SAP HANA for the Laptop

Introducing SAP HANA, express edition: how SAP makes every personal machine SAP HANA capable – for free.

The inspiration came directly from SAP HANA users, partners and customers. The result: Recently, SAP announced SAP HANA, express edition (in short HXE) for the first time.

HXE is a footprint optimized version of SAP HANA that runs on a personal machine, a small server, or a cloud provider of the customer’s choice. It includes a SAP HANA productive license for free for the first 32 GB of Memory – which is ideal for people wanting to use SAP HANA, either for learning, or developing an application. Furthermore, by registering for SAP HANA, express edition the user is provided development community support by SAP HANA experts and users.

It was a recurring request at almost every SAP conference. To turn this request into the best possible solution for our customers, “ONE team” was created end-to-end from HANA development, over Go-To-Market, Product Management and Marketing. From day one, this end-to-end team worked with students, startups, corporate developers and independent software vendors (ISVs). From within SAP P&I, the team was looking at ways to make the technology more accessible to new users with no SAP experience. Reducing the footprint makes the software easier to download, and easier to run on affordable infrastructure. Inspiration was also taken from how open source products gain massive adoption by providing free versions of software directly to their user communities. “Finally, digitization was a key concept for us – how could we enable an entirely digital business model for HANA, allowing users to access, download, use and pay for the software?” says Rudi Leibbrandt, HXE product manager.

Exponential benefits with SAP HANA

By removing the cost barrier, developers can easily try and evaluate SAP HANA for their next project. The HXE preview groups suggested that saving costs while investigating or exploring a product, beats having access to source code, which seemed to have a lower priority for users.  Considering the advice of our customers and partners, and relying on the insights of the preview groups, Rudi is confident that HXE will be successful: “Every application built on SAP HANA increases our footprint and mindshare, so, a successful and focused developer acquisition program will likely have exponential benefits.” As SAP HANA is still fairly new, compared to other technologies in the same category, a free version also helps with upskilling new professionals.

As with any new product, HXE had to face a couple of challenges. One of these challenges was ensuring that both the runnable footprint and the download footprint could minimize without sacrificing the user experience. This is, and will remain something to focus on as HXE improves in the future. The team had to design and devise an entirely new software delivery mechanism for HXE, including completing all of the internal approvals in an incredibly short amount of time. The worth of these efforts shows: Users are reporting that they can download SAP HANA completely in less than 10 minutes. HXE took off extremely well. In the first week, there were more than 4000 registrations to download the software – most of them external users.

Create awareness of SAP HANA, express edition

What’s next for HXE? SAP HANA, express edition has to improve credibility with the strong global development community. Within the SAP ecosystem, HANA is a known quantity, which helps create awareness of HXE. Outside of SAP, momentum like this needs to be build first. Technically, developer experience has to be improved continuously, to ensure that HXE is able to run on affordable infrastructure, and integrate with tools that developers already use. Developers have to learn and understand that in-memory is only part of the story with SAP HANA. Commercially, we need to provide a cost effective way for smaller development organizations, start-ups and ISVs to license HANA. It has to become simpler for a developer to build an application on SAP HANA, and sell this into their install base, and the SAP install base. Put simply: Developing applications on SAP HANA has to become even simpler and with SAP HANA, express edition we took a big step in the right direction.

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