SAP S/4HANA is the semantic evolution of the classic SAP Business Suite. With SAP S/4HANA, SAP has developed a new product that leverages basic data structures and elements of SAP Business Suite for maximum compatibility, nondisruptive conversions, and hybrid scenarios. However, SAP S/4HANA provides new business functionality on top of these data structures, natively built on and optimized for the SAP HANA platform and designed with the SAP Fiori UX principles.
What is the fundamental difference between the SAP Business Suite code line and the new SAP S/4HANA product code line?
The development approach of SAP S/4HANA is to enable customers for the digital economy and deliver a new architecture, designed for real-time, Live Business. The SAP applications built on SAP HANA benefit from this market-leading in-memory computing technology.
The SAP HANA in-memory database stores data in rows and columns. It is this combination of both storage approaches that produces the speed, flexibility, and performance of the SAP HANA database. SAP S/4HANA combines standard SAP ERP functionality and industry features in one modern software stack including required data model adoptions such as the field length extension of material number and amount fields to support modern business process requirements.
The SAP HANA database technology also allows for the elimination of all artifacts that have been introduced as performance workarounds for classical row-based RDBMS. These are aggregates and programmed indexes that contained no semantic value and provided only fast access to sums and data.
These workarounds created interconnections in the application and complexity in how to lock the system to avoid conflicting updates to the aggregates. With SAP S/4HANA, these different types of workarounds, based on technical limitations of traditional databases, are not necessary.
How long will SAP support SAP Business Suite on any database?
SAP remains committed to protecting SAP Business Suite Customers investments, including extending the maintenance commitment until at least 2025. SAP will also continue to deliver innovations without disruption (through enhancement packages, for example) to customers using SAP Business Suite on any database and on SAP HANA.
However, transformational business and IT simplifications require a transformational platform and this is why SAP S/4HANA runs only on SAP HANA. It is the logical next step for SAP customers.
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