HANA Runtime vs Enterprise

What is the difference?

Runtime is a restricted license which is only for SAP applications and the metric is a percentage of your HANA Application Software Value (HSAV). Enterprise on the other hand is an unrestricted license which can be used for SAP, non-SAP, custom, hybrid and third-party applications. The metric for Enterprise edition is database size (GB) and is significantly more expensive.

Comparing the two


Applications                                     Only SAP Applications

Data Modelling                           Only via the application layer

Data Loading                        Import and Export via application layer

Pricing Metric                                           % of HSAV

Cost                                                             Cheaper



Applications                 SAP, non-SAP, custom, third-party applications

Data Modelling                                     No limitations

Data Loading                                        No limitations

Pricing Metric                                   Database size (GB)

Cost                                                     More expensive

The main advantages of Enterprise are:

Access to and data modelling directly in HANA (i.e. not via application layer or SAP data tool).

Development; Creating tables in HANA.

Running 3rd party SW or custom SAP solutions (custom is new business functionality, beyond system integration/administration etc).


All the Enterprise Edition advantages come at a significant cost, typically multiples the cost of Runtime so it is about whether you simply need a database which supports your SAP applications or a more extensive solution and are willing to pay the cost.

SAP Authorisations Management

Enterprise Edition is no doubt a more complete and thorough solution but that comes at a significant cost

Our Experience

Most of our clients are currently on a Runtime license because of the cost but increasingly we see them at the very least exploring Enterprise Edition as they have more and more Third-Party Applications in their environment which need to interact with SAP. We also see mixed licensing, using Runtime for some systems, while using Enterprise Edition for other systems.


What is best for you

This is an introduction to the basic concepts and differences between Runtime and Enterprise Edition. The devil is in the detail as they say. Also, you can purchase additional options and limited versions. Before making a final decision a thorough review of your current environment and strategic plan should be undertaken and we can help with this. Items that need to be looked into in more detail on all your processes include whether there is a need to simply read, call or export data as opposed to load and create data or perform advanced analytics and execute functions all of which are much more suited to Enterprise Edition.

One final thought is that by 2025, you will be forced to replace the ERP Business Suite with the S/4HANA platform, for which HANA is the only possible database. It is a good idea to migrate to HANA database first and later move to S/4HANA platform, instead of doing both at the same time.

Take away message

Enterprise Edition provides a lot more functionality but is significantly more expensive. A detailed review of how SAP is, and will be used, and how it needs to interact with non-SAP applications needs to be considered before choosing.