Big data analysis has given organizations richer information about their business than ever before. With real-time access to detailed info, executives have greater insight into and can exercise greater control over their day-to-day operations and trends. Advanced technologies such as SAP HANA open up new possibilities for powerful analytics and innovative processes, but these technologies are priced at a premium.
By tackling the problem of data growth, organizations can enjoy the greater insight and control that comes with big data without worrying about rapidly escalating costs. A data volume management strategy enables organizations to improve their SAP system performance as well as their return on investment in SAP HANA so they can stay competitive and position themselves for continued success.
Here are three simple rules to follow when putting a data volume growth strategy in place:
1. Know your data. Many organizations collect a vast amount of data, but how much of that data is actionable or accessed frequently? Maintaining a lean database is essential to a good data volume management strategy and controlling the cost of SAP HANA. Start with a data inventory and analysis. Once you understand how your business uses data, you’ll be able to understand where your business needs SAP HANA and where you may be able to use other solutions.
Consider the following points when doing an inventory:
- Separate high-value information from data. What data is the most valuable to your business? Keep the data that has the most value to your organization in online or near-line systems so it can be accessed quickly. Less-valuable data can be cleaned up and archived if you need to retain it for audit or compliance purposes. If it is no longer needed, it can be purged so it doesn’t clutter your high-performance systems.
- Consider frequency of data access. How often is the data accessed? Frequently accessed data needs to be available to users quickly. However, not all frequently accessed data needs to be kept in SAP HANA. Static or business-complete data can be archived and moved to other systems and still provide users with quick, seamless access. The key to moving data out of production systems is to ensure that users have transparent access when they need it.
2. Know your technology options.Keeping data in production SAP systems or on SAP HANA can provide power and performance you need for critical operations, but moving data into other standard, near-line, or cloud storage solutions provides benefits as well. When considering other storage options, it’s important to do the following:
- Leverage assets you already own.As part of your data inventory and clean up, consider moving data that doesn’t need to be in SAP HANA to other storage that you already have. All SAP systems include the ability to archive data, which compresses data for efficient long-term storage. By leveraging SAP’s built-in archiving capabilities, you can easily compress data and move it off of SAP HANA and on to other standard storage solutions without incurring any additional cost.
- Adopt complementary technologies. While SAP HANA provides the power and performance that you need for advanced analytics, not all data requires that level of performance. Near-line and cloud storage options are also viable options that cost significantly less than SAP HANA. By complementing SAP HANA with these other storage options, you can align the cost of storing the data with the value of the data.
3. Know your industry.Each industry has specific pain points that change the way big data impacts their business. Organizations in the consumer packaged goods or retail industries often have high volume sales transactions, rebates, and returns, which can dramatically increase the volume of data that must be collected, processed, and stored. Other highly regulated industries, such as oil and gas, utilities, health and pharmaceutical, must retain and secure large volumes of data for long periods of time. For this reason, it is impossible to apply the same data volume management strategy to every SAP HANA customer. Knowing how your industry uses data will allow you to maximize the value you get out of SAP HANA while keeping costs under control.
Understanding your data, your technology options, and your industry will help you develop a data volume management strategy that will accelerate your return on investment in SAP HANA. By managing data volume, either before or after you make the move to SAP HANA, you can concentrate the cost and the benefits of SAP HANA on your most critical business data while ensuring fast, easy access to other data to drive long-term business success.
Dr. Werner Hopf is CEO and Archiving Principal at Dolphin Enterprise Solutions Corp. He has more than 20 years of experience in the information technology industry and specializes in SAP Data Volume Management initiatives. Founded in 1995, Dolphin works exclusively within the SAP ecosystem. As the one partner that manages both data and processes, it leads the way in business performance improvement.