SAP’s "flexible choice" positioning with HANA and ASE

    By: Mr. Adrian Bridgwater on Jan 23, 2013

    SAP’s in-memory performance accessible through HANA is of course the big draw for many customers coming to the firm’s brand.

    But not every application necessitates or demands in-memory performance as its first engineering requirement.

    Because of this fact and, perhaps, the fact that not every firm will want to move to a big engine like HANA straight away, the firm has laid down plans to bring in other customers and lure them away from the like of IBM, Oracle or Microsoft when it comes to database purchase.

    Dual-database deal

    The result of this combination of factors is being referred to as a “dual-database deal” where SAP now says it will include the Sybase ASE transactional database as an add on alternative to a customer license of SAP Business Suite Powered by HANA.

    The concept here is that the customer then has the option to deploy either ASE or HANA in whatever combined mix of configurations suits them best.

    A typical use case scenario here might be to use a deployment of HANA to accelerate a specified set of Business Suite processes in motion, while, at the same time, leaving other processes that can be managed by ASE on ASE.

    Prakash Darji, SAP's global VP for data warehouse solutions & SAP HANA platform has explained the firm’s positioning of these products and provided some well positioned corporate justification for this offer -- but Darji fails (arguably) to tell the whole story…

    … in truth, we know that not all SAP Business Suite applications have been engineered (or re-engineered) to run on HANA at this time: the initial focus has been (logically) to being in functions such as ERP, CRM and supply chain management are.

    Commentators have mulled over the future for ASE since the acquisition of Sybase by SAP back in early 2010. While the firm itself has focused on trying to promote ASE as an attractive and viable alternative to Oracle, IBM DB2 or Microsoft SQL Server for OnLine Transactional Processing (OLTP) workloads functions.

    ASE can still be better

    In fairness, even if SAP had provided other application areas on HANA as fast at the core ERP modules, it may have still positioned some applications as better suited to ASE. Plus anyway, customers may not want to re-invent and re-engineer for in memory acceleration across the board. The jury is still out, in a sense.

    SAP’s Darji is still fairly sure of where he wants this situation to develop, "We would love to see every customer consolidate everything on Hana and not go to a hybrid deployment model, but the reason we've included ASE is that some customers are saying, 'Do I really need an in-memorydatabase for, say, a portal?'"

    Editorial NOTE: It is important to point out that this discussion centers around a situation that only applies to “runtime” licenses for HANA & ASE databases to run SAP applications.

    Let’s also remember, despite the drop in the price of hardware – memory remains considerably pricier to purchase per volume of data processed than hard disks by comparison. So the trade off has a multiplicity of factors and the “don’t necessarily run everything on HANA” argument has some strength as yet.

    Further still, SAP chairman Hasso Plattner has publicly affirmed and acknowledged that customers will need “other” data warehouses (on the OLAP analytics side for example)… there is a job to be done yet in terms of cleansing data, re-engineering our data warehouse structures and bringing what (in the midst of all this noise) is still dispirate databases together.

    Did SAP also make the Sybase IQ analytic database part of the deal? No it did not. The data layer positioning story here is a complex one and tale has more chapters yet to be told.


    Released: January 23, 2013, 6:02 am | Updated: March 22, 2014, 3:34 pm
    Keywords: ASE News | SAP Business Suite




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