Release of SP7 Continues SAP HANA’s Fast Rise in the Enterprise Software World

After SAP HANA’s announcement during the 2013 TechEd conference in Las Vegas, it looks like the SAP HANA Service Pack 7 has finally arrived. SAP HANA’s new release might be an important step towards providing HANA with even more solid improvements for mission critical and big corporate deployments.
SAP HANA growing dimensionally
As mentioned in SAP’s announcement, HANA’s SP7 represents the evolution of the product in three main dimensions:
  • Helping users improve app design with the launch of user experience design services, in alignment with SAP´s “design thinking” strategy. This service, provided by SAP’s team of experts, allows users to take advantage of SAP Fiori to create apps with improved user experience and design.
  • Simplifying application development for customers by focusing SAP HANA to be language-agnostic so developers can take advantage of the data services HANA can provide via packaged data quality libraries. Also, SAP HANA SP7 offers smart data access technology, including access to Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server, as well as tighter integration with Hadoop via supporting Hortonworks distribution.
  • Simplifying mission critical deployments by adding important enhancements for reinforcing high availability and improving disaster recovery measures via snapshots and logs for replay, cascading replication features and stretch cluster configurations.
SAP’s approach with the release of SP7 certainly serves the purpose of reinforcing HANA to take a deeper position within mission critical deployments and as part of wider corporate solutions and IT infrastructures. It also makes the case for evolving all SAP HANA data management tools and applications.
Fast growth and openness, a factor for success
Based on the development path since the solution’s inception, SAP has been able to grow HANA into a pillar of its business and software strategy—as my colleague PJ mentions in a recent article, in the software lifecycle HANA has been a “fast developing toddler”, one year ago becoming the fastest-growing technology in SAP’s four-decade-long history, only a few months after the product’s general release.
But aside from this important series of improvements with HANA SP7, there are others both internal and external that are contributing to increasing user interest in adopting SAP HANA’s promising in-memory capabilities for performance in both operations and analytics. On the general or more external side, these improvements include:
  • The Cloud—SAP’s HANA cloud offering opens the HANA door to a wider number of organizations, first to be able to adopt such a platform without the technical burden that an on-premise platform would bring, and second, to be able to test the benefits of HANA in the cloud before adopting an on-premise or more robust cloud solution for production.
  • Openness—Another interesting aspect of SAP’s global strategy around HANA is the intensive effort to promote the formation of a complete ecosystem via key strategic partnerships as well as supporting and engaging with startups to develop solutions on top of the SAP HANA platform. Additionally, by introducing the “open application development experience,” SAP reinforces HANA’s agnostic software language focus to enable a wider number of vendors to develop in this in-memory computing based platform independent of their computer language of choice. This is an interesting direction towards opening the platform and developing a complete proprietary system.
Specific internal enhancements that will likely boost the potential adoption of HANA within a vast number of organizations include:
  • Robustness for mission critical applications—Along the way, SAP has been incorporating a number of important features to reinforce HANA’s mission critical capabilities such as replaying logs on snapshots for ensuring data and process recovery and replication systems in cascade to simplify its administration. Along with this are important features for data center integration and configuration, giving users, especially administrators and managers, more confidence regarding HANA’s capabilities for sensitive deployments.
  • The incorporation of rapid-deployment solutions—The recently announced SAP NetWeaver BW Near-Line Storage rapid-deployment solution enables seamless data transfer between the business warehouse and near-line storage of historical data. The release of these types of bundled solutions for rapid deployment could be important, especially for organizations in growth mode that need to make agile deployments of key solutions for their organizations.
HANA now a serious contender
According to an article from ZDNet, by June of 2013, SAP had 918 customers and had generated revenues of more than 600 million (EUR) since its launch, with expectations from SAP that HANA would provide between 650–700 million (EUR) for 2013.    
So, although SAP HANA might not yet be the main platform of choice in the industry, it is becoming a serious contender against former data platform giants such as Oracle and IBM when it comes to the adoption of a database, a data warehouse, or an enterprise productive environment.
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