Sikka mostly dismissed the idea.
"You have to understand, we are riding on the coattails of 3,000 production installations of MaxDB ... and more than 1,000 installations of TREX," he said, referring to some of the technologies HANA is based upon. "This is the team that has built [HANA]. I am behind it. Hasso is behind it," he said, referring to company co-founder Hasso Plattner.
Having said that, "we're coming out of a period of time where SAP was not innovating," he added. "So yes, we are in a little bit of a hurry to show we are innovating."
HANA is going to serve as the basis for an "intellectual renewal" at SAP, according to Sikka. "It's at the heart of everything we do in the future. Every team is impacted by it. We are all either transforming our products on the basis of HANA or right now building the road map to do so."
Between 250 and 300 engineers distributed across the globe are working full-time on HANA around the clock, Sikka said.
SAP will provide more details in September on HANA-related product road maps, including the HANA AppCloud, which got a brief mention at the recent Sapphire conference.
Over time, SAP plans to open four data centers for the HANA AppCloud around the world, managing some itself and co-locating with partner-owned facilities for others, he said.
Like other cloud platforms, the AppCloud will involve server farms coupled with a software fabric for elastic resource provisioning. HANA will run on top, allowing customers and ISVs to run analytics or build applications, he said.
For now, HANA is available in appliance form from a range of different hardware partners -- including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, Cisco and IBM -- giving customers ample choice of vendors. SAP has also constrained hardware support in one sense, as HANA currently only supports Intel x86 processors. That move was made to speed up HANA development, since only one platform needs to be supported.
HP is selling HANA boxes based on ProLiant servers in a total of six size configurations, according to company documents. It has also developed a series of implementation services for HANA.
Fujitsu's site touts its past experience building in-memory appliances with SAP's previously released Business Warehouse Accelerator product. It's offering HANA appliances in five configurations using Primergy RX servers.
IBM is offering six HANA configurations built with its System x3690 X5 and x3950 X5 servers. A number of HANA services are available as well.
Dell is basing HANA systems on its PowerEdge R910 server platform, while Cisco will use its Unified Computing System product family.
Overall, there should be some parity across all hardware vendors' HANA offerings, as SAP has created a specific bill of materials for the various sizes, according to Sikka.
Since HANA only serves as a computational engine, other software is needed to deliver analytics and reports to end-users.
HANA supports the common SQL and MDX query languages, meaning it can be compatible with any third-party BI (business intelligence) software that uses those standards, but has been optimized for SAP's Business Objects 4.0 BI platform, which is set for release in July.
SAP is also releasing a series of specialized applications that sit on top of HANA, such as Strategic Workforce Planning, which companies can use to analyze the effect of large-scale changes to their employee base.
HANA will also support transactional workloads as well as analytics. SAP plans to eventually present HANA as an option for customers now running its Business Suite on Oracle's database.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com