SAP Launches Attack On Database, Mobile App Markets
Pricing the Hana in-memory database to sell and kicking in cash incentives for migrations, SAP vows it will become the fastest-growing database vendor.
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SAP isn't just an applications vendor or, with BusinessObjects, an analytics vendor. The company made the case at a Tuesday press conference in San Francisco that it's poised to become a top database vendor and extend its lead in mobile apps. It backed up its claims with a bevy of announcements, including news of nearly $500 million in customer-incentive funds and app development seed money to help promote its Hana in-memory database.
Vishal Sikka, SAP's CTO and a member of its executive board, boldly vowed that the company will become the fastest-growing database vendor in the industry. That's a slightly toned-down version of an earlier SAP claim that it would become "the number-two database vendor by 2015." But Sikka wasn't backing off on performance claims related to Hana, and the company added enough pricing and licensing detail to make it clear it's going to be aggressive.
SAP's Sybase unit, with its ASE (transactional), Sybase IQ (analytic), and SQL Anywhere (mobile) databases, will also figure in the company's big plans. But Sikka made it clear that Hana is seen as the real growth driver.
Of course, SAP has been talking up Hana for more than a year, but with a first wave of deployments now in production, Sikka rattled off a flurry of performance stats and customer proof points including a 100-Terabyte benchmark deployment, performance gains over conventional databases "by a factor of more than 400,000" at Mitsui in Japan, and a breakthrough real-time churn-analysis deployment at T-Mobile.
-- General availability of an SAP Business Warehouse (BW) release that's compatible with Hana. This will enable more than 16,000 current BW customers to upgrade to the database "without disruption," according to SAP.
-- General availability of SAP Business Planning and Consolidation release 10, an upgrade that can run on Hana to gain real-time analysis and planning capabilities without requiring data summaries or aggregates, shortcuts required by conventional databases.
-- The creation of a $337 million incentive program through which SAP will "coinvest" in migrations to Hana. Details where non-existent on how the money will be dispensed, but it's a good bet Oracle customers will qualify.
-- The creation of a $155 million venture fund through which SAP will underwrite startups that develop applications on top of Hana.
SAP also said the more than 35,000 small business using its Business One application suite will be able to run it on Hana as soon as this summer, with database licenses starting at 2,000 Euros ($2,600). And by the end of this year, Sikka said SAP's flagship enterprise applications Business Suite will run on Hana through a selective ramp-up program. General availability is expected to follow next year.
Sikka reiterated that SAP will continue to support IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle databases and let customers choose. But with Hana's promise of performance improvements and radical simplification, with one database handling both transactional and analytic workloads, SAP is counting on converts.
SAP spelled out enterprise licensing terms around the basic unit of 64 gigabytes of memory (which is a server increment, though the pricing does not include hardware). Costs will range from 160,000 Euros down to 13,000 Euros per unit ($210,000 to $17,000), with prices declining as volumes increase. BW-specific licensing starts at 60,000 Euros ($79,000) per unit and declines along with volumes. SAP said customers will pay only for active data, meaning fail-over and passive storage will not count. Test and development use of the database will also be free.
The crux of the simplification story is this: The math that applies to conventional databases will not apply to Hana, according to SAP, so it says customers should not use the size of their current environments to measure a would-be Hana deployment.
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