The in-memory, columnar database, Hana, has now become a platform on which "an explosion of applications" is taking place, according to Hasso Plattner.
The SAP founder (pictured) and eminence grise, giving his keynote address at this year’s Sapphire conference today, hailed "the speed of Hana [as] fantastic".
He said: "Why do we need that? Because, if we have a database with zero response time, we can do things fundamentally differently.
"The young start-ups [in SAP’s Hana-based start-up programme] see that, and are basing their their lives on it. There are now 2000 of those, and Bill [McDermott, SAP’s CEO] wants to double that number.
Read more about Hasso Plattner and Sapphire
2014: Hasso Plattner, chairman of the supervisory board for SAP, restated his case that enterprise applications face a radical future, based on in-memory computing.
2013: In-memory database platform HANA is growing beyond SAP,. with 431 startups building on it, SAP executives said at Sapphire 2013.
2010: Dramatic advances in computer hardware, particularly multi-core CPUs, over the next 12 months will in turn engender a new approach to building enterprise applications.
"I want to see more focus on alternative applications that can be built because we now have the speed."
He said that SAP had seen the trends coming in 2007, with multi-core and in-memory computing.
"That was the trigger for me. I realised that future systems have to be different and not systems of record only."
According to Plattner, Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft started to develop their own in-memory database, stimulated by his evangelism at that time.
Plattner brandished his book, written with SAP executive board colleague Bernd Leukert, The in-memory revolution: how SAP Hana enables business of the future, and told the conference: “If you read this book, and still don’t know what Hana is good for, I will refund you, even if you got it for free."
SAP launched its S/4 Hana enterprise resource planning suite in February. Sven Denecken, general vice president, co-innovation and strategy for S/4 Hana said, in an interview with Computer Weekly, that SAP needed to reengineer its ERP for a columnar-based, in memory platform that would be adequate for a digital economy and a digital network.
Work on the rewrite began on 22 February 2014.
Denecken said: "Our customers need a flexible core [ERP] to address things like the Internet of Things and the segment of one [customer]. These are topics that are coming up everywhere as companies move from products to services."
From products to services
The postulation of a shift from products to services in an increasingly "digital economy" was the overarching theme of Sapphire 2015.
At Sapphire the supplier announced a cloud edition of the suite. "Customers will now …be able to run their entire enterprise in the cloud with a digital core comprising the most essential scenarios including finance, accounting, controlling, procurement, sales, manufacturing, plant maintenance, project system and product lifecycle management," SAP stated.
Bernd Leukert, member of the SAP executive board, products & innovation said: "With the SAP S/4HANA, cloud edition, we are delivering on our promise to give complete choice to customers for adopting the next-generation business suite. It is now available on-premise, in the cloud and even allows true hybrid scenarios."