SAP HANA is an in-memory platform for processing high volumes of data in real-time.

Relational databases typically use row-based data storage. However, column-based storage may be more suitable for some business applications.Traditional databases store data simply in rows. The SAP HANA in-memory database stores data in both rows and columns. It is this combination of both storage approaches that produces the speed, flexibility and performance of the SAP HANA database.

HANA allows data analysts to query large volumes of data in real-time. HANA's in-memory database infrastructure frees analysts from having to load or write-back data. HANA's columnar-based data store is ACID compliant and supports industry standards such as structured query language (SQL) and multi-dimensional eXpressions (MDX).

HANA also includes a programming component that allows a company's IT department to create and run customized application programs on top of HANA, as well as a suite of predictive, spatial and text analytics libraries across multiple data sources. Because HANA can run in parallel to a source SAP ERP application, analysts can access real-time operational and transactional data and not have to wait for a daily or weekly report to run.

SAP HANA can be deployed on-site as an appliance or purchased as a managed cloud or hybrid- cloud service. SAP HANA was previously called SAP High-Performance Analytic Appliance.