SAP’s Irfan Khan: Functional Elegance Lives Forever

    By: Mr. Adrian Bridgwater on Jul 01, 2014

    SAP's Irfan Khan spoke at the ISUG-TECH Conference to explain his thoughts on the company’s current (and future) positioning and strategy. ISUG-TECH editor Adrian Bridgwater was there to try and keep up with Khan’s light-speed thought process.

    The official line is that Irfan Khan is GM of database technology worldwide. But he has also previously been known as Chief Technology Officer for SAP’s Database and Technology (D&T) business division. In this role he is responsible for SAP Database, Data Warehousing, and D&T Strategy Office business units, which include SAP HANA and the SAP Sybase Database solutions. Khan is focused on driving SAP’s go to market strategy and execution as well as ensuring market needs and customer aspirations are reflected within the company’s innovation and product development efforts.

    The non-official line is that I have known Irfan for 10 years since we first met over coke and cookies at Sybase TechWave (as it was then) in its 2004 staged city of Orlando, Florida. Always erudite, always insightful and always deeply technical, Irfan has (obviously) become more corporate over the years. His position within the company has extended in line with the range of pin-striped suits (that he mostly always wears) in the style of a true English gent.

    SAP-Sybase Three Years of Blissful Marriage
    Speaking to Irfan at a break out session during the ISUG-TECH Conference 2014 in Atlanta, I learned that he is still very sympathetic towards the old guard of Sybase veterans who now find themselves under the SAP umbrella brand. Although he does describe it as “three years of blissful marriage” since the acquisition took place.

    “Sybase ASE was always about functional elegance in extreme data management environments and, under the stewardship of SAP, this has been augmented to be even bigger and better than before,” said Khan.

    The core of the transactional engine has been improved here. There is always a diminishing return in computing experienced by simply adding more computing cores, but if you look at how SAP ASE has been extended... there is no performance degradation in terms of the way the product has been enhanced.


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