30 Frequently Asked SAP HANA Interview Questions – Best Preparation Guide

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Finding the best source for your SAP HANA interview preparation? Well, you are the right place. Here, you will get all the popular SAP HANA interview questions with their descriptive answers. The questions are suitable for beginners as well as advanced learners.

I promise you that after completing DataFlair SAP HANA Interview Questions series, you will not need any other preparation guide for your interview.

Top SAP HANA Interview Questions and Answers

Below are the basic and complex interview questions of SAP HANA that are commonly asked by interviewees:

Q.1 What do you understand by SAP HANA?

Ans. SAP HANA is an in-memory database that encompasses special software and hardware components used for a centralized ERP system and business application development.

It uses real-time data processing/computing engine which fetches data directly from the in-memory (main memory/RAM) speeding up the data retrieval operations.

Q.2 Why is SAP HANA unique?

Ans. SAP HANA proves to be a unique tool for users in many ways. The reasons for uniqueness are:

  • SAP HANA is the first technology ever to be used for both OLTP and OLAP application processing.
  • It provides query processing environment for structured as well as unstructured data. That is, for both relational database (tables) and less structured (texts, graphs) respectively.
  • The multi-core processing engines of the SAP HANA system process data parallelly. The parallel processing is done within different columns of the same database. Using a columnar database, the system optimizes data structure and eases storing large data by compressing it.

Q.3 What are the components comprising SAP HANA technology?

Ans. SAP HANA is a technology that is a collection of different tools and technologies that work in tandem to bring it in existence. There are four technologies which collectively make SAPA HANA:

  • SAP HANA DB: It is the core in-memory database which is central to the functioning of SAP HANA.
  • SAP HANA Studio: It has the modeling tools for data handling and management.
  • SAP HANA Appliance: It is the Vendor hardware in which we install SAP HANA software.
  • SAP HANA Application Cloud: It is the cloud-based infrastructure ensuring the functioning of appliances.

Q.4 Which platforms SAP HANA supports?

Ans. SAP HANA supports various platforms:

  • Microsoft Windows Vista, 7, 8, Server 2008 (32-bit)
  • Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 10, Server 2008 / R2 (64-bit)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 (64-bit)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 (64-bit)
  • Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9)

Q.5 What do you understand from in-memory computing? What is its significance in SAP HANA?

Ans. In the in-memory computing, a huge amount of data as the information is stored in the Random-Access Memory (RAM) instead of external storage disks.

This technology replaces the traditional way of storing data in disks and uses relational database management methods to fetch and process the data. In-memory computing technology is much cheaper and faster than the traditional database system.

Applications in SAP HANA are developed in close association with the database and there is close to no data movement involved from the database to the system.

SAP HANA keeps a primary copy of the data ready in in-memory storage which results in data access and processing for ad-hoc reporting, analysis of data in real-time, and quick query response.

Also, it reduces data complexity, data redundancy, data footprint, hardware and IT costs.

Q.6 What are the main components of the SAP HANA environment?

Ans. The primary components of the SAP HANA environment are:

In-memory computing engine: This is a component residing within the Index Server. It has got several sub-components such as Planning Engine, Session Management, Disk Storage, Request Processing and Execution Control, Relational Engine, etc.

Database: This has raw data residing in the ERP database which is sent to the HANA database. Replication Agent (in ERP DB) and Replication Server (in the computing engine) provisions this data movement. This component provides log-based data provisioning.

SAP Business Objects BI 4: This component includes tools like SBO BI Information Designer tool, Data Services Designer, Data Services Server, and Data servers, etc.

We use the components for job-based data provisioning. They design and implement a job on data and store the reports created in the form of a result. Therefore, it also acts as a repository.

SAP HANA Studio: This is a user interfacing platform which an Eclipse-based tool where we can manage, administer and manipulate data. We can work on several views like Attribute, Analytic, and Calculation.

Clients: These are miscellaneous reporting tools which we can connect to the computing engine by utilizing specific drivers. We can design and share reports by utilizing these tools and client applications.

Note: This question is very important for your SAP HANA interview. Prepare it nicely.

Q.7 What is the function of a Replication server?

Ans. The replication server is responsible for managing the replication of table data as well as metadata from the data source.

Q.8 What is a persistence layer?

Ans. The persistence layer is mainly responsible for processing data backups periodically and storing it permanently. This is known as “Savepoints” and by default, the savepoint frequency is in every 5 minutes. The data stores as log volumes and data volumes.

Q.9 What are the architectural components of SAP HANA?

Ans. The SAP HANA system consists of different components which together makes its system architecture.

Index server: The Index Server is the main server in SAP HANA. It has the data storage and processing engine. Queries in different languages like SQL and MDX are received in the index server.

Then, the queries are processed by different components and servers within it. Index server also manages the transactions and authentications. It also has a component that manages transaction logs and selectively stores data.

In addition, the index server is further divided into smaller components like relational data engine, session manager, authorization management, planning engine, calc engine, and persistence layer.

Name server: Name server maintains the information of the topology or landscape of SAP HANA system environment. It contains information related to the name and location of the HANA components.

This server manages and monitors the topology of all the distributed servers or nodes. It increases the processing time by decreasing the re-indexing process as it keeps the information on what data stores in which server.

Pre-processor server: Pre-processor server is a text analyzing server which processes textual data. The service provided by this component is used during text search. Whenever a request initiates, this server processes textual data and provides it to the user.

SAP HANA Studio Repository: The repository stores information related to the newly released updates. We can update the old version to the latest ones with the help of this.

XS Engine: It facilitates communication between the external applications (Java and HTML based) and SAP HANA system via HTTP/HTTPS in a web browser. The XS Engine converts the system’s state from the persistence model stored in the database into the consumption model for clients.

Q.10 What is the most important component in SAP HANA architecture?

Ans The Index Server is the most important component of SAP HANA architecture. It has the data storage (having the actual data) component and a processing engine.

Queries in different languages like SQL and MDX are received in the index server. These queries are processed by different components and servers within the index server.

Q.11 Name the components of an index server.

Ans There are six main components of an index server:

  • Relational data engine
  • Connection and Session manager
  • Authorization manager
  • Planning engine
  • Calc engine
  • Persistence layer

Q.12 What is sizing in SAP HANA?

Ans. Sizing in SAP HANA refers to determining the hardware requirements for specific SAP HANA installation requirements. Hardware components important for sizing point of view are CPU, memory (RAM) and hard disk.

The most crucial task in sizing is to estimate the size of the server best suited for the business user’s requirements.

In SAP HANA, we can perform sizing in three ways:

  • Using Quick Sizer tool
  • Using DB script
  • Using ABAP report

Q.13 What are row and column storage in SAP HANA?

Ans. Data in the SAP HANA database stores in two ways; row storage, and column storage.

Row storage is the method of storing data in a horizontal fashion. It is similar to how data is stored traditionally in disk databases. However, there is one main difference between the SAP HANA row storage and traditional row storage.

That is, in SAP HANA, data is stored in rows in the main memory and in traditional databases, data is stored in rows in the disk storage.

Column storage method stores data in a columnar fashion (linear/ vertical). Data is compressed efficiently in column stores. It improves SAP HANA’s performance by optimizing both the read and write operations on data.

Data is stored in the column storage area which is divided into two sections; Main storage and Delta Storage.

Q.14 What are the different perspectives in SAP HANA Studio?

Ans. The SAP HANA Studio contains different perspectives which we can choose to work on. Some commonly used perspectives are:

  • SAP HANA Administration Console
  • SAP HANA Modeler
  • Application Development
  • Lifecycle Management
  • SAP HANA Development
  • ABAP
  • BW Modeling

Q.15 What is SAP HANA System Monitor?

Ans. Using the system monitor in SAP HANA Studio, we can administer and monitor the system’s health and availability of SAP HANA components.

Also, using the system monitor, we can access the system’s details and configurations and the services offered by different SAP HANA components.

We can monitor several aspects through the SAP HANA system monitor such as the alerts, disk space, log disks, trace disk, data disk, memory, performance, volume, etc. Thus, it is convenient to manage individual aspects, tasks, and components.

Q.16 What all administrative operations can we achieve from the Administration Console?

Ans. A number of administrative tasks can be performed in the SAP HANA Studio such as; regulating (start/stop) services, monitoring the system, audit policy, and security configuration, user management and authorization, backup and recovery, memory management, license management, alerts and messages, etc.

All of these tasks can be performed from different tabs present in the administration console of SAP HANA Studio such as:

  • Overview (monitor and general management)
  • Alerts (position and view the details of the alerts)
  • Performance (evaluates the performance of the system for the activities happening in the database)
  • System Information (access system information files and queries)
  • Landscape (check of all running services)
  • Volumes (details of the logs and data volumes)
  • Trace Configuration (includes the traces set up information)
  • Configuration (includes the information on system configuration files)
  • Diagnosis Files (includes the system log files)

Q.17 What is SAP HANA Information Modeler?

Ans. Information Modeler lets us design information views or models on top of SAP HANA database using tables in it. Such models are created to serve a business logic and operation. They are generated directly on top of the HANA database layer.

The information modeler provides the interface and tools to select attributes and measures from the database tables so that the user can create multiple information views using the physical tables of transactional data stored in the databases.

The information views are a logical representation of the data which can be further published or consumed for analytical purposes. Information modeling implements on the SAP HANA Modeler perspective of SAP HANA Studio.

Q.18 What is the difference between Information Modeler and Information Composer?

Ans. The two differ from each other based on target users. SAP HANA Information Modeler is for technical users with extensive data modeling requirements and technical knowledge.

They can perform a range of advanced operations related to modeling such as creating attribute views, analytic views, calculation views, processing models, data management and administration, data loading and import/export tables.

Whereas, information composer is made for non-technical users who are not IT and data science experts (with no database or modeling knowledge).

The information composer is so designed that it aids non-technical users with user-friendly interface, animations, hints, and suggestions for modeling and reporting.

Q.19 What are the three types of information views?

Ans. The three types of information views are:

1. Attribute view

Attribute view uses attributes, or the non-measurable, non-quantifiable data to design views and models according to the business logic.

Thus, the data used in attribute view is referred to as ‘Master data’ as it is used as reference information in other views (analytic and calculation). The tables in attribute view do not contain any facts or measure.

2. Analytic view

In an analytic view, we can create star schemas, having a central transaction or fact table and multiple dimension tables linked to it via primary keys. The measures are contained only in the central transaction table which can be grouped or joined with multiple dimension tables.

3. Calculation view

Calculation view is an advanced model which uses both attribute and analytic view elements in it to make a complex data model following complex business logic.

It gives us the freedom to combine and create from a range of options like tables, column views, analytic views, attribute view, etc. It enables us to do multidimensional reporting using measures and dimensions from different sources.

Note: This one is very popular SAP HANA interview question.

Q.20 What are the types of SAP HANA engines?

Ans. There are three types of SAP HANA engines:

a. Join Engine: We use the join engine every time an attribute view is created or used, or a join condition is applied in a native SQL command.

b. OLAP Engine: We use the OLAP engine in the creation of analytic views. We use it only when attributes are used in the analytical view and no calculation is done. If operations like calculations, counters, restricted measures are used then other engines like a calculation engine is used along with the OLAP engine.

c. Calculation Engine: We use the calculation engine in calculation along with being used in other views like analytical and attribute view whenever they apply complex logic and calculation operations.

Q.21 Explain the different types of joins in SAP HANA.

Ans. The types of joins in SAP HANA divides into two categories; Standard database joins and Specific joins.

1. Standard Database Joins

Inner join: The inner join joins the left and right tables with only matching records. That is, only that part in both tables that coincides displays. Inner joins are very useful while creating information models as we can use it to join tables in attribute views.

Left outer join: The left outer join combines the entire left table with only the matching records from the right table. If some the engine can’t find any records matching for the left columns in the right table then it returns NULL at those places.

Right outer join: The right outer join combines the entire right table with the matching contents in the left table. We rarely use the right outer join in real scenarios. It returns NULL in place of values which do not find an association with the records in the right table.

Full outer join/Union: A full outer join combines all the records from both left and right tables irrespective of the matching conditions. The cells which are not able to find any association with the other table are left NULL.

2. SAP HANA Specific Joins

Referential join: Referential joins are like inner joins but with a condition of keeping the referential integrity intact.

We use it whenever there is a primary key and foreign key association between two tables. And, referential integrity is when for every value in the foreign key column, there is a reference value in the primary key column of the master data table.

From a performance point of view, referential joins are better than inner joins. Referential joins are necessary for star schemas as long as referential integrity maintains.

Text join: Text join provides a description of text records in the language specific to the user. If user A selects the language as German, then all the details regarding the table and columns will display to the user in German. We use text joins for joining a text table with a master data table.

Note: This one is the favorite SAP HANA interview question of most interviewees.

Q.22 What are analytic privileges in SAP HANA?

Ans. Analytic privileges in SAP HANA are data access restrictions which define and assigns to selected users.

They work as data security tools for SAP HANA users and clients. Analytic privileges provide row-level data security to SAP HANA users on contrary to object-level security which the object privileges assign. Thus, it restricts users to see only a selected section of data from the entire data set.

Q.23 What are the packages in SAP HANA?

Ans. Packages are folders which contains all the modeling related data objects. We call it a package because it can contain all the information modeling data in a complete package and we can use it for transferring (Import/Export) purposes.

The design-time objects such as information views, sub-packages, procedure, analytic privilege reside in a package.

There are two types of packages:

  • Structural
  • Non-structural

Q.24 What are schemas in SAP HANA?

Ans. The database elements of a system reside in the Catalog node of SAP HANA Modeler. The relational SAP HANA database divides into sub-databases within the Catalog node as schemas.

Schemas are like containers containing all the different elements or objects of a relational database. It categorizes important information about a database into folders such as indexes, tables, views, triggers, sequences, procedures, functions, etc.

Q.25 Difference between OLAP and relational connection to SAP HANA.

Ans. A relational connection establishes when the user needs to access conventional data tables. Relational connections can only create via IDT or UDT created semantic layers.

On the contrary, if we need to access multi-dimensional data cubes, then we need an OLAP connection. It is a direct connection to the business layer of the data model as opposed to the relational connection which is an indirect connection.

These connections enable a user to connect to the data tables or information views in SAP HANA.

Q.26 What is referential join? Explain referential integrity.

Referential join is the default join type in HANA modeling. A referential join is very similar to an inner join. The only difference between the two is referential integrity must be ensured in the case of referential join otherwise it cannot be formed.

Referential join forms between a fact table (transaction data or analytic view) and a master data table (attribute view). Every master data table has a primary key column which acts as a foreign key in the fact table.

We use referential joins whenever there is a primary key and foreign key association between two tables. And, referential integrity is when for every value in the foreign key column, there is a reference value in the primary key column of the master data table.

From a performance point of view, referential joins are better than inner joins. Referential joins are necessary for star schemas as long as referential integrity maintains.

Q.27 What are SAP Business Objects BI 4 reporting tools?

Ans. SAP Business Objects BI 4 client tools are SAP products that offer reporting applications and tools that use data from SAP BW and SAP HANA for reporting and analysis purpose. The list of reporting and dashboarding tools available under SAP Business Objects BI 4 package is:

  • SAP Lumira
  • Web Intelligence
  • SAP Crystal Reports
  • Design Studio
  • Dashboard designer
  • Universe Designer (IDT/UDT)
  • BusinessObjects Explorer
  • Analysis Office
  • MS Excel

Q.28 Difference between Catalog and Content node.

The contents of an SAP HANA system (database) majorly divides into two folders; Catalog and Content folder.

Catalog folder: The Catalog node acts as a data directory for SAP HANA system and keeps structured information of all the physical objects in HANA.

It primarily contains schemas and each of them divides into different folders like Column Views, EPM Models, Functions, Indexes, Procedures, Sequences, Tables, Triggers and Views.

Content folder: The Content node contains the design-time repository objects such as the information models created in SAP HANA Modeler. Packages contain the information models.

Thus, the Content node mainly contains packages created by users. Within each package are the Attribute Views, Analytic Views, Calculation Views, Analytic Privileges and Decision tables created by a HANA user.

Q.29 What are the ways to create a table in SAP HANA?

There are two ways of creating tables in SAP HANA. One method is a command line method, where we use the SQL console to write an SQL script and create a table. The second method is a GUI based method where we use a graphical interface to create a table.

Q.30 Types of connecting drivers used by SAP HANA reporting tools?

SAP HANA uses four main types of drivers as discussed below:

ODBO (OLE DB for OLAP): The ODBO driver is a driver by Microsoft for connecting MS Excel to the SAP HANA database. This driver is specifically for multi-dimensional reporting (multi-dimensional data stores) and it communicates through MDX language.

ODBC: ODBC stands for Open DataBase Connectivity. The ODBC driver is for establishing relational database connections between reporting tools and SAP HANA database. Reporting tools like CR Report and Universe layer (IDE) use ODBC driver that communicates via SQL.

JDBC: JDBC driver is a Java-based connection service. We also use it for relational reporting by reporting tools like Explorer, UNX using IDT, CR Report. JDBC drivers communicate with the database through SQL queries. JDBC stands for Java DataBase Connectivity.

BICS: The BICS driver is SAP propriety connecting driver. Reporting tools that use SQLDB language as the interaction language with SAP database uses BICS driver.

This comes to the end of SAP HANA Interview Questions Tutorial.


We tried to cover basic and advanced questions related to SAP HANA. And, we hope that these questions help you to crack your SAP HANA interview in the first attempt. If you have come across with any queries, please enter in the comment section. We will be glad to help you.

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1 Response

  1. Rajesh kumar says:

    Thank you for an excellent blog. The information you have given is very interesting and helpful. Will definitely bookmark it! sap institutes in hyderabad

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