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Charting Your Course 2015: John Appleby Breaks Down the Year in SAP HANA

by John Appleby

January 5, 2015

John Appleby, CEO of Bluefin Solutions, joins SAPinsider to discuss the year in SAP HANA, with a focus on new functionality in SAP HANA SPS 09. Topics of this discussion include:

  • Real-time event stream processing
  • Multi-tenancy and dynamic tiering
  • Isolation of SAP HANA XS Engine from in-memory layer
  • Predictions on what to expect in SAP HANA SPS 10 and SAP HANA SPS 11

Listen to the podcast, and read the transcript of the conversation here:

Ken Murphy, SAPinsider: Hi, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider, and I am pleased to be joined by John Appleby, Global Head of SAP HANA at Bluefin Solutions. John has joined us today to provide his insights and thoughts on SAP HANA — kind of a year-end retrospective — as well as shed some light on what to expect next year in 2015. Thanks for joining us, John, and welcome to the podcast.

John Appleby, Bluefin Solutions: Thanks, Ken. Thanks so much for inviting me. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Ken: So as you know one of the big SAP HANA topics is the recent introduction of Support Pack 9 (SPS 09), which is, as I understand it supports multi-tenancy. Can you provide us with kind of the laymen explanation of what SPS09 is and highlight some of the new enhancements?

John: Absolutely. One thing to say first is with 2014 came both SPS 08 and SPS 09. SPS 09 was significant in its own right because it really brought kind of enterprise-grade mission critical apps, and it was a real stabilization release and that made a huge difference in customer deployments. SPS 09 is just as significant but in a different way because they wanted to call SPS 09 “HANA 2.0.” It’s a huge and significant release and brings just an enormous amount of new functionality. Multi-tenancy is a big thing because that’s a real cost-reducer, which is big for customers, and that’s bearing in mind that Oracle 12c multi-tenancy still isn’t supported for SAP apps so that’s significant, but just as significant is the new functionality. So the Event Stream Processor has made its way in-memory, which is absolutely huge. The ETL platform — data services — that’s been embedded into the in-memory appliance, so you can now do in-memory ETL. The other big thing is workload management has made its way in and the time-series data — it just doesn’t end. It’s as much functionality as you can imagine in one release.

Ken: So, pretty comprehensive then.  You mentioned the big benefit of multi-tenancy, of course, cost reduction, but from a customer standpoint you can maybe encapsulate why this is important?

John: Yeah, I think if you look at what the SAP install-base customer, which is the people listening to this podcast, are thinking. They’re thinking about how do they deploy this in reality, and I think the reality is that the TCO is lower. And there was another piece of functionality I forgot, which is dynamic tiering, which is this ability to have data temperature, so you have your hot in HANA, you have a mid-tier, and you have a cold tier in IQ. And that combined with the multi-tenancy just creates this fascinating cost reduction for in-memory appliances. We’re estimating that it’s going to be half the price for an implementation perspective in 2015, and that just makes it so much easier for customers to adopt.

Ken:  ’m curious as far as motivation for SAP behind this release. Is a factor involved with this release to sort of pave the way for customers to move HANA instances to the cloud?

John: The multi-tenancy moves towards that. I don’t think that that’s a fit for the big customers. Some of them are going there, but it’s quite difficult to move ERP systems into the cloud. It’s very easy to build a new line of business app: a CRM or an HCM app in the cloud, but moving their core is a multi-year plan for customers. Firmly I think with SPS 08, 09, and next year, 10 and 11, all of those will continue to pave the way for the long-term cloud adoption.

Ken: And then for SPS09, are there any important changes to highlight from a platform perspective?

John: I think to some degree. The fascinating thing from a platform perspective, and it more paves the way for what’s coming, what we believe is coming in 10 and 11, is the HANA XS Engine has been kind of isolated if you like in a containerized way.  And XS engine is HANA’s Web services and Web server platform. And that’s been isolated from the in-memory layer, whereas previously it was kind of semi-integrated. That paves the way for containerization of other apps or other platforms like Docker or Node.js to be integrated into the XS runtime. We think from a platform perspective that’s one of the most significant things. The other significant platform thing is that the Web and desktop-based IDEs are really converging functionality, which from a cloud platform perspective is very significant.

Ken: I’m also wondering what the reception’s been like to this new release, or is it too early? Are customers still talking about SPS 08? And do you foresee SPS 09 maybe changing the perception about HANA and moving the needle a little bit on adoption?

John: Yeah, I mean you’ve got to bear in mind if you’ve got a project going live right now, you’re not going to be switching to a new release. SPS 08 is super, super stable, and SPS 09 comes with a lot of new functionality. So the projects that we’re planning right now and we’re starting development on, we’re starting in SPS 09. The projects which are inflight, we’re not switching to SPS 09 this time. That’s pretty typical with a new major release of technology, right? And there’s no real surprise there. So SPS 09 will move the needle, because it will change the kinds of projects people are doing, but really we’ll see that in 2015, not a month after release.

Ken: Now you also mentioned SPS 10 and SPS 11. That’s for next year?

John: Absolutely. If you’re planning an enterprise software deployment, right, you need to be thinking about what’s coming in the roadmap and how that affects your deployment, so we’re always thinking about what’s coming in six months because that version is there, really, before you know it.

Ken: And so what changes can we expect for SPS10 and SPS 11?

John: Well I joke because I write my predictions and SAP can write their roadmap then, but that’s a pretty facetious statement. My guess is for SPS 10 and SPS 11: large-scale HANA systems. So 16, 32 sockets; 12, 24 Terabytes on a single instance is one. Real workload consolidation is another. I already spoke to the containerization of HANA XS. I think we’ll see Docker and Node.js runtimes. I think there’s going to be a big re-focus on the database platform. HANA development — they kind of sacrificed core database development in order to make the Business Suite really synch. I think they’re going to come back to that this year and really focus on the programming languages inside the database so they can appeal to a wider development community. And the other thing I think we’ll see is integration of the BI suite. So we saw this stream processor in the ETL. I think that we’ll see the BI suite or a variant of that push into the HANA database. My last one is I think that we’ll see the end of the row stores, so we’re going to see a single converged data model for both row and column objects, which is transparent to the user. Just a couple little things.

Ken: So a year from now are we going to be talking about SAP HANA 2.0?

John: I hope there isn’t a 2.0 because the whole purpose of HANA was this concept of timeless software. So with a few restrictions you can upgrade from any release to any release at any time with a single command and 5, 10, 15 minutes of downtime. That’s really significant from an application development perspective because you just reduce all these complexities around upgrades. So I hope they don’t call it “2.0” because that would take away this whole purpose of timeless software. What we will be talking about is SPS 10 and 11 and how that new functionality has really — you know I think we’re just going to see a big rise in adoption next year. We’re going to see the big suites moving on HANA, it’s just going to go crazy, I think.

Ken: Again, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider, and we’ve been chatting with John Appleby, the Global Head of SAP HANA at Bluefin Solutions. John, thanks for joining us today to provide your insights.

John: Thank you so much, Ken.

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