One reason for that is the fact that its rapid-provisioning capabilities eliminate the weeks-long wait for dedicated HANA appliances used in on-premises deployments, he said. Now, "the physical starting point of a project collapses from weeks to hours."
SAP had already offered a limited version of HANA on Amazon Web Services that is intended more for development and testing purposes.
It has also launched a cloud-based, HANA-powered platform aimed at application developers and is courting startup companies, encouraging them to build their applications with HANA.
Eventually, all of SAP's SaaS (software as a service) applications will run on the HANA Enterprise Cloud, Sikka said during the press conference.
Forrester Research analyst Stefan Ried gave SAP's announcement a mixed review.
"Since HANA [became] available, I talked to many service providers and CIOs who wanted to operate HANA in a shared way for many customers, tenants or business divisions," Ried wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. "Unfortunately HANA was until today, basically bound to a physical hardware. Virtualization concepts or shared resource pools of memory did not really work." With HANA Enterprise Cloud, "SAP seems to address this with an advanced management layer on top of the existing HANA software stack," he added.
But SAP's "bring your own license" model for the HANA cloud service is problematic, in Ried's view. "While this is great for customers that have already a HANA license and [would] like to re-locate it into the cloud, it is useless for customers that might have largely fluctuating data volumes or user numbers and might specifically use a cloud because of its elastic business model."
SAP is expected to discuss the HANA Enterprise Cloud announcement further at the Sapphire conference in Orlando next week.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com