Categories: Founder's Blog


Sam Bayer


HANA means speed

Last week, SAP announced that they are moving all of their products to their in memory database called HANA.  When asked what the significance of this was to business, SAP’s Chairman, Hasso Platner, responded with:

“…Speed, that’s what it means. Over time, this will mean big cost savings for enterprises, because HANA is 10 to 1,000 times faster than regular databases.”.

Well that’s a HUGE WOW for us at b2b2dot0!  We not only applaud Mr. Platner’s dogged determination to make HANA the world’s fastest growing software product, but we can’t wait for everyone who is on SAP’s Business Suite to jump on the bandwagon.

Here is why.

In our never ending quest to improve the performance of our b2b2dot0 service, we analyzed our Client’s December performance transaction logs last week.  The simple questions we asked were:

  • What response time did our Client’s Customers experience as they used our service?
  • If we wanted to improve their web experience, where would we focus our time and energy?

The following is a stacked chart of the response time (y-axis in seconds) that one of our Client’s website users experienced (95% of the time) versus the day of the month (x-axis) in December.

I’ve labeled four important aspects of this chart as follows:



  1. The TOTAL RESPONSE time for 95% (mean time + 2 standard deviations) of all executed transactions experienced by website users.
  2. The SAP PROCESSING time required to simulate an order (take a full shopping cart and calculate the pricing, taxes, shipping costs, check the inventory and credit, and process any other SAP business rules required, or warnings or errors that SAP uncovers)
  3. The NETWORK + BROWSER latency.  Overhead added to the user’s experience by the nature that his/her request had to physically travel across the internet and the resultant information displayed by his browser.
  4. The b2b2dot0 APPLICATION.  The time required to assemble all of the data that needs to be passed to SAP and then managing SAP’s response.

To illustrate, if we look at December 12, we see that 95% of users experience response times of about 3.4 seconds (or less).  The SAP portion of that response time was 2.2 seconds. The browser and network contributed about 1.0 second and the b2b2dot0 service added 0.2 seconds.

Here is the most important observation: by far…the largest component (65%) of the total response time is the time required for SAP to process the order.

In fact, b2b2dot0’s contribution to the total response time (6%) is practically negligent. (At least from a response time perspective, we think we add a lot of real value :-)).

So when HANA becomes the defacto database for all production SAP implementations, on the typical December 12th of the future, SAP’s processing time will be reduced from 2.2 seconds to anywhere in between 0.22 seconds to a blazing 0.0022 seconds.  That means that we’ll have to wait for Google to own the internet’s fiber backbone before we see the next great bump in performance improvement :-).

As a footnote, if you’re wondering what’s up with the periodic spikes in the above chart, that’s one of the signature differences between B2C ecommerce and B2B ecommerce.  Some of our Client’s customers prefer to build up their orders during the course of the week and only place them on the weekends.  The spikes are these “batched” orders that are placed on Saturdays.  They reflect orders with a large number of line items which require significantly more time to process.

Bottom line?  While up until now HANA has been pushed as the ultimate database for big data analytics, I think its real value will be in reducing response times for all regular SAP users.  That’s really important for a company that has a goal of getting 1 Billion people to use their software by 2015.

I can only hope that SAP hurries up and speeds things up!


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