SAP itself is hoping to convince customers now running Oracle databases to migrate those workloads to HANA, which presents an interesting competitive situation.
HANA is still a relatively new product, but at the same time, most Oracle customers tend to wait until the second version of a major database release before upgrading, preferring to let the bravest early adopters work through any remaining bugs and kinks.
But Oracle is betting big on 12c, which includes features for multitenancy, a key architectural concept in cloud computing. It recently struck a deal with Salesforce.com that will see the cloud provider commit to Oracle technologies, including 12c, for the long term.
That endorsement, along with 12c's new features, could help Oracle keep some database customers considering HANA in the fold.
Overall, it will be telling to hear whether, and in what manner, SAP executives respond to 12c's launch on Thursday's conference call.
Economic insights: As with any major technology stock, SAP's second-quarter results will provide a window into the buying moods of customers around the world.
In the first quarter, SAP's Asia-Pacific-Japan business segment experienced a decline in software and cloud subscription revenue. Observers will be keen to see whether performance there rebounds, as well as give close scrutiny to results from Europe, where the economic mood remains especially jittery.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com