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Hana becomes public domain

Suite 7's lifetime has been extended, but what about AnyDB? One hears contradictory comments. The silver bullet would be Hana for all - i.e. public domain.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine
June 4, 2020
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

It almost sounds like a bad joke from an even worse Hollywood movie: Vishal Sikka, the former SAP chief technology officer and Hana co-inventor, now works at Oracle, whose AnyDB license for SAP Business Suite 7 is to be extended beyond 2025 to 2030.

What SAP executed as a grand gesture to the SAP community could turn into a Suite 7 disaster in a few years. Without the NetWeaver stack and AnyDB, even the Business Suite is worthless. SAP needs new contracts with IBM, Microsoft and Oracle to be able to keep its maintenance promise to existing customers.

IBM already announced unofficially three years ago that the license agreements for DB2 in combination with Suite 7 had been terminated. At that time, almost everyone involved was still sure that the supposed deadline of 2025 would be met.

At least there was good hope that the nationwide conversion to the Hana database system would be completed and SAP would only have to offer a maintenance extension for SoH, i.e. the Business Suite on Hana.

History proved SAP wrong: The transformation to Hana and S/4 is taking place much more hesitantly and slowly than the strategists at SAP dreamed.

Even if almost everyone in the SAP community agrees on the ERP strategy towards Hana and S/4 - the journey is the destination! But the goal is far from being reached, hence a Suite 7 maintenance extension until 2030.

It seems that SAP made the new target without consulting the AnyDB license providers IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. When E-3 Magazine asked the three DB vendors, there were very different reactions: IBM said that they would probably find a modus vivendi to continue offering a DB2 platform to Suite 7 users after 2025.

Microsoft answered with an unemotional yes: the contract would be extended. There was not the slightest hint, either officially or in confidential talks, as to the direction the negotiations with SAP were taking.

While it may be a matter of high license fees between SAP, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, for users the existence of their ERP system is at stake: How can they plan for the next five years if they don't know whether Suite 7 with AnyDB will still exist in a legally clean framework after 2025? Several solution paths open up for the existing SAP customer and SAP itself.

The pragmatic approach: SAP remains passive because Suite 7 will continue to do its work beyond 2025 - only then in the database license-free space. Until the corporate lawyers from IBM, Microsoft and Oracle show up at the door of SAP's existing customers, everything will be fine.

The expensive approach: SAP begins negotiations with IBM, Microsoft and Oracle and accepts their licensing proposal for "extended maintenance" between 2025 and 2030.

IBM will secure its advantages via a counteroffer with Hana on Power (HoP). Microsoft will demand compensation for the "SAP and Azure" business. Oracle will be advised by Vishal Sikka and will drive SAP to despair.

The innovative approach: There is an assumption that one day the then SAP Chief Technology Officer Vishal Sikka proposed to his mentor Professor Hasso Plattner the idea of presenting the Hana database to the SAP community as an open source gift after all.

This would have made Hana a public domain product and it would have spread all over the world without borders. Hana would have become the database standard, just as Linux is today in the operating system sector. The lore says that Plattner was not very fond of this idea.

Hana as an open source product would not only have been a gift to the IT community, but also a liberating blow for SAP: The ERP world market leader would have been allowed to focus on its core competence again - "We are ERP" - and would have been able to lead S/4, C/4 and BW/4 to success much faster.

Now this old Sikka idea appears in a new light and perhaps more topical than ever: If SAP were to declare the Hana database public domain and waive the commercial licenses, SAP's existing customers could implement the database without financial risk.

Customizing and implementation costs are likely to be high, because any CIO could argue with the future savings in DB licenses. Anyone running an Oracle database today, even outside the SAP universe, will probably get misty-eyed at the thought of using Hana as a singular DB platform free of charge in the future.

With Hana as an open source offering in a public domain version, it would probably also be possible to organize the DB transformation from AnyDB to Hana across the board in the SAP community by 2025.

Many existing SAP customers will continue to use SoH for a few years after 2025, while innovative users may have already switched to HoP and S/4. The future could not be better!

Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine

Peter M. Färbinger, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief E3 Magazine DE, US and ES (, AG, Freilassing (DE), E-Mail: and Tel. +49(0)8654/77130-21

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Work on SAP Basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. This gives the so-called Competence Center strategic importance among SAP's existing customers. Regardless of the operating model of an S/4 Hana, topics such as automation, monitoring, security, application lifecycle management, and data management are the basis for the operative S/4 operation. For the second time already, E3 Magazine is hosting a summit in Salzburg for the SAP community to get comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. With an exhibition, expert presentations, and plenty to talk about, we again expect numerous existing customers, partners, and experts in Salzburg. E3 Magazine invites you to Salzburg for learning and exchange of ideas on June 5 and 6, 2024.


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024


Early Bird Ticket - Available until 29.03.2024
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Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
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Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
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The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.