SAP is expected to make a slew of announcements related to in-memory computing, mobile applications, and cloud-based services on Wednesday during the Sapphire conference in Madrid.
Much attention will likely focus on HANA, SAP's in-memory database, which the vendor intends to weave through its software portfolio. For one, SAP will announce the availability of its Business Warehouse software running on top of HANA, said executive board member and technology chief Vishal Sikka in an interview prior to the conference.
"That is a major milestone, demonstrating that HANA is a full database able to handle the load of a data warehouse," he said. "It's a huge milestone." Some 16,000 BW deployments exist around the world, giving HANA a large target market to entice.
Beverage maker Red Bull already has its BW system running on HANA and will appear at Sapphire along with many other HANA customers, Sikka said. That will be a dramatic change from the recent Tech Ed conference in Las Vegas, which featured plenty of HANA hype but was short on real-life examples of it in use.
The dearth of HANA customers at Tech Ed "was all about timing," said Sikka, who noted that HANA only entered general availability in June. While customers were working on HANA projects in the run-up to Tech Ed, not enough were yet in production, he said.
SAP is also delivering a third support package for HANA that adds additional features, including a number of predictive analysis libraries and an Information Composer tool that lets business users push data into HANA via simple means, such as a spreadsheet. The tool uses wizards to simplify the data-modeling process, SAP said.
In addition, the HANA update provides performance and reliability enhancements including point-in-time recovery; integration with SAP's Solution Manager system; and faster data-loading, according to a statement.
Expect plenty of cloud computing talk at Sapphire as well. New announcements scheduled include a private beta for NetWeaver Neo, a PaaS (platform as a service) based on SAP's Java development and middleware stack.
On the private cloud front, SAP is also planning to announce a partnership with VMware around virtualizing "traditional" SAP ERP (enterprise-resource-planning) deployments.
"People have been virtualizing SAP but the vast majority have been in traditional mainframe architectures of HP and IBM," he said. And virtualization efforts by customers involving x86-based systems have been rather "one-off," he added. "We're bringing the weight of the two companies together to help them with this."
In addition, SAP's NetWeaver cloud will work close with the Java-centric Cloud Foundry service offered by VMware's SpringSource division, he said.
SAP also plans to discuss its growing family of on-demand applications during Sapphire. A travel-expenses application, Travel OnDemand, will enter early trials by the end of the year, and Career OnDemand for employee development is set for a pilot in January, SAP sad.
Mobility is sure to be another hot topic at Sapphire, with announcements including a new SAP Store for Mobile Apps.