SAP lays out plans to become big player in databases, mobile

The HANA in-memory platform will be bolstered by Sybase's array of database technologies

By , IDG News Service |  Software

The Sybase SQL Anywhere mobile and embedded database will serve as a "front-end" data store in the HANA platform, the company added. Sybase's PowerDesigner modeling toolset is to play a key role as well, SAP said.

SAP also intends to build integration between HANA and data sources including Hadoop, the popular open-source processing framework.

Overall, SAP faces a challenge in migrating customers to its database portfolio, given the changes cloud computing has brought to the IT industry, analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research, wrote in a new report on HANA.

"In cloud computing models, users don't care, nor ask what database the applications run on," Wang wrote. "They buy [service level agreements] that must be met by the software publisher. Will users care that a new database is in use? This will be SAP's short-term challenge."

SAP has said that several core modules of the Business Suite will be ported to HANA by the end of the year. Work on that project is "going extremely well," Sikka said during the press conference.

But in reality, HANA won't be a fully viable replacement for the likes of Oracle "until at least 2015" due to needed technical features that have yet to be added, according to Wang. Those areas include "beefed-up backup and recovery service," auditing, SQL injection protection, compliance monitoring and identity management, he wrote.

While the development work could be complete in late 2014, "given SAP's track record for delivery and customers' track record for adopting new technologies, significant user adoption post-general availability (GA) could take until 2015," he said.

Existing customers are also "heavily vested in their database of choice," Wang said. "Business Suite customers will most likely be the targets for SAP HANA. However, among the estimated 18,500 SAP Business Suite customers, the lack of HANA-ready administrators and consultants, plus the inertia required to overcome database choice, will play a key role in slow adoption."

SAP is also planning to support the latest version of the Business Suite under standard maintenance fees until 2020, which lowers the pressure on customers to make database changes, Wang said.

Meanwhile, the Sybase acquisition also gave SAP an array of mobile application and device management technologies, including the Unwired platform.

In a related announcement on Tuesday, SAP said it planned to buy mobile application development vendor Syclo. Terms were not disclosed. The deal will give SAP Syclo's background and expertise in mobile applications for utilities, manufacturing and other industries, SAP said in a statement.

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