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A Developer’s Perspective

Friday, 21 February 2020

SAP S/4 HANA vs ECC; A Developers Perspective.

SAP “HANA” is a bit of a buzzword at the moment but what does it actually mean? First, let’s better understand the technology.



ERP Central Component; an enterprise resource planning software which consists in several modules that provide organisations with greater control over their key business processes. These modules can communicate with each other to create an integration solution for most customers within a wide range of industry sectors.

SAP ERP modules a pie chart


High-Performance Analytic Application; an application that uses in-memory technology that allows processing of massive amounts of real-time data in a short time. The in-memory computing engine allows HANA to process data stored in RAM (Random-access memory) as opposed to reading it from a disk. This allows the application to provide much faster results to customer transactions and data analyses.

HANA uses a RDBMS (Relational database management system) which uses an innovative column-based data storage. In a Column store table, the data is stored vertically. This means similar data types come together. It provides faster memory read and writes operations with help from the In-Memory Computing Engine. In a conventional database, data is stored in Row based structure i.e. horizontally. SAP HANA stores data in both Row and Column based structure. This provides performance optimisation, flexibility and data compression in HANA database.

Storing Data in a Columnar based table has the following benefits:

  1. Data Compression;
  2. Faster read and write access to tables as compared to conventional Row based storage;
  3. Flexibility & parallel processing; and
  4. Perform Aggregations and Calculations at higher speed.
The main difference between HANA and ECC


Launched in 2015, it is SAP’s next-generation business suite, specially designed to run only on SAP HANA. S/4 HANA is basically SAP business suite 4 SAP HANA. After R/3, it is the fourth business suite version. As it is solely compatible with SAP HANA, it has replaced the old SAP ECC ERP system with SAP HANA. Still, it is based on its successor and treats it as its core technology.

Moving to S4 HANA does not just mean a change to the database but a change to the application as well. The front end is developed with SAPUI5 (Fiori). In the 3 Tier architecture of SAP system, HANA is the database layer, S4 HANA is the application layer and SAP Fiori is the presentation layer.

s/4 hana chart

SAP S/4 HANA on the Cloud

Available as a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology which can be accessed in a public or private virtual environment without the need for the upfront costs of infrastructure, ongoing upgrades, storage or a team to manage it. The host of the service will manage all aspects of the software and you just use it for your business needs.


SAP S/4 HANA On-Premise

An On-Premise solution is better for a business that wants control over their technology. This may be a result of having the space, money and skilled resources to manage it. Deployed to an in-memory database platform at the location of your business, you will have the complete oversight of everything including the HANA database, related applications, servers and networks.


As a Developer, how do I prepare for the conversion?

There are some excellent blogs to help with this, the list below contains some great points to start your journey.


As a SAP Customer, why do I care about S/4 HANA?

SAP has announced a deadline of December 2027 whereby their support will end for the SAP ECC as it is now considered as the previous generation of the company’s ERP software. Below are some links to some articles with further information.


What is the next step?

It may feel like a daunting task to feel that you have to migrate your business suite to a new version.  Think180 have a highly skilled team of resources who can help with your migration. Our team would love to help you with your journey to S/4 HANA, so click here to contact us.

By Jason Lante

Senior SAP Consultant


  1. ASUG “Navigating SAP’s Plug-Pulling Road Map to 2025” accessed January 29, 2020,
  2. Brightwork Research “Why SAP HANA is fast database for analytics”, accessed January 26, 2020,
  3. Cipher Business Solutions “SAP ERP CENTRAL COMPONENT (SAP ECC)”, accessed January 26, 2020,
  4. IntelliPaat “What is the difference between SAP ECC, HANA and S4 HANA?”, accessed January 26, 2020,
  5. Quora “What is difference between SAP ECC, HANA and S4 HANA?“, accessed January 26, 2020,
  6. SAP Blog by Laura Harvsey “Cloud vs On-Premises With SAP S/4 HANA”, accessed January 26, 2020,
  7. Techopedia “SAP HANA”, accessed January 26, 2020,
  8. TutorialsPoint “SAP HANA row and column store table”, accessed January 26, 2020,
  9. Wikipedia “Row- and column-major order”, accessed January 26, 2020,