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SAP unveils new HANA in-memory database platform for Amazon cloud

SAP's Vishal Sikka yesterday announced a new program designed to let companies test and run HANA applications in the Amazon cloud.

LAS VEGAS -- SAP yesterday unveiled its new HANA One platform, which allows SAP customers to run HANA-based applications in the Amazon Web Services cloud.

SAP chief technical officer Vishal Sikka, who announced the new platform during the opening keynote address at the annual SAP TechEd conference, said the new platform will give users the opportunity to run HANA -- SAP's high-performance in-memory database -- without worrying about hardware investments.

With yesterday's announcement, SAP users now have three ways to run applications on HANA. In addition to running HANA apps in the Amazon cloud, customers can run them on-premises or deploy SAP Software as a Service applications that run on HANA.

SAP HANA One includes roughly 30 GB of usable RAM, per instance, according to SAP, making the cloud platform ideal for smaller applications, or for proof-of-concept projects.

SAP also announced one new application designed to run on the new platform, SAP Enterprise Performance Management OnDemand. Among other things, the software gives organizations tools for expense management, profit and loss analysis and capital project planning.

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Sikka said the HANA One platform is a good fit for startups, or companies that want to get started with in-memory computing by crunching a relatively small amount of data. The cost of running SAP HANA One on Amazon Web Services (AWS) is just under a dollar an hour.

"You can go and get yourself a HANA system in three to five minutes," Sikka told the crowd.

At least one customer was intrigued. Leroy Martin, a technical account manager with T-Systems North America, a hosting and infrastructure management company and sister company of mobile provider T-Mobile, said the ability to do HANA proof-of-concept projects would prove invaluable in getting larger HANA projects approved.

A lot of companies are considering deploying HANA, but are concerned about the price, Martin said. "But to get the cap-ex [capital expenditure] approved, they need a quick win," he said.

Given that Martin's company is a hosting provider, SAP HANA One with AWS will compete with his own company, but complement it as well.

T-Systems could use AWS to confirm the proof-of-concept, and then host the company's HANA deployment once it's up and running, Martin said.

SAP NetWeaver Cloud

As some had predicted, SAP announced the SAP NetWeaver Cloud is now generally available.

SAP moved the NetWeaver Cloud, part of SAP's Platform as a Service offerings, to private beta at last year's TechEd. NetWeaver Cloud is an open standards development platform that customers and partners can use to extend core applications, as well as develop and deploy new applications.

At the same time, SAP announced free developer licenses for those wishing to build on the new platform, which SAP said can be set up within five minutes.

"You take care of the applications, and we take care of the rest," said Bjorn Goerke, executive vice president and corporate officer for core technology and innovation platform at SAP.

The NetWeaver Cloud is one of the first in SAP's HANA Cloud program, a set of services SAP is planning to assist developers in their portal, integration, mobile and analytics projects.

Open hardware certification and the HANA academy

While SAP had only certified seven hand-picked hardware vendors to make and sell the HANA in-memory database appliance in the past, Sikka announced SAP was now letting any hardware vendor apply for the certification process.

Sikka also mentioned that the SAP HANA Academy, a free source of online instruction on the HANA platform, now has 250 hours of available instruction.

Clarifying a bone of contention

Sikka spoke about a recent speech given by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison at the Oracle OpenWorld conference. Ellison stated that HANA can only boast half a terabyte of memory, as opposed to Oracle's Exadata X3 in-memory database, which has 26 terabytes.

"The bad news was that he was completely off," Sikka said. He went on to say that HANA has no limits when it comes to scalability and that SAP has constructed a 100 terabyte system that can hold one petabyte of raw, uncompressed data or about 1.2 trillion records.

SAP BPC on mobile devices

SAP also announced mobile support for SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 10.0, part of an effort to grow its nascent on-demand Enterprise Performance Management applications. SAP BPC is mobilized through the SAP EPM Unwired application, a mobile client that companies can use to access both on-premise and on-demand enterprise performance management (EPM) apps. The interface is built on the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) architecture.

Last month, SAP announced the first three of what it says will be a growing list of on-demand EPM apps. The apps are designed with mobile users in mind and are meant to complement the main EPM product line. The apps also run on a SAP HANA in-memory database.

"They all fit together, they're all consumed in one place," said Mimi Spier, senior director of marketing for mobile analytics and cross portfolio strategy at SAP. "The three on-demand, in-the-cloud HANA mobile apps around EPM will be consumed in the same place as BPC 10.0, an on-premise app that you might already have installed, and now you want to push out to users, to be able to manage forecasts in real time."

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