SAP announces in-memory application roadmap

March 12th, 2011 | by Aaron Tan

German enterprise software giant SAP plans to introduce a new slew of enterprise applications designed to help companies speed up decision-making.

According to SAP, these applications will let businesses explore and analyze all of their transactional data in real-time using in-memory technology dubbed High-Performance Analytic Appliance (Hana). The technology allows data to be processed faster in a system’s RAM rather than storage devices, thus lowering database usage and reliance on disks.

SAP explained in a media statement Wednesday that business planning previously required enterprises to aggregate data from different systems, or was done with spreadsheets containing static data. In future, companies will be able to develop and execute business plans based on dynamic data such as shipment volumes.

“With in-memory computing technology at the core, SAP is on its way to a new foundation for real-time business that brings together its innovations in virtualization and cloud management, open integration as well as on-demand and mobile platform technologies,” said Vishal Sikka, SAP’s executive board member, for technology and innovation platform.

“We predict a future that will change the way people work and think by providing customers with amazing new applications that open new areas of business value without adding complexity to their existing landscapes,” he added.

By this year, SAP will release in-memory applications such as Sales and Operations Planning, Intelligent Payment Broker, Smart Meter Analytics, Trade Promotion Management and Cash and Liquidity Management.

Industry watchers noted that the new applications, also available as cloud-based software through SAP partners, will lower database administration costs especially if it’s an Oracle or IBM database.

“This isn’t just good for SAP’s customers, it’s also pretty bad for its competitors especially Oracle, which has bet its business on a stack strategy that SAP is trying to disintermediate with products like Hana,” said Joshua Greenbaum, principal analyst at Enterprise Applications Consulting in a blog post.

“In addition to the possibility that Hana will replace Oracle in the BW (business information warehouse) market, the fact that it can run on standard, multiprocessor, multicore systems means that the hardware costs for Hana aren’t just cheap, they are decreasingly rapidly as the market for commodity RAM and Intel’s multicore processors just gets better,” he added.

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