SAP puts its HANA in-memory database in the spotlight

The company announced a slew of HANA-related products and initiatives at the Sapphire conference

By , IDG News Service |  Software

Finally, SAP announced the availability of HANA developer instances on Amazon Web Services IaaS (infrastructure as a service) platform, which is a crucial step in helping generate interest among the programming community's grassroots.

HANA takes about a 20 percent performance hit on AWS because the service's virtualization layer inhibits HANA from interacting closely with the CPUs, as it does with traditional appliances, according to Sikka.

Customers can expect HANA to show up on other cloud infrastructure platforms over time, according to Sikka.

HANA emerged as a commercial product last year after a long gestation in SAP's labs, with the DNA of previously released technologies. Available in appliance form from a variety of hardware vendors, HANA places data into RAM for processing, instead of reading it continuously off a disk or other storage medium, providing a performance boost that SAP has claimed is nothing short of remarkable. Actions performed in RAM are committed to physical storage on an ongoing basis to ensure database recovery in the event of a hardware failure.

SAP first held up HANA as a way to highly accelerate the speed of analytical processing jobs but has since also pivoted it toward the transactional workloads of the ERP (enterprise resource planning) software the company is best known for, with an eye on eventually stealing the supporting roles now commonly held by Oracle's database and IBM's DB2 in its customers' IT landscapes.

More engineering work remains to be done before HANA is ready to handle SAP's flagship Business Suite, although the company claims early support will be ready this year. In the meantime, SAP's Sybase division is positioning the Adaptive Server Enterprise database as a potential Oracle replacement now, with HANA coming later.

HANA delivered €160 million in software license revenue for SAP in its first six months of availability, a sum both the company and market observers have deemed significant given the product's newness. This year has seen SAP leadership grow increasingly sensitive to any suggestion that HANA isn't yet to be taken seriously as a viable database platform, particularly by rival Oracle. That vendor sells the Exadata and Exalytics appliances, which are HANA competitors.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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