TechED 2016 – a Retrospective


Yet another TechED is behind us.  Besides the fun of getting reconnected…  Besides ambitious meetings fraught with expectations… Besides funny labels and stickers to pass to your colleagues as memento… What actually is there for us ASE professionals in this 20-years celebratory event?

On the one hand there is this:   it is always a good thing to get reassured that the product you work with is still relevant.  Yes, it is not on the front page with all the buzz that Hana and, now, Vora occupy, but it is still there.  It’s being used.  It’s being improved.  It’s being stuffed with new functionality.  It’s being integrated further into Data Management family.  It has its own roadmap spanning next 10-15 years.  Cool.

On the other hand, what is in it for me – or WiiiFM?   If there is one thing I am to take as a give-away from this conference that has practical application for me as ASE professional what would that be?  IMO the most intriguing functionality revealed at this TechED has been integration of HANA into ASE as a reporting engine. It is intriguing not only because now it will be possible to solve instant reporting problem by having this stuff delegated to HANA.  It is intriguing since in political parlance ASE is at last given legitimacy to remain an OLTP front-end, doing what it is known to do best (or better?) while delegating the things it has to struggle with to a sister engine.

SAP has released express editions to make getting a taste of this functionality first hand possible:  ASE Express Edition and HANA Express Edition.  Both have limitations.

ASE Express Edition runs on Linux alone (just as HANA is in general – and probably for this same reason).  There is a conflicting report which features are open on it – I encourage you to install it and report back to make this aspect clear.  But at least it is now armed with 4 engine free license. It is also restricted to 50GB DB size (not sure if this is total data limit for the server of the size limit for each DB it contains – to be clarified as well).   Let’s hope Express Edition will be further extended to run on all platforms, otherwise it’s popularity will by very limited.

HANA Express Edition is limited to the minimum memory block it can license – 32 GB.  Other than that – it has all its analytical arsenal packed in for free.

So there you have it.  A4A – or Accelerator for ASE as the option is labelled – is a first sign that HANA retreats from its stance as all-purpose DBMS and leaves the OLTP (or xOLTP) arena to those who played there well already for the long long time.  I hope to see this direction gaining momentum.

Other things I liked to hear:

HADR option is getting more robust, with a possibility to have HADR to HADR replication – topology where both the primary and the replicate nodes are HADRs in themselves.  Even more exiting is that stream replication mechanism which HADR is built on is planned to get released to general public next year.  My only hope is that this will not be a licensed option (like ASO is) so that general public will be able to exploit its faster performance without having to pay more.

ASE xOLTP functionality remains the same for SP02 with Latch-free B-Trees, Lock-less Buffer Management for Data Caches, NV Cache extension (SSD Based) and Transactional Memory / SNAP (simplified native access plan) on the fitting platforms.  SP03, however, will have more fun stuff inside, as it will add In-Memory Row Store with MVCC support to reduce contention even further.  The idea behind is that hot data will be elevated into an in-memory row store where locking is lifted by versioning.

All in all the event was fun… even for me…



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