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5 Persistent Questions about ArcGIS on HANA

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While ArcGIS on HANA implementation patterns are emerging rapidly, we continue to hear 5 persistent questions about how implementing ArcGIS on HANA would benefit an organization. Let’s walk through these 5 questions, I’ll show you how we help you get started with ArcGIS on HANA. Then you may realize the benefits this solution promises.

1 – Why should I move my Esri data to HANA?

I have never met a GIS administrator who was excited about moving to a new database, but there are three (3) key benefits that justify the move to ArcGIS on HANA:

Performance – When you use the Esri Geodatabase in SAP HANA, analysis and reporting occurs at speeds that are orders of magnitude faster than other databases platform. The SAP HANA Database stores data “in memory” allowing users to perform unstructured analysis against millions of records. HANA also uses its own native spatial format to store geometric data enabling HANA to perform spatial analysis at the database level. Check out this cool Story Map Esri and SAP created to show how the geodatabase on HANA tackles big data queries.

Integration – HANA’s integration tools allow you to combine Esri data with other S/4 HANA system data stored in the HANA database. This makes it easy to view SAP objects like equipment or work orders on an Esri web map. You can combine data from Esri, SAP, and other critical business systems to perform complex analysis without making multiple copies of the data.

Lower Total Cost of Ownership – For many clients, moving their Esri data to HANA is an incremental step in the adoption of HANA as the primary database across their Enterprise. Once all enterprise GIS data is moved to HANA, licensing is simplified and the number of platforms that IT staff need to understand and maintain are reduced.

Esri SAP HANA Connection Diagram

ArcGIS on SAP HANA landscape with an Esri Publish geodatabase in HANA

2 – Do I need to move all my Esri data to HANA?

For most clients, moving data to HANA happens in phases. There are often technical and/or organizational reasons not to move your GIS data to HANA all at once. The value of ArcGIS on HANA can still be realized by migrating your Publish or system of engagement geodatabases to HANA while migrating the system of record geodatabases later. This method allows you to realize quick wins from your move to HANA. You can take advantage of the performance and integration benefits of ArcGIS on HANA while leaving more time to tackle larger projects such as a Utility Network migration.

3 – What about synchronization, do I still need it?

After moving all Esri data onto the HANA database you might think you no longer need synchronization. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case. Both Esri and SAP are complex software platforms with different architectures and schemas. Each of these systems creates and edits asset data differently. A minimum level of synchronization is needed in order to share Esri’s and SAP’s unique identifiers but more complex synchronization solutions are replaced with the integration benefits of having all your data in HANA.

4 – Does ArcGIS on HANA work with SAP GEF?

SAP Geographical Enablement Framework (GEF) and ArcGIS on HANA are complementary technologies. Together they help organizations use a map to interact with SAP data. GEF provides a map within SAP S/4 to create and edit geometries for SAP objects like equipment or work orders. Those geometries are then stored in HANA and can then be accessed by ArcGIS using HANA’s integration tools and displayed on an Esri web map or used in ArcGIS Pro for analysis. Most of our clients use a combination of both GEF to view SAP data on a map within SAP as well as Esri web maps and apps to combine their business data from SAP with other Esri data and tools.

5 – How do I get started?

Critigen has supported multiple clients by performing proofs of concept. These projects focus on a single use case that can be improved by implementing ArcGIS on HANA. A proof of concept could be a simple objective such as migrating a copy of a GIS Publish geodatabase to HANA and publishing services to an Esri Web Map. In one example of a simplified proof of concept, Critigen helped integrate hydrant data from Esri and SAP in a GIS layer and then published a service to a web map that the fire department personnel could use to view the status of hydrants at a call location. A proof of concept like this can be accomplished in days to weeks validating the benefits of ArcGIS on HANA. You can then go forward and create a plan for further ArcGIS on HANA migration. For more details read our blog post about the benefits of ArcGIS on HANA.