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SAPPHIRE NOW Day 3 Keynote Does a DEEP Dive on HANA

by Dave Hannon

May 18, 2011

By Dave Hannon


The Day 3 Keynote Presentation at SAPPHIRE NOW was an SAP geek’s dream. It was a dual keynote with both Vishal Sikka, member of the SAP Executive Board, Technology and Innovation, and co-founder Hasso Plattner, chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP, spending more than two and a half hours talking about HANA and in-memory computing. If you had a question about HANA or in-memory computing, it was answered here.

Sikka started by reviewing what he and Plattner talked about at SAPPHIRE NOW last year with regards to HANA, emphasizing that much of it is now reality. “HANA was conceived in March 2010 and was delivered on November 30. The experience since then has been phenomenal,” said Sikka.

But Sikka spent most of his time on stage showing customer testimonials about how they’re using HANA and their reactions. And there were some pretty powerful results from a variety of different industries and functions.

  • Colgate Palmolive is able to run sales reports 300 times faster.
  • Bosch is using HANA to analyze profitability data in its 1.5 petabyte system.
  • Russian oil and gas producer Surgutneftegaz is using HANA to get data from its production systems and has actually reduced the load on its production system.
  • Nestle saw a 200x improvement in reporting times.
  • The Nomura Research Institute in Japan is using HANA to analyze traffic data from more than 12,000 taxi cabs, searching more than 360 million data records in seconds.
  • Clinical trials software firm Medidata Solutions sees HANA as a “tremendous opportunity to put analytics on our data, because doing it real time is difficult. So HANA lets us move computational tasks from 50 minutes to seconds.”
  • A representative from BASF said its first experiences with HANA were “extremely encouraging and we want to encourage SAP to rollout HANA as quickly as possible.”

And HANA’s going to get faster. Sikka pointed out that Intel will release a new 10-core processor this month which will give HANA a 37% improvement in performance (HANA runs only on Intel). And that kind of speed can benefit just about any SAP application.

“HANA is the product to rethink the world of applications,” Sikka said. “We’re both renewing traditional applications and thinking about new applications that were not possible before. We believe an entire architectural simplification is possible on the back of HANA from new apps to exiting ones.”

Before he left the stage, Sikka announced the pre-beta release of HANA in the cloud, saying there are “lots of applications to be delivered off the HANA cloud.”

And then it was Plattner’s turn on the keynote stage. He joked that Sikka had cut into his time, saying he’d speak in “HANA-time” to make up for it (there’s something really funny about seeing a software visionary like Hasso Plattner talking gibberish on stage).

“HANA is global from day one, and we have big names but also customers from all over the world,” Plattner said about the customer testimonials Sikka presented. “HANA SAP can solve the big data problems that we couldn’t before.”

He quickly moved onto a Q&A style presentation where videos of customers asking questions about HANA were played and Plattner responded to them (it was a bit rehearsed, but a more engaging format than the usual slide deck).

When asked what business needs HANA addressed, Plattner said HANA lets users, “Get insights in real-time and you’re not restricted by preaggregated data, you can rollup data on the fly in-memory and empower users. And you will get a different feeling with HANA. We did not produce more complexity but simplified things with HANA.”

Plattner also pointed out that there will be no versions or upgrades with HANA. “Don’t wait for the 1.5 release because it’s not coming,” he said. “All the functionality will be available with the first release. We won’t ship new releases or versions.”

The applications that will benefit from HANA most, he said, will be the planning applications such as SAP APO, because they leverage changing data, whereas transactional system data tends to be more stagnant. So, with that as a goal, he said SAP hopes to have all of its planning applications redesigned to include HANA by TechEd in the fall.

“With better headlights you can drive better,” he said.

Plattner took his usual straightforward attitude in his presentation, saying at one point that HANA, “also runs fine on Oracle. Come on, the data in the systems is not that much different.”

Personally, my favorite moment came when Plattner looked down at SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott and said “Is anyone signing a contract yet Bill? We have to reel them in.”

And I also like that he closed with an optimistic message: “Everything is possible with HANA and even we don’t know the limitations” as Sting’s Brand New Day came on the house PA system.

Editor’s note: My astute colleague Davin Wilfred has a good review of the HANA story from SAPPHIRE NOW here.

See also:

SAPPHIRE NOW Day 2 Keynote Keeps Things Up-Tempo

SAPPHIRE NOW Already Has People Talking

Epic Keynote Kicks Off SAPPHIRE NOW

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