Migrating Your SAP ABAP Application to SAP HANA

Lorenzo Squellati is a Senior Sales Director for the SAP Line of Business at Velocity and has over 15 years of experience in the SAP ecosystem.  As part of Velocity’s SAP Line of Business team, Lorenzo Squellati is responsible for new customer sales of SAP solutions. He can be reached at
Many of our customers are evaluating the business case of migrating their current SAP ABAP deployments to HANA in order to take advantage of SAP’s in-memory computer offering.  If your organization is evaluating a move to HANA, there are a few methods you should consider in order to achieve the business benefits of HANA and S/4 HANA.  
Here are the three main approaches to entering the world of in-memory computing:
New Installation
A new installation is simple in the sense that there are no constraints imposed by prior work.  It is a ‘greenfield’ implementation of SAP’s applications (BusinessSuite, BW, SCM, etc.), and is normally associated with a net new purchase of SAP software followed by an initial deployment of that software. 
Classical Migration
The classical migration approach is a two-step process which may or may not require an application upgrade in order to support the HANA migration (i.e., Support Pack Upgrade) and then utilizes a classical database migration to HANA. This method offers the followings benefits and concerns the organization should clearly evaluate:
  • Two-step Process:  Upgrade, then Migrate
  • Results in a nearly identical SAP system
  • Minimal impact on Application Teams
  • Can migrate both ABAP and JAVA based systems
  • Pure Migration without intermediate steps or optimizations
  • Normally requires extended and multiple downtimes
  • If upgrade is required, restore is the only possible option to fallback
Upgrade and Migrate with Database Migration Option (DMO)
This Database Migration Option of the Software Update Manager (SUM) allows organizations to upgrade and migrate in one step and offers the following benefits and concerns the customer should consider:
  • Reduced complexity
  • Can be combined with Unicode Migration
  • Reduced manual effort
  • Downtime optimized and NZDT available
  • Supports NW 7.x based source systems (such as ECC 5.0)
  • Only ABAP based systems supported at present
  • Platform change requires additional steps
Every organization is different in terms of SAP application composition, deployment, customization and bolt-on application/interface requirements. Marrying those aspects along with available customer resources, palette for longer-term projects and risk all will weigh into the approach a customer company may eventually utilize in order to migrate to SAP HANA.  
If possible, the Upgrade and Migrate with DMO offers the quickest path to HANA for most organizations, but may not support customers who have dual stack or make use of JAVA. This issue may be mitigated by SAP at some point, but at present represents a limitation of this specific approach. Customers may engage a provider experienced in the migration of ABAP applications to HANA in order to perform an assessment with an end deliverable of a recommended path for HANA migration based upon customer specific environment and dynamics.