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Author's profile photo Irfan Khan

Days of Future Past

“We’re so excited about today, we can’t even think about tomorrow.”

‒ Larry Ellison, June 10, 2014

The year is 1974.

The world waits with bated breath for an announcement from the Kremlin. For weeks the print and broadcast media have been abuzz with speculation as to what the Soviets are planning ‒ something big, it seems. At last the fateful hour arrives. Flickering television screens around the globe display the image of General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, his eyes shining, his voice confident and energetic. The English translation follows in a halting voice-over:

“And so, Comrades…it is with great joy that I announce the…triumphant next step…not just for the Soviet people, but for…all humanity. Soon, very soon…we will launch a spacecraft…which will safely deliver…the first man to the moon!

Of course it never happened. That would be absurd: nobody loses a race and then announces five years later that they now intend to “win” it.

Unless…they happen to be a database vendor. As I pointed out not long ago, each of the major players in the enterprise database space have recently updated, or at least announced planned changes to, their long-established data management solution sets. Via options and add-ons, they are all laying claim to some version of in-memory processing. Each of these late-comers to this space have couched their announcements in language about “innovation” and “technology leadership.” In fact, the most foot-dragging of the bunch just put out a webcast with the title ‒ I’m not making this up ‒ “The Future of the Database Begins Soon.”

(I would send Larry a note explaining to him that the Eagle has landed already, but I’m not sure that he would get it.)

This is very exciting. The future of the database will be here soon! Let’s consider for a moment what that future might look like:

  • In the future, perhaps the database will evolve into an enterprise-wide, fully in-memory data platform (not some optional functions tacked onto a conventional database): ushering in the era of true real-time computing.
  • In the future, maybe we’ll see a data platform that eliminates the latency, complexity, and massive redundancy that have long plagued enterprise computing environments, draining them of resources and robbing them of performance.
  • In the future, we might see an approach to enterprise data management that completely transcends what has ever been possible using a database: seamlessly filling gaps that have always been taken as a fact of life for managing enterprise data.

In such a future, the possibilities will be endless.

A utility company serving millions of customers will make substantial improvements to its ability to manage energy loads through real-time correlation of 5 billion smart meter records, a year of detailed weather history, geographical location information, and other customer data. A manufacturer of aircraft infrastructure will achieve a 30% increase in productivity through real-time analysis of more than two terabytes of value-chain and workflow data. A cancer research institute will leverage analysis on massive datasets including patient medical records, genome data, clinical trials, and other sources to develop a molecular profile of patients, enabling individualized treatment unlike anything that has come before.

A multinational consumer goods company will provide real-time access to supply chain data from more than 40,000 cost centers and will transform their customer records reconciliation process with the ability to provide instant reconciliation across some 4.6 billion customer records. A major telecom provider will create a single view of customer interactions across multiple channels, elegantly transforming both its core business processes and the customer’s overall experience. A major Asian hospital will improve care through real-time tracking of more than 300 clinical indicators for tens of thousands of patients.

And those scenarios are just the beginning.

I would like to offer my personal congratulations to the winners of the SAP HANA Innovation Awards — those listed above as well as all the other winners and, moreover, all the organizations who entered the competition. For that matter, I would like to congratulate the more than 3,300 organizations worldwide who have adopted the SAP HANA platform…so far.

Not only are these organizations achieving unprecedented results ‒ in many cases transforming every aspect of how they operate in a fundamental way ‒ they are demonstrating how unevenly distributed the future truly is. These pioneers are leading the charge into a whole new era of enterprise computing, while those who should be innovators and thought-leaders in this space attempt to “predict” a future that has already arrived.  

In case you haven’t heard, It’s a HANA World now. Please spread the word if you can; some people have a bit of catching up to do.

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      Author's profile photo Abdul Hakim
      Abdul Hakim

      Hi..Nice Blog. I do admire this SAP product. But we should also accept that In memory is being adopted by other DB vendors as well and definitely SAP is ahead of them as SAP has launched it 5 years ago.. Also I don't underestimate other prominent DB vendors who have decades of expertise in DB space..We need to wait and watch how HANA is going to outperform others when the real battle starts..IMHO it is not yet started.. All the best to SAP HANA.



      Author's profile photo Marc Bernard
      Marc Bernard

      Those who have waited have already lost market share that they will never get back. There are too many examples were "waiting" became even fatal for companies. Adapt or die 😉



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