SAP S/4 HANA Technical. Part 4 – How to identify S/4HANA from Suite on HANA?

Identify S/4 HANA (S4H) from System/Suite on HANA DB (SoH).

When I started working on HANA, I was wondering if there is any way to know which HANA system I’m working on. I had just got my hands on a system, which I heard is a HANA system and that’s all. I was coming across some terms like S4 HANA, S4H, SoH, Suite on HANA, ECC system with HANA database and so on. To be frank, I was lost in these HANA terminologies. So I started gathering info about all these jargons and finally I am ready to make it simple for you all. So let’s get started.

Do not forget to go through Part I, Part II and Part III of S/4 HANA Technical Overview.
Part I – S/4 HANA from an ABAPer’s Eyes
Part II – Is BDC Possible in S/4 HANA?
Part III – Decommissioning of unused codes and making the Custom Code ready for S/4 HANA.

Coming back to our topic for the day. We can categorize the HANA system in two broad categories:

  1. SAP Business Suite FOR HANA (S4 HANA/S4H)
  2. SAP Business Suite/System ON HANA (SoH/ECC on HANA Database)

Did your primary school English teacher not tell you the importance of Prepositions?

“For” and “On” are making all the difference in S4H and SoH.

SAP for HANA (S/4 HANA or S4H)

This is the SAP system where you’ll get the Business Suite developed and optimized for HANA. The data model has been ‘simplified‘ and it works on the ‘Principle of One‘. For high-level understanding, we can say core tables of certain business processes (MM, FI etc) has been replaced by a single table (MATDOC, ACDOCA etc). SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA is therefore called S/4 HANA.

The backend Application Layer runs only on HANA Database and the Frontend will be developed in SAPUI5 (Fiori). If we co-relate with the traditional 3 tier Architecture of SAP, HANA is the Database layer, S/4 HANA is the Application Layer and Fiori the Presentation layer.


S/4 HANA will have a component named ‘S4CORE’ like the one highlighted in the screenshot.

Tips: Please check the product version and software component versions carefully. I have highlighted it below for your convenience. We already know, (will know it, if we don’t) there are 3 major releases for S4 HANA as on date. Those are S4 HANA 1511, 1610 and 1709 and it is already discussed in the first blog of this series. Along with that, there are three major releases for S4Core as well. Those are S4CORE 100, 101 and 102. S4CORE 100 corresponds to S4 HANA 1511, 101 corresponds to 1610 and 102 corresponds to 1709.

System/Suite on HANA (SoH or ECC Business Suite on HANA DB)

This is the system, where only the database used is HANA. However, ECC Business Suite is still used on top of HANA Database. So in regular ECC system, traditional database (like Oracle, SQL, MS etc) is replaced by HANA database. If we co-relate with the traditional 3 tier Architecture of SAP, HANA is the Database layer, ECC is the Application Layer and Fiori can be Presentation layer.


The answer to this question is, initially there was no roadmap to move to S/4H from SAP ECC (like we have now – SUM with DMO), and only fresh implementation (Greenfield Implementation) was possible and Conversion but not Upgrade to S/4 HANA is possible. However, HANA database itself would give a significant performance improvement. So some of the enterprises decided to convert the Database to HANA. So they are having SAP ECC system on HANA database without the hassle of learning new business processes and at the same time taking advantage of the in-memory HANA Database.

In other words, many clients just migrate the database from traditional to HANA without changing the front end. Such system becomes SAP ECC Business Suite on HANA Database (SoH). Although SAP Business Suite has a different backend (HANA), it still can have Fiori User Interface and the same SAP applications. This lets businesses benefit from the in-memory performance boost of SAP HANA without restructuring the application layer. This process is relatively simple, and users don’t have to adapt to a whole new system at all and still enjoy the new flavor.


Simple, by checking the system status and software component versions.

On a Side Note:

SAP ECC could be installed on dual-stack i.e. ABAP stack and JAVA stack. However, as of now, HANA supports only ABAP stack. So, if any particular add-on (CRM or PI for example), requires the JAVA stack, we need to take the SoH approach for those add-ons. In that case, ECC business suite can be converted to Business Suite for HANA (S4H) and the add-ons can be installed as System on HANA (i.e CRM on HANA or PI on HANA).


SAP would be S/4 HANA (S4H) and all Addons (CRM, PI etc) which need Java stack can be installed on HANA Database so those Addons would become SoH i.e System on HANA Database.

Hope you got an idea. Next time someone says Suite on HANA or Suite for HANA, you know what they exactly mean to say. Although there seems to be a thin line between on HANA and for HANA but it does make a big difference.

So are you working on Suite on HANA or are you working on Suite for HANA?

Also Read – My First Program in S/4 HANA

Ideally, we should have explained Suite on HANA first followed by Suite for HANA, as in the evolution of SAP; Suite on HANA DB came first and then came S/4 HANA. But SAPSPOT believes in explaining things differently.