It always amuses me to hear our CTO, Vishal Sikka, talking
about SAP HANA as his “little girl”. His
paternal pride has been evident as he’s referred to her “riding on the Hadoop
elephant” and “becoming quite a trouble-maker for our competition”.
In the last couple of years, I’ve come to talk about SAP’s
real-time capability so often that my wife jokes ‘HANA’ is the other woman in
my life. But at the risk of sounding
like one of those huskily narrated adverts for gourmet ready meals, SAP HANA is
not just a database. It’s an application-execution platform that combines in-memory
database management and application management. Crucially, it unifies systems
of record and decision, and handles both analytical and transactional workloads
What this means is that the moment a business event takes
place, its data is available for analysis to support immediate in-process
decisions. So for instance, if a sales order is placed, the details of that
order will be included in the next analytical query on today’s sales, even if
the order happened only a moment ago. It also means that analytical results can
inform the application in real-time so it runs smarter. An eCommerce portal might
up-sell or cross-sell to a customer while an online purchase is in progress.
I’ve often succumbed to a suggestion of “customers who bought X also looked at
Y and Z” and hit the ‘one-click’ button.
However, what makes the whole real-time phenomenon exciting to
me is the number of use cases that don’t just enable innovation for commercial
gain, but for making great strides in scientific and medical discovery. For example, the causes of cancer – which currently
claims nearly eight million lives around the world each year – are hidden within
human DNA. Scientists at the Berlin university hospital Charité are using a new
mobile healthcare (mHealth) application based on SAP HANA which analyses and
compares cancer-related patient data. The “HANA Oncolyzer”, as it’s
known, supports the parallel analysis of millions of genome and mass medical
data within seconds in the main memory. This breakthrough is enabling doctors
and researchers to find faster and more effective cancer therapies that can
offer better patient outcomes.
If you’re interested in how SAP HANA is touching the lives of people in unprecedented ways, you can
read more inspirational stories like this at our World of Innovation page, and explore
our heat map to find what innovations people are talking about the world over.