SAP unveils HANA-powered cloud development platform

One component, NetWeaver Cloud, is now generally available

By , IDG News Service |  Cloud Computing, in-memory database, SAP

SAP laid out broad details of a new cloud-based application development platform powered by the HANA in-memory database during the Tech Ed conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

One component of the strategy, NetWeaver Cloud, is generally available now, SAP said. The Java-based service provides tools for developing extensions to existing applications or entirely new ones.

Unlimited-use developer licenses for NetWeaver Cloud are available now at no charge.

NetWeaver Cloud provides native integration to SAP and other on-premises applications, identity management and single sign-on for access across cloud and on-premises applications, according to SAP.

SAP also announced the availability of HANA on Amazon Web Services, albeit with some limitations.

Other aspects of SAP's HANA Cloud strategy include a database service layer powered by HANA.

Overall, SAP is looking to compete with the likes of Salesforce.com's Force.com and Heroku platforms, hoping to keep SAP customers interested in cloud-based development within its technological family.

The overarching foundation for SAP's cloud efforts is HANA, executive board member and technology chief Vishal Sikka said in a session with press and analysts. " We believe the future is a RAM-optimized cloud," he said. "Every successful technology ever seeks to connect us in real time."

Over time, customers will be able to run SAP's HANA cloud stack inside their own data centers as a private cloud, Sikka said in an interview.

During a keynote earlier Tuesday, Sikka also sought to highlight HANA's momentum in the marketplace since its general-availability launch last year.

Some 100 startups are now involved in a HANA-related development program, and there are 603 HANA customers, Sikka said. Some 18 of those customers are members of SAP's "10,000 club," he added. "It is where the customer achieves a performance improvement ... by a factor of 10,000."

In addition, Sikka responded to recent criticisms of HANA by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who characterized the platform as lacking in scalability, among other things. SAP is hoping to displace Oracle databases with HANA over time, as well as compete with Oracle's Exadata database machines.

SAP is now beginning work with Intel on a 10-petabyte HANA farm, and recently performed a benchmark on 1.2 trillion records' worth of retail data with a 1-petabyte HANA system, Sikka said.

Simple queries on the data set, such as a monthly report, take less than a second, and more complex queries only take a few seconds, according to Sikka.

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