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A LIST For SAP HANA

Katana SwordSAP HANA seems to be getting some traction.  I happen to believe in the future of in-memory databases.  It only makes sense that we should try and balance the mismatch between processor speeds and the availability of data for processing.

I think SAP has some work ahead of them marketing HANA.  Here is a LIST of things I think the need to start doing immediately to boost their chances of making it a generally accepted database in SAP and non-SAP accounts.

Language – SAP needs to own the term in-memory database.   In-memory is being widely used by Oracle and others to refer to lots of things that happen with data, without fitting the requirements for being a truly in-memory database as defined here .  The problem is that in-memory database may quickly become so over and mis-used it will become a useless marketing term like “big data”.  SAP needs to aggressively promote a strict definition for the label in-memory database and call out any vendor who misuses it.

Image– It’s hard for any database product to say it can do everything – we just don’t believe it anymore.   HANA needs to occupy one space in the mind of IT, and I believe that space is speed.   The advantages of data processing speed will apply regardless of where HANA is eventually applied, whether it is transaction processing or decision support, operational data store or data warehouse.   Everyone wants more data processing faster.   It is probably the most defensible position for HANA.

On a side note, I keep hearing HANA being pronounced as Hanna.   A woman’s name probably doesn’t invoke the image they are going for.   I would emphasize a pronunciation that rhymes with Katana – the deadly Japanese sword.

Sentiment – The Internet makes it possible to influence hundreds and thousands of potential HANA users negatively with a few key strokes.   SAP is going to have to actively monitor and immediately respond to mis-information and requests for information about HANA in every blog and competitor release.  Interestingly enough, the name HANA isn’t that hard to monitor because it is somewhat unique.

Technology – CIO’s and other IT leaders play an unfair game of chess every time they put together their IT strategy.   It’s them against IBM, Oracle, Accenture, and every other technology vendor who is playing their own strategy to take IT’s money and time.  And they don’t have to follow the rules – bypassing the CIO and going directly to business executives to change the rules.

SAP HANA is going to have to prove they are on the side of the CIO and working to advance his or her game.   They have to be proactive in presenting why HANA should be a new piece on the board, and how HANA will provide long-term strategic advantage for both IT and the business.   Speed will get HANA in the door, a viable strategic plan will keep it in the game.

I’m sure there are other points I could bring up, but then I couldn’t use my cute acronym LIST.   Besides, SAP will be busy with just these four for years to come.

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  1. November 9, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Hi Brian

    Thanks for the link. I agree with your comments about needing a stricter definition of “In Memory Database” before it gets stolen by the marketing people for their own purposes. The more we in the technical community discuss it and define it, the better. With that in mind I’d also draw your attention (and that of your readers) to Kevin Closson’s recent post on the subject here:

    http://kevinclosson.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/oracle-exadata-x3-database-in-memory-machine-timely-thoughtful-thoughts-for-the-thinking-technologist-part-i/

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