SAP Partners See Opportunities, Challenges In New HANA Releases

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Software giant SAP handed out folded map-style brochures at its Sapphire Now conference in Orlando, Fla., last week detailing the company's product development plans for the rest of 2016. At the core of those plans was SAP HANA, the data management and application platform that since its debut more than five years ago has become the center of the company's product strategy.

It has also become a critical part of the technology strategies of many of SAP's partners and their customers.

"We've gotten past the 'if' question of whether our [SAP] customers will adopt HANA," said Steven Davenport, who leads Accenture's North America SAP platform within Accenture Technology, in an interview at Sapphire. "It's just a question of when and how they will deploy HANA."

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At Sapphire Now, SAP unveiled new releases of SAP HANA, SAP HANA Edge Edition for midsize companies, and the spring 2016 edition of SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP), the vendor's Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering.

SAP executives used the event to tout HANA's capabilities.

"The 20th century database is dead, dead, dead," said CEO Bill McDermott, addressing hundreds of SAP partners during an SAP Partner Summit that preceded Sapphire Now.

SAP recently passed the 10,000-customer threshold with HANA, with the majority on-premise deployments, said Ken Tsai, vice president and head of cloud platform and data management product marketing, in an interview at Sapphire Now. He said the channel would play a significant role in expanding HANA adoption, including cloud deployments.

"Growing the HANA ecosystem is critical," Tsai said. As for the new product releases, "the feedback from the ecosystem has been very strong," he said.

The new HANA release, officially SAP HANA SPS12, includes a number of new capabilities and enhancements including graph data processing, workload management capabilities for multitenant environments, the ability to capture live workloads and replay them on a target system, text mining tools, security enhancements, and additional configuration and monitoring options for the HANA Cockpit administration tool.

Perhaps most significantly, SAP announced a beta program for upcoming HANA hybrid data management services in the cloud.

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