Eyeing Expansion, SAP Pushes HANA to the Cloud

By George Leopold

SAP continues to push its flagship HANA in-memory database platform higher into the cloud with a range of new analytics, cloud storage, AI and robotic process automation features aimed down-market beyond big companies and “complex scenarios.”

As SAP (NYSE: SAP) points HANA toward a mass market, “We want to see all industries in the cloud, [and] the public cloud is the way to go,” Hasso Plattner, SAP’s co-founder and board chairman, emphasized during an annual company event this week.

To that end, SAP is expanding its collaboration with public cloud vendors Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Google Cloud (NASDAQ: GOOGL) on traditional business process as well as Internet of Things initiatives.

At the top of its new stack, SAP HANA cloud services act as a gateway for analytical and transactional data, the latter being SAP’s current bread and butter. The cloud initiative also takes in structured and unstructured data stored in datacenters or the cloud. The idea is to make more cloud-based data available to humans, machines and algorithms or applications.

Hence, SAP also rolled out a data warehouse as the first of its HANA cloud services. The cloud warehouse is linked to SAP and other data sources and includes cloud-based analytics and pay-as-you-go pricing model.

With the “global data sphere” projected to exceed 175 exabytes by 2025, SAP wants to maintain HANA’s ability to deliver a “zero-response-time” queries to it database by, for example, eliminating pre-aggregation of skyrocketing data volumes. SAP also touts its current S/4 HANA platform as delivering a seven-fold reduction in database size.

SAP Chairman Hasso Plattner

“We have no problem to run any of our customers’ [workloads] in DRAM memory,” Plattner noted. If distributed data volume projections hold true, he added, “We have to digest much more data inside the HANA system,” in order to expand beyond SAP’s current enterprise resource planning and customer-relationship management clients.

As a result, SAP’s cloud service also includes a “data intelligence” platform that combines a data hub with its Leonardo machine learning framework into a single cloud offering. Based on open-source frameworks like TensorFlow, the platform aims to connect and orchestrate HANA and other data sources. SAP said the cloud data platform would become available in June.

Another element of SAP’s upgraded database package is a cloud analytics offering that among other capabilities would allow users to extend their data analytics applications to the cloud via a software development kit. Among the updates is a “visual formulas” tool for simulating models or creating enterprise planning scenarios.

As part of its public cloud push, SAP also announced collaboration with AWS that combines their Internet of Things initiatives. The partnership uses AWS IoT Core as the connectivity and device management layer for IoT telemetry data relayed to SAP’s Leonardo platform. The partners said SAP services like field management are scheduled to run on the AWS IoT Greengrass Edge by the end of 2019, thereby reducing latency and boosting bandwidth usage.

Also included with the SAP cloud service are robotic process automation tools such as chat bots used for repetitive tasks and as digital assistants for “definable and repeatable business processes.” Along with integration with the SAP cloud, the robots would be deployed with S/4 HANA.

Meanwhile SAP and Google Cloudhave been expanding their partnership to include a HANA enterprise cloud managed by Google for running analytics along with machine learning workloads. The collaboration allows developers to use cloud-native services from SAP and Google.

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Posted on: May 9, 2019

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