Compare SAP HANA vs. SQL Server

SAP HANA is ranked 6th in Relational Databases with 9 reviews while SQL Server is ranked 1st in Relational Databases with 18 reviews. SAP HANA is rated 8.4, while SQL Server is rated 8.6. The top reviewer of SAP HANA writes "We can get more tenders because of the lower cost while providing a better product or service". On the other hand, the top reviewer of SQL Server writes "Gives me the ability to mold a process flow or modularly add in new structures". SAP HANA is most compared with SQL Server, Oracle Database and Teradata, whereas SQL Server is most compared with Oracle Database, SAP HANA and Teradata. See our SAP HANA vs. SQL Server report.
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Most Helpful Review
Find out what your peers are saying about SAP HANA vs. SQL Server and other solutions. Updated: September 2019.
372,124 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members

We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use. Here are some excerpts of what they said:

The data storage requirement is reduced from the original database to the HANA database.The functionality is of the solution is very good.One feature I find very valuable, is the response time of the application on the database memory.Integration is the most valuable feature we use SAP HANA for.The most value for us was in terms of using it to issue tenders online. We host our server, but it is open to the public, so clients who want to buy those tenders were able to go online, put their tender documents up, and we could evaluate them using SAP.If you want to scale with new processes and new reports, that's fairly easy.This solution is very fast.It has a very huge bandwidth and data transfer.

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The most valuable feature is replication because we had several replicas of the SQL Server database in different geographical locations.It is one of the most stable relational databases out there.I have experience with this product for many years. I never have problems with it. It can handle a PC, and it can also handle huge data. It is fast and efficient.This solution has proven stability and operational power.Tuning Advisor suggests where to add indexes and from where to remove them. It works like an adviser.SQL Server Profiler makes finding and debugging easy.I use it to fine tune my procedures and functions.Enables us to convert to bigger DBs and more easily move or upgrade between branches.

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I think that the pricing is high and it needs improvement.The challenge right now is all databases are on S4 HANA architecture. You're running it for HANA, but not all the functionalities are available. If they can speed up getting all the databases on S4 HANA that would help.If the developers were to enhance or improve the application logic while processing the transactions, that would be great.FI, or the financial module of SAP, has room for improvement. It has to have some better localization for the Middle East, especially in regards to taxes and the letter of credit cycle. I would like to see better localization from the HCM.The interface is a little bit hard to customize. You almost have to consult the SAP original developer to change it.In terms of improvement, the speed is not as good as we thought it would be. That is why we are trying different solutions that will be built with different technologies.The inclusion of a well-performing Time Machine is vital.The solution is very expensive, however. The pricing depends on the number of users and many other factors that affect licensing.

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I would like to have more replication scenarios.I would like to see native plugins built for other platforms versus having to buy third-party plugins to tap into S3 buckets and AWS Cloud. Right now, it does not have those built-in plugins.It would be nice if there was a feature to search for a specific value across multiple tables. This would save a lot of time for its users.Improvements to the indexing, columnstore indexing, and high availability groups are good improvements for future versions.Third-party services from Redgate should be built-in to it, like SQL Search.Debugging from the debugger tool functionality should be enhanced.From a DB administrator perspective, I would like to see more space requirements and space capacity history, so that we are able to see which DBs are growing, and by how much per day or week.An area for improvement would be the SQL Server process monitoring, which is quite basic and could sustain more information.

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Pricing and Cost Advice
People who are technical will accept the cost, but financially they will assess whether this solution will bring them revenue or not. People often ask, how will I profit when the cost is so high?Set up a consortium of consulting partners and hardware vendors to define your tech. Landscape TCO (total cost of ownership) and then approach the OEM for pricing (on-premise or on cloud or a hybrid model). Check if you can bring your own licenses for some of the existing application licenses on the new platform, to reduce TCO.

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It is expensive, but you get what you pay for.Since we are a cloud-based company, there is AWS pricing on top of the SQL Server pricing. The Enterprise Edition can typically sell from around $1000 dollars a month, which is not cheap. Then, there is an additional one-time Windows cost, based on the code, which can go anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 for the license.The setup cost is high, but it will return every penny.My advice is quite straightforward. If you know the number of users who really and truly need access to the Server then it is a no-brainer. If you do not know, then get the basic package and minimum licenses and start from there. Needless to say, users can develop/use data structures outside and then deploy onto the Server.The price has been going higher and higher. The market is quite price sensitive.This is a downside of enterprise Microsoft products.Currently, almost all of my machines are in Azure and I think it is the best way of licensing now (VM+software).​We are a Microsoft shop, so we use Active Directory. That integrates well with this product, but we did look at Oracle. We also looked at IBM. This was the best price point for us for what we were getting.​

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Answers from the Community
Nurit Sherman
Bonnie HarmonUser

I agree with the two statements below and would add:

MS SQL Server:


* Large base of experienced users and knowledge base
* Can be installed on most Linux or Windows operating systems
* Favorable dollar investment (compared to HANA)
* Managed through SQL Server Management Studio, a well-known tool


* No direct ties to SAP ECC
* Limited analytics in standard setup
* Would need to install Analysis Services for increased analytics tools, if analysis is desired.
* Row oriented design impacts performance for large searches.
* SQL trying to catch up to in-memory, and column oriented



* One tool for standard DB (OLTP) functionality as well as analysis
* Fast. (Although the speed differences are reported most dramatics with the analytics side)
* Real-time analytics
* SQL language
* Column design improves data warehouse performance


* Limited pool of experienced users with a small knowledge base (newer product)
* More expensive
* Limited installation options: cloud service or as appliance
* Managed through HANA tools - little known
* Column-oriented unfamiliar to SQL developers trying to

Both are relational databases. Being a long-time SQL user, I am comfortable with its limitations. But as I am exposed more to HANA, it truly is the preferred way to achieve real-time integration and analytics with SAP. When it becomes more cost effective, I think the switch will become more frequent to HANA.

30 May 19
Bruce GreeffReal User

The two are not really directly comparable. HANA DB is designed to run in-memory. It indexes every attribute and converts values to integer, offering real time performance. SQL Server is a more general purpose, inherently relational product. Depending on use case - either may be better. HANA is entirely next generation. SQL Server has to maintain legacy compatibility - but it is easier to use and you can scale the infrastructure cost down. HANA is designed for appliance deployment. Scaling is expensive. To get similar capabilities to HANA you might have to add something like SPARK and /or REDIS to your SQL Server. Then it starts getting expensive and complex too.

26 July 18
Joe FernandesReal User

SAP HANA runs queries "In Memory". Results of a query on large data volumes will appear lighting quick as a result. SQL Server is not an "In Memory" database. It is better suited while accessing smaller data volumes.

26 July 18
JanisGriffinReal User

I think I would prefer SQL Server over HANA because it's been around longer and is more well known. Also, the later versions of SQL Server allow for in memory column store, faster analytical queries and plays well with open source solutions.

25 July 18
Evan HaxtonVendor

A lot depends upon what application is running on top of the data store.

If you are running SAP Business One, a compelling argument is made here
Essentially, SAP HANA (SAPH) offers in-memory processing and should be
faster in most cases.
However, if you are running SQL Server, you will have to access the data
first before it is cached into memory. If you are a smaller organization it
shouldn't matter what repository
you are using. However, larger organizations may be more interested in
SAPH for in-memory and analytics capabilities.

For generalized use, you will more interested in SQL Server simply for the availability of API and third-party tools. See here

25 July 18
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Top Comparisons
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Also Known As
SAP High-Performance Analytic Appliance, HANAMicrosoft SQL Server, MSSQL, MS SQL

The SAP HANA® platform helps you reimagine business by combining a robust database with services for creating innovative applications. It enables real-time business by converging trans-actions and analytics on one in-memory platform. Running on premise or in the cloud, SAP HANA untangles IT complexity, bringing huge savings in data management and empowering decision makers everywhere with new insight and predictive power.

SQL Server is the Microsoft-driven relational database management system. This system is used to store data as well as retrieve it when necessary; these functions can be supported by individual users or by multiple users within a larger network. The Microsoft SQL Server has warehousing options, quality and integration services, management tools that are simple to implement, as well as robust tools for development.

Looking at the more technical end of things, Microsoft SQL Server uses query languages such as T-SQL and ANSI SQL. Disaster recovery is one of the product's most prominent features, in addition to in-memory performance, scalability, and corporate business intelligence capabilities.

Learn more about SAP HANA
Learn more about SQL Server
Sample Customers
Unilever, NHS 24, adidas Group, CHIO Aachen, Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), Bangkok Airways Public Company LimitedMicrosoft SQL Server is used by businesses in every industry, including Great Western Bank, Aviva, the Volvo Car Corporation, BMW, Samsung, Principality Building Society, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario.
Top Industries
Software R&D Company34%
Comms Service Provider10%
Media Company6%
Software R&D Company9%
Comms Service Provider9%
Logistics Company9%
Software R&D Company22%
Comms Service Provider18%
Financial Services Firm10%
Insurance Company7%
Find out what your peers are saying about SAP HANA vs. SQL Server and other solutions. Updated: September 2019.
372,124 professionals have used our research since 2012.
We monitor all Relational Databases reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.
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