SAP moves into database space

12 Apr 20121 Share

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Dr Vishal Sikka, SAP executive board in charge of technology and innovation

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Enterprise software player SAP has unveiled aggressive plans to grow its presence in the database software and mobile apps markets.

Calling itself a “database company”, SAP is firmly eyeing rival Oracle and intends to become the second-placed vendor in that market within three years. It’s the culmination of a strategy which saw the German software house acquire Sybase for US$5.8bn in 2010.

SAP claims its data processing tool, code named Hana, is the fastest-growing product in the company’s history. SAP founder and member of its executive board Dr Hasso Plattner claimed the in-memory database is “100,000 times faster than before”.

Currently, many customers of SAP run its well-established ERP product on databases from other providers such as IBM or Oracle. SAP announced a fund of US$337m aimed at enticing such customers to switch to Hana with consultancy services and an 18-month refund offer.

According to early reports, the engineering work needed to make Hana suitable for running ERP hasn’t been completed yet; the tool is currently best used for analytics work.

SAP said the move to integrate its products with those from Sybase would be “evolutionary and non-disruptive”. The company said its vision is to provide a single, real-time platform for all transaction and analytics workloads.

Dr Vishal Sikka, a member of SAP’s executive board in charge of technology and innovation, said the move is also intended to position the company for the latest IT trend: big data.

“SAP’s vision is focused on enabling a paradigm shift in data management: transforming enterprise IT departments from complex and slow landscapes – struggling to deliver on organisational objectives – to a simplified architecture that enables new classes of ‘big data’, cloud and mobile applications in addition to renewing existing applications non-disruptively,” Sikka said.

In a related development, SAP also announced a US$155m venture fund to promote development of apps that are compatible with Hana technology, putting the database capability in the hands of smartphone users.