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SAP builds out HANA platform and ecosystem

Chris Kanaracus | May 17, 2013
SAP is shipping a raft of new features for the in-memory platform and letting partners in on its HANA Enterprise Cloud.

In addition, SAP has finished integrating HANA with the databases and related products it gained through the acquisition of Sybase, the company said.

HANA is now linked with Sybase PowerDesigner for data modeling as well as Sybase ESP, which processes streams of event data.

It's also now possible to use HANA in conjunction with Sybase IQ as a single logical database, SAP said. Data that a customer wants to work with most often would be held in RAM inside HANA, with Sybase IQ serving as "near-line storage," keeping less frequently needed but still important information at the ready.

SAP has also integrated the Sybase SQL Anywhere embedded database and Sybase Replication Server with HANA, according to a statement.

As it works internally to flesh out HANA's capabilities, SAP has made significant efforts to create a partner ecosystem for the platform, courting both the industry's larger players as well as startups.

Hosting providers Accenture, IBM, Savvis and Virtustream, among others, are joining a new partner program for HANA Enterprise Cloud, SAP said. It's expected that the program will enable these companies to run a similar setup as HANA Enterprise Cloud, but in their own data centers.

The market for HANA consultants is also scaling up, with some 4,000 individuals having been trained on the platform as of the end of March, SAP said. Another 1,300 have received training on how to implement SAP Business Suite on HANA, according to the announcement.

SAP is also planning to significantly expand spending on a venture capital fund for HANA aimed at startups, from an initial $155 million last year to $405 million. Some 400 startups are now involved in the Startup Focus program, SAP said.

All told, SAP's announcements at Sapphire this week gave the impression of a company that remains committed to fully reorienting itself around HANA.

There was also some evidence backing up SAP's claims of rampant enthusiasm among customers and partners for HANA.

The room was packed for a user group session aimed at giving enterprise architects guidance on how to introduce HANA into their IT landscapes. "Everyone is going to be a HANA customer at some point, is my bet," presenter Martin Mysyk , president and director of consulting firm CompuCorp. "We need to know how to deal with that."

But Mysyk also cautioned attendees about the limitations of HANA in some use cases. For example, "Do not use HANA for seismic [data] processing," he said. "It might be fast but it does not compete with an [high-performance computing] cluster." However, HANA would do a good job of analyzing results put out by such a system, he added.

Other Sapphire attendees, including the large European home-improvement retailer Kingfisher, have made significant investments in HANA already.


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