New SAP Analytic Appliance Leverages In-Memory Computing

The company also debuted the SAP BusinessObjects Strategic Workforce Planning application, the first in what SAP said will be a line of applications specifically designed to run on the appliance.

The appliance, formally called the SAP High-Performance Analytical Appliance or HANA, makes use of in-memory computing technology SAP acquired earlier this year when it bought Sybase for $5.8 billion.

"This will transform the entire SAP product portfolio over time," said Vishal Sikka, a member of the company's executive board, in a Web conference Wednesday. He said HANA could perform in two seconds calculations that used to take hours.

He predicted HANA would lead to the development of a new generation of applications, both within SAP and from the company's ISV partners, that can leverage the appliance's capabilities.

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"We foresee some new business opportunities for our partners," Sikka said, adding that it will also create consulting and implementation opportunities for channel partners.

HANA can analyze data in real time when attached to IT systems such as ERP and CRM applications and data warehouse systems, Sikka said, and help with data-intensive tasks in planning, forecasting and simulation.

The BusinessObjects Strategic Workforce Planning application, for example, will work with HANA to handle computationally intensive processes related to hiring, onboarding and training new employees. HANA will also boost the performance of BusinessObjects 4, the next release of SAP's business intelligence suite (code name "Aurora") that's scheduled for general availability in the first half of 2011, Sikka said.

The appliance software will be bundled with Intel-based hardware and sold by SAP's system partners: IBM, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco, and Fujitsu Siemens Computers.