SAP HANA: From platform to ecosystem
By Brandon Teoh
During SAP’s largest, annual customer-run conference, SAPPHIRE NOW held in Florida, USA recently, SAP made three significant announcements. These announcements concern three major SAP offerings: real-time; cloud and SAP’s HANA platform.
- New Version of SAP Business One Application Helps to Realise Efficient Business Processes in Real Time
SAP AG announced general availability of the 9.0 version of the SAP Business One application running on Microsoft SQL. The business management solution for small businesses can be deployed on premise or in the cloud and is accessible via mobile devices. With more than 50 new features, the latest version offers enhanced capabilities for business partner and warehouse management, infrastructure and inventory management as well as improved systems performance. In addition, the 9.0 version of SAP Business One natively running on the in-memory platform from SAP is now in restricted shipment. The SAP HANA platform enables companies to instantly analyse growing volumes of data and gain the benefits of fast application performance without complicating IT landscapes.
- SAP Delivers Significant Innovations to Line-of-Business Cloud Applications
SAP AG introduced significant innovations to its portfolio of line-of-business cloud applications. To simplify their technology deployments, best-run companies are shifting from ad hoc spending to making strategic investments on one platform that span on-premise, managed and public cloud environments. SAP yesterday announced its vision of a unified cloud strategy to help businesses leverage and extend existing investments to bring cloud and cloud-enabled solutions onto one common SAP HANA Cloud Platform.
- SAP Unifies Comprehensive Cloud Portfolio With SAP HANA Cloud Platform to Serve Companies of All Sizes
SAP AG announced a unified strategy and vision for its broad cloud portfolio, combining the proven depth of enterprise solutions with the simplicity of cloud on SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the real-time enterprise. SAP HANA Cloud Platform will serve as the foundation for the full portfolio of cloud solutions from SAP. With this integrated approach, companies of all sizes can gain the flexibility, choice and lower cost needed to innovate for growth across their entire business in the cloud. This will help companies of any size create entirely new experiences for their customers, empower employees at scale, optimise the use of resources or unlock value for their business.
SAP HANA ?
SAP HANA is an in-memory database technology.
It is a full-fledged database which performs better than non in-memory competitors and it supports for both relational data and unstructured data.
It consists of 3 core components:
1.) RDBMS – relational database management system
2.) In-memory OLTP (online transaction processing) RDBMS technology
3.) Search engine.
Technically, in-memory database technology is unique in the manner which the database manages the data – instead of relying on disk storage, data are stored and manipulated in the main memory (RAM), it may also leverage on parallel processing capabilities of the CPUs.
To understand this in a bit more layman’s yet programming terms, it is analogous to the scenario where instead of writing and retrieving data from a file (MS Doc) which is stored in the hard disk as a word file, data are retrieved and written directly into the memory. To achieve this, there must be software which will automatically load the data from the file into the memory prior to that.
In retrospect to that, the nobility of innovation for in-memory database is really about fast processing of data and it is most often useful for real-time analytics applications.
This brings us to – why SAP HANA ?
Mind you, SAP HANA is not the only in-memory database technology in the world. Competitors like Oracle, Greenplum and SAS have it too.
Since SAP has always had their own database technology such as MaxDB which is given as deployment option for customers; and given that SAP has been so successful in terms of its ERP suite which accumulates a sea of data at customers’ side which resulted in SAP selling business analytics solution in the first place; it is only a natural path for SAP to improve on real-time high-speed big data processing.
Therefore, to this end, it is understood that the core component of in-memory database technology is really inspired by OLTP RDBMS technology, which is an extension of RDBMS technology.
As the matter of fact, even free software like MySQL AB provides OLTP features to cater for high-speed data processing.
And please take note that in-memory can only be achieved from database’s end. In other words, if you have a product which caters for business analytics solution that rely on data from databases from other vendors, no matter how much optimization is performed onto the data processing technique, you will still be slower due to the bottleneck of retrieving data from the database.
This explains why almost all business analytics solution providers sell their own database technology as well.
In short, SAP HANA was designed to not only function as a full-fledged RDBMS but also to serve as a capable database for big data business analytics with support for unstructured data such as text and graph data processing.
To support SAP HANA, to the least, applications’ database layers (object-relational layers) must be revised to support new libraries.
SAP HANA as a platform is now available throught few category of product delivery.
1.) As a database
2.) As analytics and modeling tool
3.) Appliance – SAP HANA in a box.
4.) Cloud SaaS and PaaS
With the initial success of SAP HANA as a platform, the time has dawned on SAP to make an ecosystem out of it.
It was announced on May 17, 2013 at the SAPPHIRE® NOW conference in Orlando, Florida that SAP will focus on leveraging on HANA, to make it fast and easy for established partners, ISVs and new startups to build, market and sell a diverse set of applications for customers of all sizes and across all industries.
The ecosystem consists of:
1. Cloud – leveraging on cloud opportunity to employer partners and users
The SAP HANA Cloud Applications Partner program provides the enablement tools, benefits and support to facilitate building high-quality, disruptive applications focused on specific business needs – quickly and cost-effectively.
2. Enabling resellers to drive adoption
The SAP channel partners provides supports for Sales, Pre-Sales and Consulting Services
3. Opportunities for startups to become part of SAP ecosystem
Various programmes available such as The SAP Startup Focus program; SAP Ventures and SAP HANA Marketplace.
The SAP Startup Focus program, launched in 2012, is growing, with over 400 startups joining from 19 countries to create new applications and products based on SAP HANA.
4. Research employment for humanity – SAP HANA for Humanity
Through this program, SAP is engaging with non-profit and governmental agencies to promote the use of SAP HANA to help solve pressing global problems related to issues such as climate change, healthcare and education.