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Evolution of SAP to SAP S/4 HANA

Updated: Feb 27, 2022

SAP was started in 1972 by five former IBM employees with a vision of creating a standard application software for real-time business processing. SAP stands for Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing. Since its inception SAP has issued several releases, you can get the overview of that in this blog;

R/2 (1979) :-
  • SAP Invents ERP. SAP started their journey in 70' with first ERP product viz. SAP R/2.

  • R means Real Time, and although there was an R/1, this is not regarded as the first major release.

  • It is 2 tier architecture in which three layers Presentation, Application and Database are installed in two separate servers. (Server 1 – Presentation, Server 2 – Application + Database)

R/3 (1992) :-
  • SAP got its big boom with this version

  • It is three-tier architecture approach, in which processing is split across three layers - client, application, and database.

  • It is the end of the mono-chromatic, text-based, messy green screens and the start of a new graphical interface to improve the end user experience.

ECC (2004) :-
  • The web is firmly established and customers are demanding better integration between their business applications and Web.

  • SAP developed new integration application platform called SAP NetWeaver to enable this.

  • Additionally, a new switch framework is introduced to allow customers to selectively enable only the new functions developed by SAP in order to avoid disturbance to their core process.

S/4 HANA (2015) :-
  • S/4 HANA brought huge memory and multi-core processor to offer massive computing power.

  • SAP started using their own database viz. HANA

  • Transactional as well as Analytical processing (OLTP + OLAP) were combined in this system to improve performance.

  • SAP S/4 HANA is built on Agile method which confirms continuous improvement.

Product Journey of S/4 HANA-

In 2005, SAP started developing a new wave of applications built on in-memory database but realized no traditional database had what they needed, SAP started developing their own in-memory database and came up with SAP HANA in year 2011.

Around 2012, SAP successfully converted its first major application, SAP Business

Warehouse (BW), to run completely on SAP HANA. This was quickly followed up with the

conversion of SAP Business Suite. Ensure not to confuse Suite on HANA with SAP S/4HANA, as these are not the same. Conversion means the code has been adjusted to work with SAP HANA and also to take advantage of some basic optimizations.

In 2015, SAP started from scratch and rewrote the complete SAP Business Suite natively to

run only on SAP HANA. Unlike Suite on HANA, SAP S/4HANA is a brand new code-line, which

works only on SAP HANA.

This was just the overview of evolution to SAP S/4 HANA, we will discuss power of S/4 HANA in upcoming blogs. Keep tuned!


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