SAP's Sikka preaches HANA-led 'renewal'

In-memory computing will transform SAP's portfolio, according to executive board member Vishal Sikka

SAP is in the middle of a sweeping "renewal" of its software portfolio, powered by the HANA (High Performance Analytic Appliance) in-memory computing engine, executive board member and technology chief Vishal Sikka said during a keynote address Tuesday at the Tech Ed conference in San Francisco.

Sikka's talk took on an expansive, conceptual tone at times as he described how HANA, which places data in memory rather than on disk, providing a performance boost, will transform SAP's software without casting aside customers' existing investments.

"There is a timeless separation between content and containers," he said. "The most obvious example is books. Bookstores are disappearing, books are disappearing, but it's not as if we aren't reading anymore."

Content has to make its way into new containers for a "grand renewal" to occur, and the same goes for business information with respect to SAP's products, he added.

"We intend to replace the entire data-processing layer in all of our applications [with HANA]," he said, adding that HANA represents "one single modern infrastructure that is capable of delivering the essential content," whether new or old, he said.

That work will be done alongside SAP's ongoing rollout of specialized analytic applications that run on top of HANA, two more of which were announced Tuesday.

HANA was first announced at the Sapphire conference in May 2010 and went into general availability in June. It is sold in appliance form on hardware from a number of vendors. SAP has reported widespread early interest from its customer base, saying HANA has the fastest-growing "pipeline," or backlog of sales leads, in company history.

However, overall HANA represents only a tiny part of SAP's revenue, a fact underscored by the meager show of hands when the Tech Ed audience was asked whether their organizations were starting HANA projects.

The keynote did feature a recorded presentation describing the experience of Chinese bottled water distributor Nongfu Spring, which went live on HANA on Aug. 20. The HANA system's performance overwhelmingly bested an Oracle-based data mart the company has, CIO Patrick Hoo said in the presentation.

SAP is hoping to drum up more interest in HANA with a new community website where developers can share experiences working with the platform.

It has also begun to weave the technology throughout its product set. One significant effort, code-named Project Orange, will allow SAP's Business Warehouse to run on top of HANA.

There are some 16,000 active BW systems in the world, Sikka said. When Project Orange is delivered in November, customers will be able to replace the database currently running BW with HANA, he said.

SAP will also soon begin a beta program around its nascent PaaS (platform as a service), River, which will incorporate HANA, according to Sikka.

HANA support will also be added to SAP's Solution Manager framework for managing SAP software environments.

Sikka also referred to SAP's previously disclosed intentions to port its flagship Business Suite ERP (enterprise resource planning) software to HANA. That work will happen over time, without disruption to customers, he said.

SAP already has interest from "huge companies" that want to run the Business Suite on HANA, Sikka said during a question-and-answer session with press and analysts after the keynote.

Such a transition would no doubt face competitive resistance from Oracle, given how many SAP customers currently use that vendor's database.

"We have a solid partnership with Oracle. It's a multi-faceted relationship," as is the case with IBM and others, Sikka said during the session.

That said, HANA will compete effectively with Oracle and its Exadata data-processing machine, he said. Exadata was recently certified for the Business Suite.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags cloud computingmobileinternetOraclesoftwareSAPInternet-based applications and servicesSAP TECH ED

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?