A Guide To SAP Databases (With Examples And Benefits)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 4 November 2022

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Databases are a collection of logically related records or files. You can perform various operations, such as accessing, managing, updating, regulating and organising the data stored in a database. Learning about databases used in SAP can help you expand your knowledge of the different database types available and the various features they provide. In this article, we discuss the meaning of SAP databases, review a list of the types, and explore some examples.

What Are SAP Databases?

SAP databases are an organised collection of structured data that facilitate online analytical processing (OLAP) and online transaction processing (OLTP) capabilities for companies in various sectors, such as banking, e-commerce, manufacturing, technology and health care. These databases ensure the data stored fulfil the following qualities:

  • Accurate: This ensures that the data is not erroneous and has no duplicates.

  • Conformant: It ensures that the data follows a set of rules and standardised formats defined as part of an organisation's data management strategy process.

  • Complete: This ensures that the data has no missing values.

  • Relevant: It ensures that the data used for analysis is up-to-date and contextual.

  • Consistent: It ensures the uniformity of data as it moves between systems and applications.

  • Secure: It ensures that the data is secure from unauthorised attacks, data breaches and corruption.

Related: What Are The Different Database Types?

Types Of Databases

Here are the databases used by SAP:

Network database

A network database comprises multiple member files or records linked to multiple owner files and vice versa. It provides multiple owners of records with multiple access paths to the data. The database is analogous to an upside-down tree in which the member information represents the branches leading to the owner at the bottom and every piece of data connects to the main data. Compared to a hierarchical database, network databases allow the modelling of relationships between records or entities more naturally. It is also more accessible and flexible, resulting in faster search, navigation and access to data.

SAP HANA, which contains components that facilitate system communication via networking channels, is an example of a network database.

Related: What Does A Database Manager Do? (With Skills And Salary)

Open-source database

An open-source database has a publicly accessible code that is free to download, re-use and modify. The database stores vital information controlled by organisations. Users can use it to create their own systems based on their business requirements and modify the source code according to their preferences. As opposed to commercial databases where users pay a fee to use larger datasets or access extra features, users of open-source databases do not require paying any fee for using the code. Such databases are cost-effective and flexible to use. SAP MaxDB is an example of an open-source database.

Related: 15 Examples Of Useful Open Source Data Modelling Tools

Object-oriented database

Object-oriented database systems integrate database functionality into object programming languages, making code easier to manage. An object-oriented database management system (OODBMS) manages an object-oriented database. Such databases incorporate relational database principles. OODBMS uses the following aspects:

  • Objects: They are building blocks of classes with built-in or user-defined types.

  • Class: Classes determine the behaviour of an object.

  • Methods: The methods of a class determine its behaviour.

  • Pointer: A pointer facilitates accessing elements of an object database and establishing relationships among objects.

There are several advantages to using an object-oriented database, including transparency, easy-retrieval, seamless integration and persistent storage. Users can store all the properties of data objects in the database, which continues to store them after the program terminates. Upon restarting the program, the database can retrieve an object with the specified properties. This allows users to store and retrieve complex data objects in a transparent manner.

Related: What Is Object-Oriented Programming Language? (With Basics)

Cloud database

Cloud databases are databases hosted on the cloud server and accessible through a web interface or application programming interface (API). These databases provide functionalities similar to traditional databases. They enable companies to store their data securely without investing in expensive hardware. Cloud databases support both relational databases, such as structure query language (SQL) and NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB. Their common features include:

  • Scalability: Businesses can manage large volumes of data with ease and no reduction in performance.

  • Security: Data stored on the cloud is safe from thefts and unauthorised attacks.

  • Elasticity: Businesses can reduce or increase the number of data nodes based on their requirement.

  • Manageability: IT teams can perform various administrative operations on the database with ease.

  • Redundancy: Regular backups ensure businesses can access their data despite server failures.

Related: 11 Advantages Of Cloud Computing (With Definition And Types)

3 Examples Of SAP Databases

Here are three examples of SAP databases:


SAP High-performance Analytic Appliance (HANA) is a multi-model database that supports the use of multiple data models using a single backend. It stores data in its memory rather than storing it on a disk, which enables faster data access compared to disk or solid-state drives (SSD). It supports search, analytics and integration of structured and unstructured data. As an application server, it also facilitates the development of smart, insight-driven applications through real-time data, in-memory computing and machine learning. You can access these capabilities both in the cloud and on-premises. Some of its benefits include:

  • It handles big data with ease. Users can use SAP HANA to handle large volumes of data from multiple data sources without any performance lag. The data types can include structured and unstructured data, including text, images, videos, live streams and time series data.

  • It helps gather real-time analytics. SAP HANA is suitable for performing quick data analysis and preparing comprehensive reports with ease. These detailed reports help businesses make informed decisions.

  • It is highly scalable. Because SAP HANA stores data in its memory rather than on a physical device, it is cost-effective and requires minimal resources to handle large volumes of data. This makes it suitable for businesses that are looking to scale.

  • It provides flexibility. Businesses can deploy the database on public, private and hybrid clouds, which makes it flexible.

  • It is highly secure. It provides comprehensive data and application security.

Related: Common SAP Interview Questions (With Example Answers)


SAP Intelligent Query (IQ) is a column-based, relational database system that supports business intelligence (BI), data warehousing and data marts. Clients and servers are the two principal components of SAP IQ. Client components provide connectivity, authentication, SQL command parsing, monitoring and administration via the web. The server component offers a variety of features, including column stores, parallel data loading engines, query engines, database encryption, authorisation and scalability. Some of its benefits include:

  • It supports flexible deployment. Businesses can deploy the database on public, private and hybrid clouds.

  • It is highly scalable. It allows businesses to handle and analyse petabyte-scale information with ease. The database also supports text indexing and search features in enormous volumes of data.

  • It reduces storage volumes. SAP IQ is a column-based database that offers lower storage volume and improved performance by utilising columnstore compression.

  • It helps streamline IT administration tasks. It supports faster and more intelligent querying, which can save time and reduce workload. Businesses can also create ad hoc reports from real-time data to assist them in decision-making.

  • It supports enhanced security. SAP IQ provides database column encryption and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) authentication, which ensures that an organisation's data is secure.

Related: What Is SAP And What Are The Advantages Of Using It?


SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) is a relational database server that can handle large volumes of data and concurrent users in parallel, ensuring reliability, accessibility and performance across multiple industries. It provides the ability to process mission-critical transactions with high levels of performance and availability. These databases also have flexible SQL systems that reduce risk and increase agility. It is also resource-efficient, which helps businesses lower operational costs. Some of its benefits include:

  • It is compatible with other databases. It is highly compatible with other databases, such as SAP HANA and SAP IQ. This enables seamless integration and transfer of data between various systems.

  • It supports better workload optimisation. It provides features such as workload analysers and profilers that enable faster disaster recovery, ensure high availability and help optimise resources.

  • It supports the use of semantic partitions. Semantic partitions help in predictive maintenance by performing maintenance of selected partitions of data instead of the entire database. This can save significant costs and time for businesses that perform periodic maintenance.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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