SAP Building New Cloud Platform Around In-Memory HANA

SAP is now offering SAP HANA Service Pack 8 as the basis of a new platform--powered by VMware--that includes mobile, analytics and data services.

SAP HANA database

All IT companies that both create and acquire intellectual property have to filter through everything, pick the right components, test them all to see that they work together without crashing and make them airtight before going to market. SAP apparently has completed that process with its prize in-memory database, HANA.

Now well into its third year in the market, HANA last month was made available to run directly on VMware's vSphere 5.5, giving it direct entrée into 90 percent of the world's IT systems that already use some form of VMware hypervisor. This makes it simply another node in the VMware system.

So SAP is taking that connection to a new level. At the company's Sapphire NOW 2014 conference in Orlando, Fla., the German enterprise software maker announced June 4 that it is now offering SAP HANA Service Pack 8 as the basis of a new platform--powered by VMware--that includes mobile, analytics, data services and cloud integration services delivered through open-standards user interfaces.

First Private Cloud to Run on In-Memory DB

This is basically the first private cloud to run largely on an in-memory database. But most IT directors themselves will have to find a way to make it all work within their own confines.

Most HANA SP8 users will have to pick and choose from among SAP's big ecosystem of partners, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Intel E7v2 processor-based systems, multiple third-party high availability and disaster recovery solutions and an expanded network of 20 partners certified to support solutions powered by SAP HANA in the cloud.

Other users--mainly startups that do not have a lot of IT employees--could decide to go with one of three standardized solutions for SAP's HANA Enterprise Cloud service. These include a set of prepackaged, rapid-deployment solutions that automate deployment for retail, insurance and supplier network collaboration.

SAP HANA now is up to 3,300 customers--including 1,350 startups--Amit Midha, SAP senior vice president for Product and Innovation Marketing, told eWEEK.

Competitors Playing Catch-Up

"Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, Teradata have followed us in this direction (with in-memory databases)," Midha said. "Our customers are using HANA for a lot of different workloads, such as machine intelligence, learning, planning, health care, genomics, cancer research--there is a plethora of examples of all shapes and sizes.

"We've made it simpler to use and the support for VMware to make it easier to integrate HANA into the data center. We also worked a lot on disaster recovery and high availability, so it's completely ready for mission-critical scenarios," Midha said.

Of course, the term "simpler" is a subjective one. All of this integration requires a great deal of work by IT specialists. Read my colleague Eric Lundquist's take on this here.

Oracle is expected to unveil its own new in-memory cloud-based database product on June 10. eWEEK will be there.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...