SAP Moving All Products to In-Memory HANA Database

In a global press event Jan. 10, SAP announced that its customers now have the option of deploying HANA as the foundation for its frontline SAP Business Suite.

German enterprise software maker SAP is truly betting the farm on a 2-year-old: its in-memory database, HANA.

In a global press event Jan. 10, SAP announced that its customers now have the option of deploying HANA as the foundation for its frontline SAP Business Suite.

HANA (High-Performance Analytic Appliance), a column-oriented, in-memory database appliance, can run in concert with any other existing database a customer may have, including Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, MySQL and several others. It also can run a system all by itself.

In fact, all new SAP software will be developed to run on HANA, company co-founder and board chairman Hasso Plattner told reporters and analysts at the company offices in Palo Alto, Calif.

HANA Changes Everything for SAP, Customers

"What does this mean for business? Speed, that's what it means. Over time, this will mean big cost savings for enterprises, because HANA is 10- to 1,000-times faster than regular databases," Plattner said.

"Time is literally money in business. Just think: No more batch programs, simplification, more functionality with less code," Plattner said.

An in-memory database relies primarily on main memory -- usually dynamic random access memory, or DRAM -- for data storage. Conventional database management systems deploy disk storage. Main memory databases are much faster than disk-optimized databases, since the internal optimization algorithms are simpler and execute fewer CPU instructions.

SAP positions itself as the only provider of an integrated line of business applications that captures and analyzes transactional data in real time on a single in-memory platform, Plattner said.

It's All About Real-Time Computing

"This is all about running your business in real time within the window of opportunity to transact, analyze and predict instantly and proactively in an unpredictable world," Plattner said. "This gives companies the ability to translate real-time insights to action immediately."

A variety of business markets, such as marketing analysis, financial close, receivables management, material resource planning, as well as consumer- and social-sentiment analysis, and the most used operational reporting and analytics are targets for HANA, the company said.

SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA opens up a whole new world of growth opportunities because of its speed, Plattner said. Customers now can manage all mission-critical business processes in real time, such as planning, execution, reporting and analysis by using the same relevant live data, he said.

The new real-time SAP Business Suite is an open environment that enables operational analytics and reporting on live data, he said.

SAP has been building up to this announcement over the last two years. It already has enlisted key partners in HANA development in Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Cisco Systems, Microsoft and Amazon.

HANA Already Available in Cloud Service via AWS

At SAP's TechEd 2012 conference, held in October, the company announced that the HANA One platform was certified for production use on the AWS Cloud. It is available now for subscription on the AWS Marketplace at 99 cents per hour.

SAP HANA One enables instant provisioning of the Web services platform on the elastic AWS Cloud. It can be provisioned by AWS on advanced hardware with memory capacity up to 60GB of RAM per instance. This enables companies to deploy business- or consumer-facing applications already built on the HANA database to use the in-memory transactional and analytical data processing that comes with the service.

HP Ramping Up Commitment to In-Memory Computing

HP is developing a disaster-proof appliance to run the in-memory database.

Also on Jan. 10, HP revealed an important insight into its long-range strategy: an increased commitment to in-memory computing in the form of a new Center of Excellence (CoE), initially focused on SAP HANA.
The CoE will deploy a virtual team of engineers, developers and other experts from across HP to accelerate customer transitions to new-generation business applications built for in-memory computing.
Based on HP's Converged Infrastructure, the CoE will include:
--HP Engineering Labs, built in collaboration with HP Labs, to create new architectures and platforms optimized for in-memory computing;
--HP Enterprise Services to help improve business processes and application transformation that will be enabled by SAP HANA;
--HP servers, storage, networking and infrastructure management to validate and optimize configurations for SAP HANA and the SAP Business Suite; and
--application test and development for on-premises, hosted and HP Converged Cloud deployments to accelerate time to deployment.

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...