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Is Data Archiving a Part of Your SAP HANA Implementation?

Every so often, life brings you a big decision to make.  For most people in their personal lives, the biggest such decision is about buying a house, usually involving painstaking cost-benefit analysis, heart-searching conversations with partners and a possibly sobering conversation with some kind of financial institution.  It’s well understood that the bigger the deposit you can make immediately, the smaller the mortgage repayments will be in the future – pain now for gain later.

An organization considering a major upgrade to its business software has to go through the same process – in principle; of course, the practice is considerably more complex, potentially cumbersome and (this being to do with technology) fraught with pitfalls.  Nonetheless, we strongly recommend that any organization considering this kind of an upgrade must do a thorough and holistic analysis before taking such a major step. We are not alone in this recommendation:

“Gartner’s advice is do not wait, perform this analysis now….Many application leaders are tempted to ignore SAP S/4HANA “until it is mature” because understanding its impact is complex. This is the wrong approach…"1


A significant part of the future cost of S/4 HANA is the need for large amounts of RAM for the in-memory database, which is very expensive in comparison to simple data storage. Anything which can cut these future costs has surely got to merit serious consideration as part of taking a holistic view of a migration.

“We estimate that for a customer with a 2TB database, archiving could reduce its size by a half and save 20-25% of the future hosting costs.“

This is where data archiving comes in: it’s not a trivial task – indeed, it’s a multi-month project – but by thus decongesting its active data an organization should be able to reduce the amount of RAM needed by a future S/4HANA implementation, and hence its running costs, by a significant margin – pain now for gain later. We estimate that for a customer with a 2TB database, archiving could reduce its size by a half and save 20-25% of the future hosting costs. This means that getting to break-even can come surprisingly quickly. This kind of cost-benefit comparison is something that we would routinely do as part of assessing a potential S/4HANA migration.

As you might expect with a complex project such as an S/4 HANA migration, innovation has a distinct role to play not only in speeding up the archiving process but also in improving the post-archive view of the data. Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers tools that piggyback on SAP’s own migration offerings to do just this: automate and therefore accelerate the archiving process with the help of a tool called Glue; and facilitate the seamless view, post-archive, of operational, reporting and archive data via Athena linked with SAP’s own Fiori toolset. We have partnered with AWS to bring these components together as a part of its managed services portfolio.

The scientific definition of Velocity is “speed with direction”; combine this with the mass of an S/4HANA migration and the result is momentum for change. Archiving is a significant endeavor with potentially major cost benefits; any SAP customer considering the S/4HANA path should be sure to include this potentially critical area as an integral part of its future business software plans.

1 “What Customers Need to Know When Considering a Move to S/4HANA” — Gartner, October 2018