HOT NEWS: Free HANA for BI Suite? 11 initial questions… and answers.

Free HANA for BI Suite

I put some time aside this morning to catch up on the latest SAP communication regarding licensing in the BI Suite. Don’t I lead an interesting life? It’s a good job I sat down to go through it, otherwise I may have missed a pretty big change, one that I think has been a long time coming.

SAP have announced that from now on there will be an unlimited Memory Runtime License of SAP HANA included with all new BI Suite implementations. Reading through the background triggered many questions in my mind so I thought I would try and bullet them here along with my current understanding of the answers.

As always, this is my current understanding and opinion, always check the specifics with your Partner or SAP Account Manager.

1. What is the BI Suite? – The SAP BI Suite is the most common BusinessObjects licence model for Enterprise customers, it has been available in it’s current form since the launch of BusinessObjects 4.0. It includes all of the BI tools required to address the core BI needs of organisations including Reporting, Dashboarding, Query and Analysis, MSFT Office Integration and Mobile. If you have active SAP maintenance then you can convert from older licence models to the BI Suite without buying from scratch.

2. Does this apply to BusinessObjects Edge? – Unfortunately this is BI Suite only, so customers who have licensed BusinessObjects Edge will not get access to this HANA bundle.

3. What is HANA? – Seriously?!? All joking aside, if you are not aware of capabilities of the SAP in-memory computing platform then I would suggest that you pause at this point and read this.

4. What is the HANA Runtime licence for the BI Suite? – A bundled licence allowing you to install HANA for use as a Lumira Server Repository only. Lumira and Lumira Server are now included with the BI Suite, Lumira Server requires HANA, so we now include HANA. Makes sense?

5. What are Lumira and Lumira Server? – The new(ish) kids on the SAP BI block. Frequent release cycles introducing new and exciting functionality, addressing the Data Discovery and Visualisation requirements that are becoming more and more prevalent. Read more and get your free Personal Edition here.

6. What else can I use the free HANA for? – Apart from Lumira Server, you can use it as the BusinessObjects platform repository. That is it, nothing else. No data modelling, no data marts, no replication from transactional systems, no predictive algorithms, no text analytics. If you want those or any of the other great features offered by HANA you need to licence one of the other versions. Talk to your Rep.

7. How much data can it hold? – The licence is for unlimited memory, so ultimately it’s down to the hardware you choose to deploy.

8. Do I still need HANA hardware? – Yes you do, just like other implementations of HANA it must run on certified hardware, but can be virtualised under the right conditions. The price of the hardware has tumbled recently and hosting options are also compelling.

9. Will I still need my data warehouse? – Yes, the HANA runtime is for Lumira content only, all reports and other assets will still run through your existing data sources.

10. How do I get it? – New implementations will get it as standard, existing customers will need to convert to the new licence model, talk to your Rep, it’s easier than it sounds.

11. Should I care? – Yes you should, SAP HANA will be the foundation of the next generation of not only the SAP BI tools but also the wider SAP solution suite, this is your chance to get started now.

You may have read the recent RunSimple blog by fellow itelli Andrew Fox where he talked about the plans for simplifying the number of tools within the BusinessObjects stack and how this would impact licensing. This new HANA bundling is yet another positive step by SAP as they continue to evolve their BI solutions.


As always, feel free to comment, you can get me on twitter @andysteer


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