Other vendors with in-memory technologies include QlikView, Tibco, Tableau, TM1 (which IBM acquired through its purchase of Cognos), and Quantrix, he said.
HANA's difference lies in its scalability and the fact that it is being offered by a vendor that also owns a lot of the ERP, CRM, and other data that companies are looking to analyze, Menninger said. "SAP has an advantage the others don't have," Menninger said. "They have access to the data from the sources systems."
The ability to tie HANA tightly into existing SAP -powered applications and transaction data is something that will make the technology appealing to SAP users, he said. "They control a lot of the applications and the data associated with the applications."
SAP said HANA is designed to work in non-SAP environments, and with data from any source. But the technology is likely to resonate mostly within SAP's own customer base said Merv Adrian, an analyst with Gartner.
SAP has an uphill fight to sell HANA outside its base, Adrian said. It's a crowded market, they are entering it late, and not perceived as playing except with existing customers. They will need to build references, a sales force, and a partner ecosystem in a new field -- regardless of the quality of the product on first ship. It will take a while, he predicted.
Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
Read more about BI and analytics in Computerworld's BI and Analytics Topic Center.