Early on the final day of SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, Hasso Plattner stood before the stage where the keynote speech was about to start. A crowd of people at least ten deep surrounded the SAP co-founder, and while he shook hands with some, others snapped photos with their cell phones. It was obvious: the star of the conference had arrived.
So later, when Vishal Sikka, SAP Executive Board Member, Technology and Innovation, joked, “The ‘H’ in HANA stands for Hasso,” for a second, it actually seemed plausible.
In what is quickly becoming a SAPPHIRE NOW institution (Plattner first described what would become SAP HANA in Orlando in 2009), the final keynote from Sikka and Plattner was two-and-a-half hours of pure SAP HANA talk. Sikka outlined the achievements that have been made in the past year and showcased over 10 businesses that have already put SAP HANA to use. Next on the horizon, he said, is SAP HANA in the cloud. Plattner showed off the hardware that supports SAP HANA and answered customer questions.
Below: SAP HANA in the Cloud – demo
On the following pages you’ll find more exclusive SAP.info videos in high-def and our coverage of SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando:
1. “HANA is at the heart of what we do”
2. Software that improves hardware performance
3. Introducing SAP HANA AppCloud
4. HD Videos – Hasso introduces HANA products and iPad demo
5. Mobility by the People, for the People: Day Two
6. Not Your Grandfather’s SAPPHIRE: Day One
7. Calm Before the Storm: Day Zero
“HANA is at the heart of what we do”
Last year at SAPPHIRE NOW, Sikka and Plattner discussed three innovations in their keynote – in memory, cloud, and mobility – and the goal of bringing these innovations to companies without disrupting the existing landscape. The NetWeaver 7.3 release, BusinessObjects 4.0 release, and Sybase acquisition delivered innnovations in those areas.
So why concentrate on HANA this year? “Because it’s at the heart of everything we do,” said Sikka. The future of SAP will be built on this product. The idea of timeless software – software that can be seamlessly updated without having to ship disruptive upgrades and new releases – is embedded directly in HANA. “We do not want to ship releases with HANA,” said Plattner. “New functionality will come to HANA on the fly.”
At the moment, SAP HANA is still in ramp up; it will be generally available at the end of June 2011. Sikka showed customer testimonials from companies that participated in the ramp up to convey just how revolutionary the in-memory capability is.
Colgate Palmolive tested SAP HANA in the area of profitability and cost management. Some of their processes which once took 77 minutes came back in 13 seconds. Sales representatives were able to run reports 100 times faster than before, and now with massive amounts of data. SAP HANA enabled Caterpillar to analyze data in the engine business. In the past, that data simply was not analyzed because it was too complex. Real-time analysis, massive amounts of data – the customers love it
Below: Vishal Sikka’s Keynote Part One
Software that improves hardware performance
“In this industry, there is a trend to consolidate layers – by buying companies,” said Sikka. But you won’t see SAP acquiring any hardware companies. “We believe in a different approach – partnership. We would not have HANA without the support of Intel,” said Sikka.
SAP HANA runs on the x86 line of Intel processors. Kirk Skaugen, of the Data Center Group at Intel, talked about the benefits of collaboration. “Today, we’re 37 percent faster than the technology from just last year,” said Skaugen.
Released in May 2011, the latest Intel processor now has 10 cores instead of 8. How is it that the cores increased by 25 percent, but the performance increased by 37 percent? That’s the software explained Sikka. That’s HANA.
Intel is just one example of SAP’s focus on an open ecosystem. The software company is leaving the hardware to the experts. Five vendors are currently delivering SAP HANA on their servers: HP, DELL, IBM, Fujitsu, and Cisco. And the data does not necessarily have to come from SAP either. SAP HANA will even run on top of an Oracle system. Cisco alone has 700 million rows of data, mostly coming from non-SAP operational systems.
SAP HANA is transforming everything from infrastructure to platform to applications. And the next step, according to Sikka, is putting those applications in the cloud.
Below: Vishal Sikka’s Keynote Part Two
Introducing SAP HANA App Cloud
“The world of clouds is rapidly moving towards in-memory clouds,” said Sikka. And the first partner to work on bringing the benefits of SAP HANA to the cloud is the company Medidata Systems.
Over one third of the data that flows from patients to life sciences companies passes through Medidata Systems. The company processes terabytes of data. In order for their customers, life sciences companies, to make use of this information, they need to be able to “slice it and dice it” in real time. The app allows these companies to see different levels of alerts and gives them a list of specific institutions or hospitals where the alert level is high.
Hilti, which manufactures products for the construction industry, gave a demo of the HANA app they use to generate reports on missed sales. When a customer selects a product to purchase on the Hilti web site, the system automatically checks if the requested product and quantity is in stock. If not, the customer has the option to “check alternatives” – similar products are suggested with the available quantities displayed in real-time. The display updates continuously as other customers complete their orders. This requires a combination of information from production and supply and real-time analytics.
Other partners will also build HANA apps to run in the cloud, specifically in these areas:
- Buiness Intelligence on demand
- Carbon Impact
- Sales and Operations Planning
- Smart Meter Analytics
Hasso Plattner introduces HANA products
Plattner took the stage to answer customer questions on HANA with the help of some props: Apple’s Mac mini – the smallest server that runs HANA – and Dell’s Blade server with 80 cores and 2 TB of RAM. The scalability of HANA really hit home when Plattner delivered the facts on data compression all while holding the Mac mini in one hand. Five SAP Business One customers in China are currently running SAP HANA on the Apple machine.
So while there’s still no word on the cost of the SAP HANA appliance, the cost of hardware is relatively cheap for the performance capability. For example, the Mac mini starts at $699 as advertised on the Apple web site. This low total cost of ownership is due to the data compression that SAP HANA makes possible. “We compress non-SAP data at a factor of 10,” said Plattner. “And we compress SAP data at a factor of 50 for financials and 20 for manufacturing.”