SAP TechEd 2010 in Berlin is featuring a flurry of product announcements. Release 7.3 of NetWeaver will ship in 2011, and BusinessObjects 4.0 – the successor to BusinessObjects XI – will follow in spring 2011. Cloud-based products, such as Business ByDesign, Carbon Impact OnDemand, and StreamWork, are also set to make a big impact.
In his keynote, SAP Chief Technology Officer Vishal Sikka focused on mobile software applications and databases that are loaded in full into the main memory of a system for processing. Vishal also shed light on the upcoming developments in enterprise software and SAP’s strategy for in-memory computing, the cloud, and mobility.
Topics of the TechEd:
- NetWeaver 7.3 & BusinessObjects BI 4.0
- In-Memory & 50 TB Data-Analisys
- Cloud-Software & Mobile Applications
- Gateway Service Consumption Tool: 2 Minutes for creating an App
The foundation of SAP
According to Vishal, “SAP NetWeaver is the foundation of everything we do.” Introduced in 2002, SAP NetWeaver will remain the technology platform for the SAP world for years to come. SAP will continuously enhance and improve the platform. Björn Görke, senior vice president, Technology & Innovation Platform Core, called on customers to take part in the ramp-up of the latest release: “NetWeaver 7.3 will be out this year. We’ve done a great job, now it’s your turn.”
Customers can also look forward to a host of innovations with SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 in 2011, in particular extended functionality for business intelligence (BI) and enterprise information management. SAP is also updating the name of its BusinessObjects portfolio to reflect the overall revamp.
“Evolving the existing landscape is not enough,” Vishal emphasized. SAP will therefore continue to invest in promising innovations, including key areas such as in-memory computing and mobile devices. The only way to enable high-speed analysis of vast quantities of data is to use modern hardware together with specially adapted software – especially now that users expect to access analytics applications anywhere and anytime on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs.
Using in-memory computing, the content of databases is no longer read from hard drives, but is stored directly in the main memory. This increases the access rates by a multiple of nearly 20, greatly reducing the total cost of ownership for the system.
Highlighting in-memory technology
Vishal punctuated his keynote with the example of a packaging manufacturer whose real data was fed into an in-memory system. To store the data – some 460 billion records – on conventional hard drive media would have required 50 TB. By compressing the data and switching to in-memory technology, the company reduced the data to a tenth of its previous volume. The data then easily fit onto two linked blade servers, each with 2 TB of main memory. Vishal then went into detail with an example of a landscape consisting of 10 servers linked together, all equipped with standard hardware.
Note: Blade servers currently have a maximum of 2 TB of main memory and 64 CPU cores. In traditional relational databases, data is stored in tables or fields. With in-memory technology, data is stored in columns. The advantage is that fields that are not needed for a particular query are not used. Therefore, the volume of data that has to be updated is greatly reduced and queries can be processed much faster.
SAP High-performance Analytic Appliance (SAP HANA) is software that will be delivered on optimized hardware from leading hardware vendors and will greatly accelerate existing solutions by using in-memory technology. It is set for release for Business Suite 7, Business Warehouse, and BusinessObjects 4.0 on November 30, 2010. Full details were not yet available at TechEd. SAP HANA should also be heading to the Apple iPad in the near future. “In-memory harnesses the power of new hardware,” Vishal concluded.
In a similar vein, SAP’s “Gateway” project is working on a development platform that will be provide an interface for mobile SAP applications. Gateway also enables specific functions of apps to be displayed for iPad, iPhone, and BlackBerry devices. Demos at TechEd included how contact information can be migrated to an iPad app in just two minutes.