It will speed up data crunching and help meet diverse information and analytics requirements faster
Databases that reside in the memory of computers rather than their hard disks, and the technologies associated with these, will lend cutting-edge capabilities in the days ahead for enterprise software used by businesses, according to experts from SAP Labs India.
This ‘in-memory’ computing technology, which has been gaining ground in recent years, will speed up data crunching and help meet the diverse information and analytics requirements of companies faster than before, they said during recent off-site media sessions hosted here by the company.
SAP Labs has been developing Hana, a platform that combines hardware and software to make way for storing databases in the main memory of computer systems and compressing them to enable faster processing. Traditionally, databases were stored in servers or hard disks and subjected to a cumbersome mode of processing that yielded slower results. The traditional relational database technology was about 40 years old.
The newer technology was being developed in-house.
Hana will add an entirely new dimension to a range of SAP offerings, including its flagship product, SAP ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). The experts said they were talking not just about a database solution but an entire platform with multifaceted data handling and processing capabilities.
With this technology, businesses would not have to maintain two systems — one for business transactions and another for analytics. They could rely on one platform for meeting their requirements.
Initially, the focus was on using Hana to generate faster reports, said Anirban Dey, vice-president responsible for In-memory Platform Technology. Subsequently, its power was brought to bear on SAP’s Business Warehouse, an enterprise data warehouse platform. The next step was putting SAP’s entire Business Suite on Hana, which would go a long way in showcasing its capabilities.
Pravin Agarwala, vice-president, SAP by Design, explained how cloud computing solutions were gaining importance in today’s business environment and said the company was aiming to extend the benefits of its new ‘in-memory’ technology development efforts to this domain as well. So, Hana was being developed as a platform for cloud-based solutions too.
Using information available in the social media realm was also becoming a vital part of doing business today. For this, the challenge lay in transforming the unstructured data into one that could be used intelligently by companies, the vice-presidents of the company told The Hindu. Social analytics, particularly sentiment analysis, was coming to the fore these days.
‘Mobile first’ approach
SAP has been adopting a ‘mobile first’ approach to software development because of the substantial growth in the use of mobile phones and tablet computers overall and their increasing deployment in the business environment, said V.R. Ferose, managing director.
The acquisition of Sybase, a company that had been developing software for mobile platforms, by SAP a couple of years ago helped it consolidate its presence in the mobile space.
Indian companies too are using mobile phones and tablets in business activities more and more. Mobile applications added to the efficiency of employees, enabling them to work online or offline in different locations. There was an infrastructure challenge in India in terms of bandwidth but it was being addressed.