When SAP developed and launched their own ‘in memory’ database – HANA; SAP Business One users wanted to know more about the options available to them, and in particular, which database technology was most suitable for their SME business.

Below we take a look at SAP HANA and Microsoft SQL; provide some initial guidance on the differences between the two databases; and provide answers to some frequently asked questions.


SAP HANA is an ‘In Memory’ database developed by SAP where one version of the data resides within the memory (RAM) of the HANA server, providing real time analytics capabilities as part of the same application.

Microsoft SQL

Microsoft SQL Server is a commercial database that is relied upon and trusted for data storage and retrieval by a large amount of business applications. This includes Sage 200 and SAP Business One and many more.


Whilst the number of SAP Business One users continues to grow, the selection between SAP HANA and Microsoft SQL remains at an even rate. We estimate that 50 per cent of new users opt for SAP HANA, and 50 per cent choose Microsoft SQL Server.

The SAP roadmap for SAP Business One means that SAP will continue to offer users a choice over which database they use, ensuring that the associated business benefits for both continue to be accessible.

Frequently Asked Questions  

If we start with a SQL database is there an established migration path to SAP HANA?
Yes, there is an established migration path from SQL to HANA, although not the other way around.

How are the database users licenced?
SQL is typically licenced per user. HANA is licenced on the amount of memory (RAM) in single or multiple 64MB allocations, and does not take into account the user numbers.

Is one more expensive to licence than another?
There is little difference in cost overall, however this will be dependent on the number of users and the amount of memory / data being used.

If a business has 1-10 SQL users, this would typically cost less than licencing SAP HANA.

If a business has 20-30 SQL users the cost would be very similar.

If a business has 30-100 SQL users, SAP HANA may cost less to licence.

We already use Microsoft SQL Server and have in-house expertise with this, so why use HANA?
If you already have SQL skills within the company and want to utilise these as part of the company strategy, then it could be beneficial to continue to use the SQL database, whilst retaining the option to migrate to HANA if ever required.

Are there hardware or server resource / expense considerations?
In order to be SAP certified, the hardware for the HANA database requires more memory (RAM) than the SQL option. This in turn will usually increase the associated hardware or hosting fees for the HANA option compared to SQL.

Can I still extract company data to our office applications like Excel with both options?
Yes, the same levels of integration with Microsoft Office 365 exist with both database versions.

I have large amounts of transactional data that needs to be constantly analysed in order to keep ahead in our marketplace, which database option should I consider?
If the business requirement is to provide instant contextual analytics style reporting, while simultaneously undertaking transactional data updates, then the HANA database option should be considered.

Are there any differences in the functionality available with SAP Business One for each option?
A range of user cockpits, business intelligence and mobile application functionality is only available through using the SAP HANA option.

Thinc will always want to understand more about the individual system requirements, company culture and business goals prior to making any recommendations about the most suitable database to utilise with SAP Business One.

SAP HANA Exclusive Functions

Solution functionality could also influence the choice of database options, with the exclusive functionality below available only with the SAP Business One HANA version.

  • Web Client (including Analytics)
  • Fiori-Style User Cockpit
  • Intelligent Cash Flow Forecast
  • Advanced Available to Promise for stock items
  • Intelligent Inventory Forecast 
  • Delivery Schedule Management
  • Pervasive Analytics
  • Use of Advanced functionality within SAP Mobile Apps

For more information on the exclusive features listed above, download the SAP Business One version 10 for HANA – overview of exclusive functions presentation here.

Speak to us today

Speak to us today

Interested in speaking to us about whether SAP HANA or Microsoft SQL Server might be best for your business? Simply complete the form below and we'll be in touch.

Speak to us today

Interested in speaking to us about whether SAP HANA or Microsoft SQL Server might be best for your business? Simply complete the form below and we'll be in touch.


To access this content please submit your details using the form below

Join our mailing list

Book a consultation

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. if you continue to use this site we will assume you are happy about it. ok