As a writer who gravitates toward visual storytelling, I’ve been exploring the art of filmmaking.
When I first considered my screenplay concept, my process began with a simple character arc that lived in my head for a while. As I got to know my protagonist and more about the world around her, the amount of details to manage was no longer suitable for my mental filing cabinets.
The same issue relates to companies handling copious amounts of their own business data. As the number of contacts, records, and transactions grow, a question is raised: How will we manage all of this?
When it comes to organizing business details from operations in all corners, companies turn to databases to host all of this information. But what kind of database model is best suited for which companies? As businesses acquire more and more data, cloud-based options – opposed to on-premise – have become more popular, since cloud databases have the ability to hold large data loads, among other capabilities. In this blog post, we’ll explore the challenges businesses face with databases in general and how cloud-based solutions can help – specifically SAP HANA Cloud.
On-Premise Vs. Cloud Databases
First, let’s distinguish the difference between on-premise and cloud databases.
On-premise databases are hosted at an organization’s physical location. They utilize the hardware, IT infrastructure, and organization’s support. To obtain on-premise software, organizations need to purchase a license or a copy of the software, and any maintenance or problems related to the software are handled by the organization’s IT department.
Cloud-based software is provided as a service through a third party and hosted on a cloud computing platform. Rather than paying for a license, cloud software acts as more of a subscription plan to customers with a “pay as you use” ideology for the service.
Challenges To Consider
There are various conditions to look at when choosing a database model. Here are some of the major considerations.
Scalability refers to a system’s ability to increase its capacity and functionalities based on a users’ needs or demands. When software is scalable, it can increase its workload as more resources are added, remaining stable through changes and updates.
However, when it comes to the challenges that are faced in regards to size, geographic, and administrative scalability, there are two major limitations within the software. These are centralization – the fact that everything lives in or is controlled by one place – and synchronous communication – when a service is waiting until it receives a reply from another service.
A scalable system will be able to handle an influx of users and resources, but if the system is centralized it will limit the amount of data it can serve. With synchronous communication, the time it takes for processes to complete depends on where the servers are located. If all servers are on a local network, waiting for the process to complete is fast, but it is much slower on a wider network with devices located in different areas.
Cloud-based options are able to scale up and add resources quickly in order to meet a company’s evolving needs. Solutions such as SAP HANA Cloud are able to give businesses the tools they need to expand the volume of their data with ease. As a fully managed in-memory cloud database and data foundation for SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), SAP HANA Cloud is capable of integrating data from across an enterprise, which enables faster decisions based on live data.
On-premise solutions cannot make the same easy or quick adjustments, and their lack of flexibility usually means the system must undergo an upgrade process in order to achieve the same scaling capabilities as cloud solutions.
On-premise environments provide a high level of security that many industries require, especially those handling confidential information. For many, the fear of data breaches prevents them from cloud computing deployment and they find comfort in the privacy of on-premise solutions. However, cloud security has evolved since its early days and offers comprehensive and more robust security.
SAP HANA Cloud provides a handful of features to implement security requirements, including authentication, authorization, data encryption, audit logging, backup and recovery, and more. While hosting sensitive information in a public environment will always risk the possibility of a data breach, this can be mitigated by taking proper precautions and following a solution’s best practices.
Organizations have to pay for the upfront costs it takes to design, build, and deploy a new system. When comparing database models in the context of price, on-premise solutions tend to be more expensive. Organizations will have to consider the total cost of ownership, as they are responsible for any maintenance or ongoing costs of the server hardware, power consumption, and space.
Companies who opt for cloud-based solutions only have to deal with a single, ongoing operational expense. The subscription-like nature of a cloud system relieves any maintenance and upkeep costs, and only requires customers to pay for what they use.
SAP HANA Cloud Benefits
SAP HANA Cloud provides users with a single place to access, store, and process enterprise data in real time. All of the advanced technologies that SAP HANA offers for multi-model data processing, both in-memory or on-disk, are available in the solution.
Companies utilizing SAP HANA Cloud can set up and manage SAP HANA databases, connecting them to applications running on SAP BTP. There is also the option for a hybrid deployment, opposed to solely cloud, for companies that need a more customized solution. The databases can be accessed using a variety of languages and interfaces, and users can build applications and models using tools provided with SAP HANA Cloud, allowing them to manage where and how data is stored and accessed.
Choosing SAP HANA Cloud for a business means faster data processing. With high performance capabilities, customers gain high-speed access to data, independent computing and storage, and scaling abilities with no up-front costs – fully managed as a service.
Companies can also benefit from the solution’s ability to provide one source of truth. This can be done by connecting with data across various data sources with ease, standardizing and streamlining data management, and reducing data duplication with virtualization and SAP HANA smart data access.
For more details and features that make up SAP HANA Cloud, click here.
Various industries can take advantage of the features SAP HANA Cloud offers. Let’s take a look at a company that leveraged the solution to improve its customer service.
Acea Group, an Italian multi-utility company, was looking to offer its customers necessary residential services like water, energy, lighting, and waste treatment. The problem? With growing amounts of data, its current data management capabilities didn’t have the means for its intended expansion. It needed a cost-effective and scalable cloud platform capable of optimized performance, advanced storage capabilities, improved application development, and easier database management.
The company turned to SAP HANA Cloud to improve its scalability, agility, and flexibility. Migrating to the solution offered the ability to scale separate computer and storage capabilities based on usage, a built-in data lake, and a powerful application platform. With tiered data storage options, it was also able to keep costs down while maximizing high-speed performance. And lastly, the developer-friendly environment for internal and customer-facing applications enabled better performance, improved data consumption, and made it easier to manage database administration. The benefits of SAP HANA Cloud provided the company with flexibility to scale data capabilities, allowing for the agility needed to achieve its expansion strategy, while reducing operational and infrastructure costs.
View the original case study here.
Utilizing cloud-based databases provides an opportunity for companies to evolve freely as their data intake grows and requires a more efficient way to store and manage it. SAP HANA Cloud, specifically, can help organizations leverage important features that make a database effective, such as cloud or hybrid deployment, low total cost of ownership, high processing performance, and real-time processing.