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SAP claims speeds record with HANA Business Suite revolution

Co-founder smiles at Ellison's discomfort

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SAP has announced a new version of its Business Suite that offers blindingly fast database reporting via HANA with the goal of three-second response times to transactional queries.

"It's much better analytics, between ten and ten thousand times faster. I'm not bragging here that we achieved up to 250,000 times faster because nobody believes us and the press call it hype," said SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner at a press conference in Palo Alto, California.

The company is reinventing itself around SAP HANA he said, and all existing and future applications will run on it. Existing customers using other databases will not be at a disadvantage he claimed, because the "power of SQL" would ensure full compatibility, along with SAP engineers to smooth out any wrinkles.

Fundamental to the increase in speed was shifting OLTP and OLTP-reporting back into one place. Data warehouses should not be used for reporting he argued, their function is to aggregate data. Reporting has to be part of the transactional system itself to bring speeds up to human speeds he argued.

With the new Business Suite, load times have been cut by a factor of 20 and batch programming eliminated completely, he explained, and mathematical functions have been slimmed down in the quest for faster updates, with a goal of making three second response times the norm.

"This potential of being able to do everything just-in-time is at the heart of what is possible with the power of HANA," said Vishal Sikka, SAP executive board member of technology and innovation.

"This is enabling us at SAP, but also our entire partner ecosystem, to rethink everything to rethink businesses and have them conducted in real-time, in the moment of time."

If this was a Larry Ellison presentation about an Oracle product, there would be lots of chest-beating about how this would bury the competition, but SAP said it would ensure full compatibility with DB2, Oracle, SQL Server, and SAP-ASP. The company has over 45,000 customers using other databases and SAP will ensure there are not problems with Business Suite, Platter said.

That said, it wasn't all smiles and sunshine from the German. When asked how he felt about recent comments by Ellison publicly disparaging HANA's performance, Plattner said he preferred to talk about technology, but then deftly put the boot in.

"I have to admit, I enjoy that he is not smiling and I know there's a weekly meeting that has the word HANA in it," he said. "Put yourself in the shoes of the CEO of Oracle. What would you do when you see this freight train of HANA coming? You have to do something."

The goal going forward was to take these fast response times and transfer them to the mobile arena. Mobile devices aren't for inputting data he said, but they are increasingly going to be the way people access and use it, and SAP's use of HANA would make that possible and ensure the company's future for the next 10 to 15 years.

Even though the company is playing nice, it is clear SAP intends to encourage as many customers as possible to pile into HANA systems. Rob Enslin, president of global customer operations, said that he could have a engineering team show if a particular database would see much improvement from HANA and have a result in 24 hours.

Within the next ten days there will be a channel announcement from SAP to go over plans for selling the system and training up partners but in preparation over thousand SAP staff and 1,000 key partners have been trained up in the technology. SQL is still underlying the whole process and he said he anticipated a short learning curve.

Big iron vendors are already keen on HANA systems, with IBM and Hewlett-Packard recently updating their ranges, and the latter firm announced today that it is opening a new Center of Excellence devoted to in-memory processing and SAP HANA systems.

"To succeed, organizations need to make fast, informed decisions by extracting large amounts of raw data from their systems to turn it into information that is meaningful," said Bill Veghte, HP's COO in a statement.

"The HP Center of Excellence delivers the depth of expertise and services to help organizations drive high-performance data analysis, handling huge volumes of data in real time for instant business insight." ®

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