SAP UK pushes mobility and Hana

SAP is pushing the benefits of Hana, its in-memory database and mobile data management, from the acquisition of Sybase in 2010

While Oracle is linking hardware to software, SAP is pushing the benefits of Hana, the in-memory database and mobile data management SAP acquired with Sybase in 2010.

SAP is proclaiming its best year in its 40 year history. The news comes just a month after SAP announced its plans to acquire SaaS provider SuccessFactors, which makes human capital management software.

Steve Winter has only been UK managing director of SAP UK and Ireland for five months. His mood is upbeat because the UK and Ireland grew 22% year on year, with SAP UK reporting its sixth consecutive quarter of double digit growth. “We have been strong in all sectors, including manufacturing, consumer, pharmaceuticals and financial services.”

In fact SAP is regarded as the market leader in off-the-shelf banking software, where it is organically replacing legacy banking platforms.

Winter says ERP sales have been consistent across large and small businesses. Business ByDesign, the company’s cloud offering for SMEs, has a thousand new customers and is being sold to large businesses. Those with smaller subsidiaries can combine on-premise and on-demand software, he adds.

The Sybase acquisition gave SAP a foothold in the mobility market, where mobile data access is becoming increasingly important, as businesses take advantage of the power of smartphones to access enterprise systems.

Hana, the in-memory database, is the powerhouse SAP positions as the way forward for enterprise data management. Given its rivalry with Oracle, SAP needs a viable database engine. Oracle is selling its Exadata platform as a high-end database appliance, which uses a multi-core architecture to perform database queries. It uses a flash-memory cache and  a smart query engine that pre-calculates which rows of data to fetch from the database, to reduce I/O bandwidth.

Hana is SAP’s answer. In the Forrester paper, SAP Shows Progress On Its Cloud, Mobile, And In-Memory Innovation Agenda, analysts Paul Hamerman and China Marten note that Hana is SAP's vehicle to distance itself from Oracle, which happens to be the database platform of choice for SAP customers. In-memory computing, which does not require a relational data store, is one more route to database independence. In addition, SAP has announced that its Business Suite will run on SAP’s Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE).

Gartner says in-memory DBMS and in-memory data grid technologies are well-known and largely mature technologies. In a research note looking at SAP’s strategy, Gartner analysts Massimo Pezzini and Daniel Sholler wrote: “SaaS providers, such as Workday, have demonstrated that an in-memory database of record approach can support large-scale business-critical applications. The validation of this notion by a powerful and influential vendor like SAP will force other vendors to respond by coming out with in-memory computing visions within the next 12 to 18 months.”

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