This article is part of our Essential Guide: SAP Sapphire Now 2014: Special conference coverage

Sapphire 2014: Plattner restates radical, in-memory computing future

SAP's Hasso Plattner restates his case that enterprise applications face a radical future, based on in-memory computing

Hasso Plattner, chairman of the supervisory board for SAP, restated his case that enterprise applications face a radical future, based on in-memory computing and the cloud paradigm, in his keynote at Sapphire 2014 in Orlando.

Clayton Christensen, from Harvard Business School and author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, introduced Plattner, who said he sees the dilemma of over-valuing historic success “everywhere at SAP”.

Plattner said that while SAP aims to be minimally disruptive to its customers’ business, when moving them to the cloud and the supplier’s in-memory database Hana, it also needs to weave in disruptive innovation, otherwise it will fall victim to the phenomenon identified in Christensen’s original book, where successful companies fall victim to prior success, failing to keep up with customers’ future needs.

“We were too scared to change our 400 million lines of code” in 2007, said Plattner, “but we had to.” He convinced SAP, he said, to “build a database [Hana] with close to zero response time”, made possible by advances in hardware. “Hana has no aggregates of data,” he said, making possible simpler decision-making, based on real-time, transactional data.

To coincide with Plattner’s speech, the company announced that SAP Hana is set to become a modern platform for users who want to do innovative things using the cloud approach of renting rather than owning business software.

The company has announced a partnership with Iusacell, the third largest wireless telecommunications company in Mexico, for its cloud-based SAP Consumer Insight 365 mobile service. SAP claims the product securely unlocks the value of mobile operator network data to provide customers with actionable consumer insights and market intelligence.

The company also said it is stepping up its efforts to bring partners in to work on the Hana platform, citing Red Hat, IBM, HP, VMware and startups in its Hana outreach programme, the SAP Startup Focus programme

This aims to increase adoption of Hana outside of the traditional SAP ecosystem. The company said there are more than 1,500 startups participating. In 2014, more than 20 customers have purchased the startup systems, generating more than $10m in revenue for them.

SAP has also expanded the operating system options for Hana by certifying it for production use on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

SAP and Red Hat are said to be collaborating with the aim that SAP licensees working on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud would soon be able to “consume” Red Hat Enterprise Linux for SAP Hana on demand.

It was announced that the HP ConvergedSystem 900 for SAP Hana has been certified by SAP and aims to deliver 12TB of data in a single memory pool, and that Hana on VMware vSphere 5.5 is now generally available for a single virtual machine (VM) running on a dedicated Hana-certified server for production use.

Read more on Database management