The book has about 50 pages of content which will keep you busy for a sunday afternoon. The ebook is priced around $9,-, which is just good value.

SAP HANA Starter by Mark Walker, ISBN 9781849688680.

Posted in: Books, Knowledge sharing, SAP HANA

Book review: SAP HANA – An Introduction

Posted by on Oct 28, 2012

One of the most anticipated SAP books of 2012 is finally here: SAP HANA – An Introduction published by SAP Press (who else). I had the pleasure to see both authors Bjarne Berg and Penny Silvia at last year’s European BI2011 event in Amsterdam. Looking back at their sessions this should be a quality book so my expectations were high.

My last attempt at diving into the HANA stuff was in August and didn’t end that well. After successfully setting up  our Amazon/AWS HANA box and installing the tools I got stuck at SAP HANA Studio. So let’s see if this book will really show me how this thing works.

SAP HANA – An Introduction is divided into two parts: First the What, Why and When and second the How. The What, Why and When part, which takes about a third of the 400 book pages, is all about explaining things. What is in-memory computing, what is big data and how does the HANA solution look like. Here I got some answers to some basic questions that I still had on HANA. For example what would happen with the data in case of a power failure (since all of your data is loaded in-memory). Another thing nobody could explain to me was the concept of working with column-based storage of data versus row-based storage, which is illustrated very well in this book.

SAP HANA comes in two versions: A Standalone version and a version for SAP BW. The book not only covers the technical requirements and differences on both versions, but also the required skills you’ll need in your project team to implement HANA for each option. About 50 pages are dedicated to HANA use cases for both versions and provides guidelines on how to fit HANA into your business strategy.

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Posted in: Books, New technology, SAP HANA

Getting into SAP HANA (part 1)

Posted by on Aug 12, 2012

According to the number of tweets in my TL the SAP HANA hype is getting bigger and bigger each day, so I guess it is time to step in. But, where to begin? I’ve been watching this whole development over the past year from a far distance so I know a bit about the purpose and possibilities of HANA, but I don’t have the complete overview and I also lack the hands-on experience with the HANA tools.

Last week I got the SAP HANA Studio software from the SCN site. Installation on Windows 7 went without any problems. At Interdobs we rent a HANA box on Amazon Web Services (in the cloud) and I managed to launch it and connect to it with SAP HANA Studio. With AWS you only have to pay for what you use, so this is obviously a cheaper way to start with HANA than buying a 80k box which you also have to maintain yourself.

So, having everything set up and ready to go, my journey ended a few minutes later. The HANA box was obviously very very empty (besides some technical tables) and I had no idea what to do with it; how to build tables and load some data.

Time to take a few steps back. Sven van Leuken posted a link on his blog about a ‘free SAP HANA certification’. This is a nice start! Not only is this a test to check your HANA knowledge, it also provides an introductory/overview course for HANA.

This 80 minutes online course covers the following subjects (login required):

  • SAP HANA Solution Overview for Solution Consultants
  • SAP HANA Technical Overview
  • SAP HANA Overview of Data Provisioning
  • SAP HANA Overview of Data Replication
  • SAP HANA Overview of Information Models
  • SAP HANA Data Analysis and Reporting

After the course you can take a test and if you pass (yeah you will pass, it is easy if you pay some attention) you’ll get some kind of certification that you now are a Level 1 SAP HANA Solution consultant, whatever this means.

Anyway, after watching this course I had a far better understanding of the HANA landscape, its building blocks and possibilities. But, it remained quite high-level and didn’t cover the actual usage of the SAP HANA Studio tooling. Let’s look into that another time!

To be continued…

Posted in: Knowledge sharing, New technology, SAP