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What is the difference between SAP ASE and SAP HANA? | MDSap

SAP’s core offering in database management systems is SAP HANA, which was initially released in 2010. SAP ASE, originally Sybase SQL, was initially released in the mid-’80s and acquired by SAP in 2010. SAP ASE’s strengths lie in high volume transactional data processing, SAP HANA’s strengths lie in high-speed analytical processing.

If your company is strictly looking for a high-performance database-management system, SAP ASE may be the right option for you. If your more immediate needs go beyond a traditional database and require transactional and analytical processing, SAP HANA would be a more appropriate fit for your company to consider. If your company currently runs on SAP ASE but has built a business case for SAP HANA, the transition is made easier with the assistance of Sybase Replication Server.

Let’s explore what a relational database is before we discuss the individual strengths of SAP ASE and SAP HANA.


A database is simply a place to store and process structured information. Databases permit manipulation or retrieval of their contained data in usable manners. A relational database organizes data into tables according to their type or attribute and allows for relationships to be created between data types. For example, a relational database can link data from a customer information table like the customer’s name, address and billing information, to data from a customer transaction table like product orders, based on the shared unique ID attributed to the specific customer. When a company’s order processing application submits an order to the database, the database can go to the customer order table, pull the correct information about the product order, and use the customer ID from that table to look up the customer’s billing and shipping information in the customer information table. The warehouse can then pull the correct product, the customer can receive the timely delivery of the order, and the company can get paid.

Many of the documents businesses run to track inventory, sales, finance, or even perform financial projections come from a relational database operating behind the scenes.


A relational database allows you and your business to better understand the relationships between all available data and gain new insights for making better business decisions or identifying new opportunities. SQL (Structured Query Language), the language used to communicate with the database, includes the ability to count, add, group, and also combine queries. SQL can perform basic math and subtotal functions and logical transformations.

Relational databases have several advantages compared to other database formats, including:

Data consistency: For critical business operations like transactional processes such as bank deposits or shopping cart transactions, you need real-time updates to ensure that data is consistent across all applications and database copies so the customer can immediately see the results of the transaction they have just made and that the business workflow process can continue. Relational databases are the best at maintaining data consistency by ensuring that multiple instances of a database have the same data all the time.

Database locking and concurrency: While it is easy to update data, locking prevents other users and applications from accessing data while it is being updated. Concurrency ensures that the right access is given to users and applications according to stored policies when multiple users or applications invoke queries at the same time.

Reduced redundancy: Relational databases eliminate data redundancy through a design technique called normalization. Normalization minimizes the duplication of information and reduces the risk of errors in data caused by copies of the same information that are not synchronized.

Ease of backup and disaster recovery: Relational databases offer easy to export and import options, and backups can even be made while the database is running, making restore on failure easy. Cloud-based relational databases can even restore the loss of data measured in seconds or less.


SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) is the answer to all of your data management needs. To meet the rising demand for performance, reliability, and efficiency in every industry, this high-performance SQL database server drives faster, more agile online transaction processing (OLTP), on-premise or in the cloud. Much like the engine of a car, SAP ASE is a resource-efficient relational database management system (RDMS) that powers the very core of your business – data.


The advanced technology innovations of SAP ASE enhance its performance, speed and security capabilities. Modernize and accelerate your transaction-based applications on-premise and in the cloud with the following technology innovations:

Extreme processing speed: ASE tackles extreme online transaction processing (XOLTP) head-on with a high-performance, robust XOLTP engine, application compatibility for snapshot isolation by compiling query plans into native code, and the capabilities of modern multi-core computing platforms, to speed up and improve transaction processing efficiency.

Fail-safe data security and encryption: ASE protects your business data from threats during unplanned downtime and breaches, ensures business operation consistency by keeping data secure, and supports granular, native data encryption for keeping the most sensitive data private.

Cost-effective compression: Compressing relational and unstructured data improves overall system performance, reduces storage costs, and optimizes data retrieval for faster business process insights and actions.

In-memory processing power: MemScale technologies improve performance with the power of in-memory processing and hardware acceleration. This allows you to speed up query execution with higher concurrency and lower contention, access often-used data quickly with cost-effective storage management, and enable low-latency, persistency, and caching granularity for mission-critical data.

Defining data for quick insights: ASE partitions turn huge volumes of data into organized data groups that accelerate transition processing and makes it faster and easier for users to access and analyze specific data groups.

Workload Optimization: The Workload Analyzer and Workload Profiler allow you to adapt to changing workloads and optimize performance with greater control and less risk to business operations. Capture, analyze and replay a workload to address performance issues, and understand the impact of in-memory row storage, differential reference codes, MVCC, and on-disk MVCC for existing applications, to ensure that businesses stay agile and support the needs of changing application requirements.


SAP HANA is a high-performance in-memory database and software platform from SAP that speeds data-driven, real-time processes and analyses. As the data foundation of SAP’s Business Technology Platform, SAP S/4 HANA, it provides advanced analytics on multi-model data, on-premise and in the cloud. “HANA” stands for “High-Performance Analytic Appliance”, which highlights the software’s ability to perform analyses at great speed.

Based on a relational database management system (RDBMS), SAP HANA organises and controls the data in a database (DB). In the simplest of terms, a database is made up of a large number of tables in which data or data records are stored in rows. SAP HANA’s database technology uses this row-oriented database technology as well as the column-oriented approach that is common in in-memory databases. This allows the SAP HANA database management system to carry out analyses and transactions in parallel, making it possible to connect OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) and OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) landscapes from a single source in real-time.

The advantage of an in-memory database is that data can be stored directly in the working memory without having to be temporarily copied from the hard disk to the working memory. The main memory, therefore, serves as data storage. This accelerates data processing speeds significantly and allows the SAP HANA platform to collect, store and process large amounts of data in real-time without the need for extra hardware or IT operations; which brings us to the second advantage – cost and resource efficiency.


SAP HANA offers a robust set of capabilities, including database management, database administration, data security, multi-model processing, application development, and data virtualisation.

  • Database management: SAP HANA’s unique enterprise-grade, in-memory database technology simplifies and accelerates your data processing with a single unified database solution on-premise and in the cloud. By combining live transactional data with historical data in the moment, also yields the deep insight needed to make the right decisions on the fly.
  • Database administration: SAP HANA simplifies data administration operations to monitor and optimise processes, help ensure data and application security, and achieve continuous availability. the SAP HANA in-memory database allows users to configure, tune, and monitor database performance, perform core administration tasks, and automate and orchestrate advanced operations with the administration tools available.
  • Data security: SAP HANA’s advanced security features secure communications, data, and services with comprehensive identity, access management, and data anonymisation to preserve privacy and trust.
  • Multi-model processing with advanced analytics: SAP HANA’s ability to store and process multiple data types in a single, scalable solution allows you to store and quickly perform complex processing of multiple data types, such as a spatial, graph, and documents; augment transactions with advanced analytics, including machine learning and predictive modelling, and innovate with modern applications that combine transactional and analytical workloads on a single data set.
  • Application development: SAP HANA’s built-in development and runtime capabilities, leveraging open standards and tools, help you create modern applications faster with simplified application architecture.
  • Data virtualisation: SAP HANA’s data federation and data integration and replication capabilities provide a real-time gateway to all of your data across applications, data storage and the cloud, with built-in data quality capabilities and services.


Running SAP solutions such as SAP S/4HANA, SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Ariba, SAP SuccessFactors, and SAP Customer Experience on the SAP HANA platform has revolutionised the processing power, speed and simplicity these solutions offer intelligent enterprises.

If you’re still struggling to decide which system is best for you, contact us for an expert review of your environment and suggestions on what will work best.

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