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Technology Innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW: SAP HANA

In my second post of my SAPPHIRE NOW blog series I’d like to have a closer look on the agenda with you. Given the vast spectrum of technologies being showcased and test-driven at the Technology Innovation campus (see my previous blog post for more details),  it sounds like a good idea to serve it in more digestible doses and slice it into smaller pieces.

So, why not start off with the obvious topics first and get those out of the way and then look for the runner-ups that have yet to get the same attention?

OK, so… ladies first: SAP HANA. Not sure about calling her a lady or if this is the best-fitting description as she seems to be too young to deserve being called a lady yet. She certainly acts like a diva already, yet – and please excuse the corny metaphor – I think if you’d want to attribute her with a female stereotype then “Lolita” may sounds the most appropriate. Young of age, yet already turning heads everywhere. Everybody knows… once she matured she’ll become a star!

Here, I see another parallel between the music and the enterprise software industries (the first one being the application store in the cloud.) Promising starlets are hyped in order to meet public expectations and are put on stage without ever having the proper time to learn how to cope with all the pressure and exposure. Consequently, taking it step-by-step sounds very reasonable – especially when considering the potential of our particular candidate.

So, what is up with SAP HANA? Is it real? 

We at SAP certainly know it is, yet we also know that SAP HANA does have a long way to go to the high expectations her gene pool is promising. While we have a steadily growing number of scenarios that underline our statements and vision on in-memory computing, we are also aware that there is still a way to go to make this database technology the single persistent store for the entire product family from SAP. So, personally for me, when thinking of SAP HANA there’s both a feeling of “yeah” as well as of “1.0 is the loneliest number” meaning “this is only the beginning!

Let’s recap: SAP HANA was released into general availability  on June 20. The names were clarified and shortly after the Finding SAP HANA Documentation was out! At SAP TechEd 2011 Las Vegas, SAP HANA was the most prominent topic of the event and in constant spotlight and critic alike (e.g. SAP Teched Las Vegas and Beyond – SAP at the Crossroads by Jon Reed.) One of the major critical points I heard was that “Experience SAP HANA” wasn’t quite living up to what the name suggests: there was indeed plenty of information material and documentation, yet the test-drive aspect was not accessible to public at the beginning. According to Vishal Sikka, the SAP Mentor Initiative have been a driving force behind this notion and “got us to put [it] into high-gear.” Just this week the first people outside of SAP are able to access SAP HANA and judge for themselves (see Tweet by Jürgen Schmerder.)

At the moment, we’re focusing on high-performance analytic applications and as such SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand has also been added to the development center in the cloud. The next major milestone for SAP HANA, “Project Orange,” is highly anticipated by the ecosystem (see “Why SAP HANA 1.0 SP03 – Project Orange – will be a runaway success” by John Appleby, and note Jeff Word’s response on what to expect at SAP TechEd Madrid).

Note: Jeff also published a very helpful guide(!)  to all things SAP HANA over here: SAP HANA at SAPPHIRE Now & SAP TechEd Madrid. Very good overview for both business and technical tracks. Thanks for sharing!

 Being a techie heading to Madrid, I’m looking forward to intensified discussions on architecture topics  such as the one about reducing layers for analytical scenarios picked up my fellow social ambassadaor Timo Elliott “Why The Last Decade of BI Best-Practice Architecture is Rapidly Becoming Obsolete” and SAP Mentor Vijay Vijaysankar: “Is collapsing layers a good thing? Help me understand please.” I’ll also try to get to talk to those who have been gathering firsthand experience on the newly introduced SAP HANA sandbox.

With that I’d like to call it a day for now… in my upcoming blog you’ll get to hear about “When SAP HANA met Neo” :)

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  • I wonder about that too!  Is Hana real?  Or will it fade into the night like some of the other technology that was highlighted at an SAP event.  I know it's a big investment - Hana and the hardware to make it run.  The benefits are not really understood.  If I had all the memory already and am on a BI / BW system, wouldn't it be easy to "cache" the data without the help of Hana.  (A great question posed by my boss.)

    So it will be infesting to get my hands on it.


    • Hi Michele,

      it's only as real as you are willing to make it so. i think it would be a major change if we could put ECC (with BI) on top of HANA and eliminate redundant BW layers to make tuples accessible realtime in the RAM domains.