Startups reportedly flocking to SAP's HANA in-memory database

SAP hopes the grassroots approach will help seed a robust HANA ecosystem

Some 20 startups have inked commercial deals with SAP that will see them run production applications with the HANA in-memory database on Amazon Web Services, SAP announced Thursday during the Tech Ed and Sapphire conferences in Madrid.

In addition, 153 startups are now part of a special program SAP launched six months ago in hopes of quickly creating a partner ecosystem for HANA, which became generally available last year and has since become a central focus of the vendor's technical and product road maps.

Those 153 companies were culled from more than 800 in 17 countries which expressed interest in the program, according to SAP. A majority are from what SAP called "non-traditional markets." One is Better Food, a provider of "sustainable and safe food management services across the value chain," according to a statement.

Startups using the HANA One product commercially on AWS include Feedzai, maker of real-time fraud prevention software; Warwick Analytics, which develops "root cause analysis and early warning systems for defects in complex high-value manufacturing industries"; and social media marketing vendor Fan Appz, according to SAP.

SAP's emphasis on the variety of markets the companies are involved with falls in line with executives' frequent contention that HANA will enable the creation of entirely new, previously unimagined types of applications.

It wasn't clear Thursday how many of the 153 startups or 20 companies that signed commercial deals have benefited from a US$155 million venture fund SAP started to help boost interest in HANA.

"It's amazing how quickly a marketplace has come up from the ground," executive board member and technology chief Vishal Sikka said during a keynote address Thursday, which was webcast.

However enticing HANA's technology as well as the prospect of venture funding may be to startups, there are other factors in play as well.

For one, SAP's aggressive marketing and development plans for HANA are likely confidence-boosters for entrepreneurs looking to hitch their fortunes on a larger company's technology.

Other enticements include the chance to target SAP's massive user base with HANA-based products, as well as the possibility SAP will end up acquiring the best applications companies produce in order to rapidly build out a HANA portfolio.

SAP isn't just depending on startups to create HANA applications. Also Thursday, the company announced a series of new specialized software tied to the platform, some now available and others in the planning stages.

While SAP's announcement referred to more than 30 products, it specifically listed only a handful, including applications for liquidity risk management, accelerated trade promotion planning, and customer usage analytics.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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