Comparison of SAP Business One on MS SQL vs HANA

If your company is in the process of evaluating an ERP or have already implemented SAP Business One in your company, then this article is for you.

In this post, we aim to explain the differences between the SQL and HANA versions of SAP Business One, which will help you choose or upgrade to a better solution for your company.


The fundamental difference between the two is the database technology. The SQL version is based on an approximately 60 years old disk storage technology using relational databases whereas the HANA is an in-memory, i.e. RAM, technology. For HANA, the data is loaded on the memory of the server and as there are no physical moving parts to retrieve the data the speed at which it retrieves, inserts or updates data is much faster.

Is the speed/processing power the only reason to choose HANA over SQL?

  1. The real benefit from the increased speed is support of applications and functions that require a lot of processing power. So effectively, functions that are or can be made available on HANA simply cannot be made available on the MS-SQL or any other old technology of disk based databases.

To help you with the comparison, we have listed below some points :

Question 1: Is HANA stable as it is a new technology?

HANA is not a new technology. It was first released in 2010 for the higher end SAP systems and the technology was ported to the SAP Business One application in 2012. The technology is past the evangelical phase and there are now 16,300 HANA customers world-wide.

Question 2: Is the HANA license fees more expensive than SQL?

The SAP user license fees for both versions are the same. The database licenses for SQL and HANA are comparable. In fact, the SQL licenses at the enterprise level can be a lot more expensive than the HANA database.

Question 3: I would like to have an on-premise server and I heard that I need a very high specification server. Is the HANA server very expensive?

Contrary to what some may say, Business One on HANA is an affordable solution and does not require a super-computer to run! There are many SAP certified HANA hardware which includes brands like Fujitsu, Dell, HP and Lenovo. The price for the HANA server is only slightly higher than the SQL server as it needs more RAM memory.

Question 4: Is Business One on HANA solution available on the Cloud?

Yes. Depending on your needs, Synobiz offers 2 flavours for your business to run Business One on HANA

  • Perpetual SAP licensing with on-premise server
  • Perpetual SAP licensing with Synobiz-AWS data centre hosting


  • Customer has the flexibility to choose a region-specific hosting provider and also run Business One on HANA in a Private cloud environment

Question 5: Is HANA necessary as we are going to use the standard functions of Business One only?

With minimal price difference between the SQL and HANA versions, there is no reason why you should invest in the SQL version now. In addition, SAP has announced in 2015 that all R&D will be focused on the HANA technology.

Designed with simpler user experience in mind, the HANA version has workbench functions to reduce expensive training and handover costs when new staff joins. The continuous development of machine learning in HANA will also make the software more intelligent and automate labour-intensive transaction processing.

If that is not enough reasons, the below features are only available on HANA. These functions below are examples of functions that require extensive processing which simply makes it impossible to work on MS-SQL:

  • Enterprise search – a free-style search engine that helps uses retrieve information quickly without opening many programs.
  • Forecasting functions like cash flow forecast; inventory forecast based on historical data/ trends.
  • Advanced delivery schedule management
  • Analytics function
  • Sales mobile application
  • Chat Bot (machine learning capability, to be released soon) – supports natural language query like ‘Help me to analyze my sales data’.

Question 6: Why do I need HANA for reporting as I can use Crystal Reports or any third party reporting tool in the SQL version?

HANA is not just a reporting tool. It is a platform that supports functions that require high processing power like forecasting, MRP, scheduling and many more.

The HANA solution is already pre-packaged with over 40 dashboards and 20 KPIs. In addition, the Excel-based Interactive Analytics lets users slice and dice their business data; change grouping/pivot table/sorting sequence on-the-fly and the ‘reporting format’ is not fixed.

Question 7: What is the timeline for a company who have already implemented SAP B1 on SQL to migrate to HANA?

Application migration to HANA from SQL is a project by itself. The timeline depends on the custom components like business specific addons, integrations to third party systems and customized crystal reports and layouts and SSP addons if any. If the company is using SAP B1 on SQL with standard out of box functions, then we are looking at a minimum timeline of about 10 to 15 days excluding the number of days required for hardware migration.

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