SAP plans cloud version of HANA

The company will however offer the software only from its own cloud

SAP plans to offer a version of its HANA (High-Performance Analytic Appliance) software that will allow customers to upload data to the vendor's own cloud setup for processing, rather than deploy related infrastructure in-house, a senior executive of the company said.

HANA uses an in-memory computing engine, holding data to be processed in main memory for faster processing. This approach is designed to eliminate the need to read data from the database, process it and then write data back to the database, SAP said.

The company will however initially offer HANA only from its own cloud as it does not have the ability to control or pick the hardware specifications on public clouds, executive board member Vishal Sikka said on Thursday. The high-performance deployments currently run on Intel systems that are certified as HANA-compatible by SAP, because typically the implementations require large amounts of main memory and use fast multicore processors, he added.

To target small businesses, SAP also plans to offer HANA this year or shortly after on its Business One integrated application. It will be offered initially as an attachment, with custom and pre-built dashboards, to existing Business One systems, addressing the requirement of small businesses for real-time analytics, Sikka said.

Up to now the demand for HANA has come from large and medium-size customers, according to Sikka.

SAP announced earlier this month new in-memory applications that take advantage of HANA. The applications, which focus on analysis of current data, are planned to be released later this year.

The company's current focus is on in-memory applications that are developed in-house. Down the line, however, it expects that third-party developers will also develop in-memory applications using HANA, Sikka said. The company will also have a certification program for third-party applications, he added.

One of the reasons SAP is not yet working with third-party developers around HANA is that applications require tweaks and added functions to the HANA software that the company would rather do itself at this point, Sikka said.

SAP continues to add new capabilities to HANA, including a text-based search, and additional structures inside the in-memory database, Sikka said. It also plans to integrate HANA into Sybase database products. SAP acquired Sybase in July last year, he added.

SAP expects that the dependence of its customers on a traditional database will be reduced dramatically, as HANA gains ground in traditional SAP-type applications. It is the natural course of things that some layers of the stack disappear over time, Sikka said.

"There is no doubt that the design of the relational database is now so old, and was based on assumptions about hardware that are no longer relevant," Sikka said.

SAP business around its Sybase relational database will however continue to grow in industries such as financial services and telecommunications, particularly with its integration of HANA technology, Sikka said.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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