Redbull migrates BW to HANA – I am suitably impressed

SAP allowed some of us bloggers to interact with Christian Stoxreiter of Redbull. They just finished migrating their BW system to HANA. We will see him during Vishal’s keynote tomorrow I think explaining in more detail. I am a big fan of Christian now after he made the comment “We want to be dynamic and flexible, but we are NOT stupid. I know the difference between marketing slides and actual technology limitations”.


There is a lot that impressed me with this .


Redbull has been an SAP customer for 11 years. They have ECC, CRM and BW. The BW system which is 1.5 TB in size was moved to HANA platform and now the data size is 300 GB. What is even more impressive is that 200 GB out of this is in row model, which means once the data models are rationalized – it will get even smaller.


It took just 10 days to migrate BW to HANA. Of course this included working night shifts and all, and had the best of SAP techies on the job. The relationship between SAP and Redbull has been at board level from SAP, with Vishal Sikka being involved directly.  But even then, that is quite a short period to pull this off.


Redbull did not see a big improvement in query performance because they were already using BWA.  Moreover, they found that HANA does not have all the features that BWA gave them. But they think this is ok, because SAP is commited to working with them to put in features in future revisions of HANA. However, ETL performance improved in some cases from 50 minutes to 2 minutes.  This is a big value add for them since their total ETL time to get global data from 39 countries to a single BW instance was 32 hours or so.


Redbull thinks HANA is a great investment for them. They are not doing HANA for just BW alone. They want to influence SAP on Trade Promotions Management on HANA. They also have key areas in ECC where they want SAP to make things better. Redbull thinks they can influence SAP due to the first mover advantage. I think they are thinking smart here – sounds like a good strategy to me too.


Redbull’s BW on HANA is running in parallel to their disk based BW system now, and there is no clear answer yet from SAP on when they can put BW on HANA as stand alone without running parallel. But apparently that decision will be taken by next Monday on the time frame. Redbull is fully aware of limitations in HA/DR etc, and made an educated investment and they believe that it will pay off in spades down the line. I think this is pretty smart of them since it is a product that is gaining rapid market share ac, and will face an information explosion. My making an investment now, they will be well placed to concentrate on business without worrying about handling all the data that comes in future, including unstructured data, social media feeds etc.


Redbull has a clear vision for ECC running on HANA in future, with no aggregate tables etc. Again – smart in my opinion, since this is key to get SAP to create cutting edge new innovations on the core.


I have been fairly critical of SAP on several aspects of HANA. But this one is different – and I am glad to say SAP did an excellent job, as did Redbull. Good luck, and I am eager to see how BW on HANA will evolve. Maybe we will get more in keynote tomorrow.