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SAP SQL Anywhere upgrade hits IoT, mobility, data security

Version 17 of SAP SQL Anywhere is a major update that encompasses everything from improved availability to secure data synchronization.

SAP released SAP SQL Anywhere version 17, a major update to the enterprise-scale, embeddable database technology. This version allows Internet of Things (IoT) and data-intensive mobile apps to use SQL Anywhere's data synchronization capabilities with SAP HANA to move data securely between the enterprise and remote locations that exist on the edges or outside the network.

Coming on the heels of HANA Support Package Stack 10 (SPS10), this latest version of SQL Anywhere is geared to organizations that want to extend database technology outside the traditional data center, according to Mike Paola, senior director of product marketing at SAP.

"Our typical uses cases are outside the traditional data center, where you don't necessarily have that luxury of an on-site database administrator or IT staff," Paola said. "Customers are looking for applications that need the security, integrity and performance of those typical enterprise database applications, but they often need to run them unattended at remote and mobile sites."  These are typically field offices, retail stores, restaurants or branch offices that use IoT systems and data-intensive mobile apps.

Highlighting a trio of new features in SAP SQL Anywhere

SQL Anywhere version 17 has hundreds of enhancements, Paola said, but there are three key areas to focus on: performance on a variety of IoT platforms, data availability and secure data synchronization with cloud and on-premises systems.

It supports more IoT gateways, can detect changes in the deployment environment and then analyze the data when it syncs with the enterprise system. Paola said an example of this is a customer that performs facilities management for hospitals and stadiums.

"They have sensor-based devices within their washing facilities, and these collect all sorts of information on the soap levels, disinfectant and towel dispensers," he said. The data is collected from the devices, stored on SQL Anywhere databases, synchronized with HANA and analyzed. Using this data, the customer can predict which facilities need servicing, he said.

The update also includes a new database administrator screen that helps to monitor IoT applications and diagnose issues, as well as support for more programming languages -- including JavaScript -- that can be run in stored procedures and functions.

SQL Anywhere could lessen maintenance downtime

For data availability, SQL Anywhere reduces downtime for maintenance and upgrades with features that include online rebuild, dynamic start and stop of connection protocols and point-in-time recovery, Paola said. "If you need to do something like rebuilding a database, you can do that while it's running," he explained. "You can also make changes to your stored procedures while the database is in use. And, if you have different connection listeners like HTTP or TCP/IP, and you want to change things and start up a secure HTTP connection, you can now dynamically start and stop those listeners without having to bring down the database."

With secure synchronization and integration with HANA SPS10, "we want to make sure that we provide true, end-to-end strong encryption on the communications stream -- not only when the data is stored on the device, but also as it's in flight to the back-end system," he said. "We've done some tighter integration with the HANA platform -- SQL Anywhere mobile link technology is what drives the remote data sync capability that was announced for HANA SPS10."

SQL Anywhere version 17 is available for download now from the SAP Store. The company did not release pricing details, but said that there is no significant change from previous versions.

SAP Activate billed as quick deployment tool for S/4HANA

SAP also recently introduced Activate, a new tool intended to help customers deploy and get results from Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (S/4HANA) more quickly. Activate also enables partners to extend the ready-to-run business processes shipped by SAP, and design and update their own custom best practices, according to the vendor.

"S/4 HANA is the key to digitize your business and drive innovation," Michael Kleinemeier, a member of the SAP global managing board, said in a press release.

Activate offers ready-to-run digitized processes that have been optimized for S/4HANA. It starts with the SAP best practices packages for S/4HANA and uses one methodology for all deployment modes -- cloud, on-premises or hybrid -- according to the press release.

SAP said the best practices provide ready-to-run financial and operational processes that are integrated with SAP's other cloud platforms, such as SuccessFactors Employee Central or Ariba Network. They guide users through the S/4HANA migration process, whether from a non-SAP database or a legacy system. Guided configuration provides assisted implementation, supporting SAP customers and partners from setup through continuous innovation after go-live. The collaboration process is recorded, supplying a configuration history that can be tapped later.

The Activate methodology is the successor to the SAP ASAP and Launch methodologies, and caters to SAP's premium support plans, MaxAttention and ActiveEmbedded.

Activate is embedded in S/4HANA and requires no additional licenses, SAP said.

Next Steps

Understand SAP data warehouse options

Read a book chapter on how HANA stores data

See user reaction to S/4HANA

Learn how SAP Anywhere helps businesses run in the cloud

Dig Deeper on SAP SQL Anywhere