Sapphire 2013: Plattner, Sikka hail HANA growth beyond SAP

In-memory database platform HANA is growing beyond SAP, with 431 startups building on it, Hasso Plattner and Vishal Sikka said at Sapphire 2013

In-memory database platform HANA is growing beyond SAP, with 431 startups building on it, SAP executives said at Sapphire 2013.

Hasso Plattner, chairman of the SAP supervisory board, and Vishal Sikka (pictured), the intellectual driving force behind HANA, spoke in defence of the database, against industry detractors, during their keynote.

One by one, Plattner moved to debunk a series of what he called “myths” about the in-memory platform: that it is not possible to do virtualisation with HANA; that it loads everything into memory; that it only works with proprietary technology; that its cloud version does not support Multi-tenancy; and that it is only for SAP applications.

“We introduced multi-tenancy in 1976 for German wine makers and farmers. But large companies do not want to share [computing space] with competitors, they want to be within a firewall. Ask any of the large SaaS [software as a service] suppliers – when they get a huge customer, they get a private system,” he said.

Plattner contended that HANA applications have come to the fore recently. He said that 60% of HANA applications are non-SAP, and pointed to the 431 startups working on the platform. “This is the future of SAP,” he said, pointing to a slide displaying the logos of the startups.

In his section of the keynote, Sikka also pointed to the HANA startups, noting that there were 10 of them a year ago.

He confirmed that SAP has been running its own customer relationship management (CRM) system on HANA for the past three weeks. The supplier has 1,500 HANA customers, he said, with 850 implementations, 27 of which are in a “10,000 club, running applications 10,000 times faster on the platform”.

HANA service pack 6

With HANA service pack 6, SAP is introducing what it calls “smart data access technology” to bring other data sources into HANA, such as Teradata or Hadoop. It has also added geospatial capabilities, contending that customers “will be able to process combinations of spatial, predictive and text analysis results within one SQL to simplify the development of … location-based systems”.

The supplier has also launched an Open HANA Initiative. This aims, according to a statement, to include tailored datacentre integration to provide customers the choice to integrate the HANA platform with their existing network storage infrastructure.

“Breaking down the unnecessary divide between OLTP and OLAP has only been the beginning," said Sikka in the statement. "We will continue to reinvent real-time experiences by bringing the power of [the HANA platform] to more data varieties, sources and deployment options."

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