SAP Makes Big Hana Play

In-memory technology can replace conventional databases (like Oracle) running SAP Business Warehouses.
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SAP made good on a few promises on Wednesday when it announced a version of the Hana in-memory appliance that can run SAP Business Warehouses, that it has released a battery of mobile applications, and that it has extended maintenance support for its core Business Suite 7 through 2020.

The most significant development is the Hana news, as more than 13,000 customers run the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW). By using Hana as the underlying database for BW, SAP says customers can count on faster loading, querying, and planning performance. Executives said the transition from conventional relational databases, such as Oracle, will be fast and painless.

"Customers can slide out Oracle and slide in Hana, and it's just as easy as dropping off your BMW 3 Series at the auto shop and picking it up the next morning and it has a 7 Series engine," said Sanjay Poonen, president of global solutions go-to-market at SAP. No changes are required to the reporting or analytical applications running on top of BW or the underlying transactional applications or systems that feed the warehouse, he said.

Companies that have already implemented Hana will be able to run BW with a simple service-pack upgrade, Poonen said. Hana hit general release in the third quarter, but combined with uptake from early adopters, SAP reported that Hana has a 100 million Euro sales pipeline for 2011 and an expected 600 million Euro pipeline for 2012, making it the company's most successful product launch ever.

[ Want more on SAP's Hana appliance? Read SAP's Hana Gets Apped. ]

SAP released six new mobile apps and three upgrades of existing mobile apps built on the Sybase Unwired platform. The new apps on include Mobile Electronic Records, Citizen Connect, Transport Notification & Status, Transport Tendering, GRC Access Approver, and GRC Policy Survey. The revised apps are CRM Sales 2.0, Field Service 2.0, and Retail Execution 2.0. In addition, SAP released two additional mobile applications that aren't built on Sybase Unwired: SAP Strategy Management mobile and SAP BusinessObjects Explorer mobile.

All of these applications will be available on the Apple ITunes store and SAP's Mobile store. Platform support covers iOS (iPad and iPhone), Android tablets and phones, and Windows and RIM BlackBerry phones.

SAP started telegraphing the Hana and mobile app announcements at Sapphire in May. The releases were announced at this week's Sapphire Madrid conference, where the company also highlighted a commitment to continue its quarterly enhancement pack approach to upgrading Business Suite applications through 2020. The approach lets customers add new functionality without having to reimplement applications or modules.

"We're innovating without disruption, which is a contrast to our competitors who are forcing customers to suffer though disrupting upgrades," Poonen said, citing PeopleSoft-to-Oracle Fusion and Oracle E-Business Suite-to-Oracle Fusion upgrades as examples.

As part of that move, SAP also announced that the availability of maintenance for Business Suite 7 will be extended from 2016 until 2020.