How To Plan a Migration From a Non-SAP to an SAP Database

How To Plan a Migration From a Non-SAP to an SAP Database

Migrating data is a complicated process and one you must get right to set your business up for success. Unfortunately, it’s easy to create problems in a data migration without proper time and effort. With that in mind, consider how to plan a migration from a non-SAP to an SAP database, as well as why you may want to make the switch.

Why Move to an SAP Database?

SAP HANA is a database, but it’s often referred to as a “data platform.” This is because SAP HANA offers much more than a traditional database, which is also why it has become so ubiquitous in the data world. If you’re looking for an application that can perform intense processes without causing a strain on your hardware, HANA is the answer.

A major difference between SAP HANA and other data platforms is that HANA uses in-memory processing. Instead of relying on your computer’s hardware—and the application you’re using—to perform processing and calculations, analysis happens in the database itself. Aside from that reason, why should you move to SAP HANA?

Big Data

Big Data is a trend that’s here to stay. Big Data has more of everything in both quantity and quality. The clearest way Big Data differentiates itself from data is in the three Vs—Big Data has greater variety with larger volume and higher velocity. Unlike other databases, SAP HANA can handle those three Vs with ease.
As the data landscape changes, companies that refuse to evolve with the times may find it difficult to keep up with others. Therefore, jumping into Big Data headfirst could be precisely what your business needs to stand out.


“Scalability” is one of those business-jargon terms that’s actually more important than you might realize. Stasis is the death of a business, so solutions that provide room for exponential upward growth are invaluable. SAP HANA is easily scalable as your company grows and changes, meaning you can always be improving. Additionally, this is something that, like it or not, your shareholders need to see.

Currently, you can grow your SAP Business Warehouse up to a whopping 168TB of RAM. You read that right—not storage, RAM. To put it in perspective, that’s over 800 times the processing power of the average NASA computer. Suffice it to say, SAP HANA is more than capable of growing with you!

Real-Time Analytics

Not every business needs access to real-time analysis, but if yours does, you really need real-time analysis. SAP HANA is capable of providing up-to-the-minute information using its in-memory processes. Even basic HANA setups can process information several times faster than non-SAP databases. Simple reports will be done in the blink of an eye, while more comprehensive analyses will take perhaps two blinks.


SAP HANA is nothing if not flexible and versatile. Your team will not need to leave their trusted interfaces behind when you switch to HANA, as one of the best things it boasts is compatibility. You can also easily apply HANA’s analysis to your old models. You may discover that old assumptions were off, meaning you can pivot your direction in response.

The Main Migration Types

The two main types of data migration are big bang and trickle migration, and each comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. Big bang migration is just like it sounds—you can perform your whole migration in one fell swoop. This usually leads to an operational system much more quickly, but with the potential for many more snags and issues along the way.

Trickle migration requires more thought at the onset as you must develop a plan to migrate parts of your system one at a time. This slow-and-steady plan allows you to keep both systems operational as data is transferred and helps avoid troubles and conundrums in implementation.

Trickle migration is generally recommended, but some companies want migration over and done with and use the big bang. Impatience is rarely a boon, so be wary of quick fixes.

Design a Migration Plan

The first step in any migration plan is to determine your migration goals. What technical specifications are you hoping to reach, and what do you want your new system to do that your old one could not? Once you’ve answered those questions, it becomes simple to begin the design process.

This initial stage is crucial for your final result, so ensure your team works diligently and documents everything to mitigate risks and reduce oversights. Even the smallest hiccup at this stage, if left unresolved, can create a massive headache later on.

Build Your Foundation

The second phase is all about executing the plan made in the previous step. While your team isn’t beginning the migration process yet, this is the time to lay the groundwork for migration day—or, more accurately, migration weeks. Your team should prepare equipment for the transition, set up security for data protection, and build whatever is needed to traverse your new space.

Begin Migration

Once the foundation is built, you can commence migration and begin to see the fruits of your labor. Traditionally, this will begin with all your non-critical systems. If you have systems in a sandbox stage, these should be transitioned first. Again, your migration plan is dictated by the plan you made in the first stage.

Even though it may be tempting to switch things around now that you’ve reached the end, do your best to stick to the plan you made. After all, you made it that way for a reason. Maintain a runbook during the transition so you can apply what you learn from each tier of migration to the next.

Optimize Your System

Finally, once the system is up and running and SAP migration is complete, you should prepare a team to optimize the system. Just because all your data is in a new place doesn’t mean your work is done. There are plenty of things left to do in order to create the most efficient system possible. Also, this stage won’t be super speedy, as it will likely take place over the first few months of operation.

Now that you know how to plan a migration from a non-SAP to an SAP database, set your business up to handle bigger data and improve your company’s scalability exponentially.