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Mar 27, 2015 at 05:08 PM

Is HANA database or platform (or both)?

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Possibly a stupid question, but I found these days when someone just says 'HANA' it's getting difficult to understand what are they talking about exactly.

If you google 'what is SAP HANA' the top 2 answers will be: "it's a platform" (from SAP) and "it's a database management system" (from Wikipedia). To me "platform" is something that doesn't really do much on its own but serves as, well, platform for many other things (I know it's a very simplistic definition but bear with me). So it'd be something like an operating system or, in SAP world, Netweaver. Platform and DBMS are not the same thing, essentially.

To add to confusion, this website says:

At the core of the SAP HANA real-time platform is the SAP HANA database.

Not to mention there is also apparently HANA Server and HANA One (I'm too scared to look for more HANAs at this point).

Out of curiosity I've checked what's the current definition of MS SQL Server and it still seems to be DBMS but also "foundation for platform" (to be named, I guess).

When this whole HANA thing started I could with some degree of confidence say that "HANA is an in-memory database", but now it seems one would have to clarify "which HANA?". Or did I just sleep through some evolution during which database evolved into a "platform"? Or is it simply some marketing play on words? Or sudden lack of creativity in the product naming by SAP?

Thank you!