SAP set to preach the HANA gospel to developers

New services and updates for the in-memory platform will be unveiled during this week's Tech Ed conference

SAP is unveiling a series of enhancements, services and deployment options for its HANA in-memory computing platform in hopes of enticing more partners and customers to begin building software products with the technology.

Some 1,000 startups are already using HANA to create applications, according to SAP executive board member Vishal Sikka, who heads all development, in an interview prior to this week's Tech Ed conference in Las Vegas.

That uptake was no doubt helped by a venture fund and heavy-duty marketing campaign SAP has used to court developers for HANA. But SAP is also increasing the number of tools and services for HANA-based programming efforts.

A seventh service pack for HANA, which will be announced at Tech Ed, includes a series of developer-friendly updates, including the ability of HANA to write to external data stores such as Oracle databases; Hadoop integration; and customizable text-analysis dictionaries.

On the systems administration front, the service pack includes improvements for high availability and disaster recovery as well as better patching and monitoring tools, according to SAP.

Customers and partners will also soon have more ways to deploy HANA, which has been sold in appliance form on hardware from a number of vendors.

An IaaS (infrastructure as a service) offering based on HANA is now in private beta, with general availability expected early next year, SAP said. Customers would port their HANA licenses to SAP's cloud and purchase instances ranging in size from 128GB to 1TB of RAM.

SAP is also increasing the maximum size of HANA One, which is available through Amazon Web Services, from 256GB to 1.2TB. Many SAP customers and partners asked for the increase, Sikka said.

He demurred when asked whether customers would have any specific advantages by choosing SAP's HANA IaaS versus HANA One. "The main point is the choice," Sikka said. "Obviously there are lots of customers that have their own clouds, but a lot of them want a freedom to do things on our cloud, and other public clouds."

There are now more than 2,200 HANA customers, according to Sikka. The database became generally available in 2011. SAP executives have called HANA the fastest-growing product in company history, with total revenue expected to top €1 billion (US$1.4 billion) soon.

SAP is hoping its customers that are now using rival databases such as Oracle's to run SAP applications will port their implementations to HANA. Tech Ed will give it an opportunity to sell the benefits of HANA to a developer-heavy audience that is already invested skills-wise in other technologies.

Meanwhile, during his keynote on Tuesday Sikka is also expected to discuss a new set of SAP design services, wherein designers will work alongside customers to create more compelling user interfaces and applications.

In addition, attendees will get an update on Fiori, a set of bite-sized mobile applications that tie into SAP flagship Business Suite ERP applications, which was announced in May. Another 150 Fiori applications will be released this year, according to Sikka.

Tech Ed continues through Thursday in Las Vegas.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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