SAP's plan to offer its HANA database platform as an enterprise cloud service has been heralded by analysts as a positive step forward for the firm.
The HANA Enterprise Cloud will allow users to analyse data from SAP Business Suite applications in the cloud. SAP said that the HANA as a cloud service will reduce the cost for customers wanting to perform big data analytics, as well as offering them increased flexibility.
IDC analyst David Bradshaw told V3 that while SAP has yet to release prices for the HANA Enterprise Cloud, the subscription service is likely to be far cheaper than trying to deploy HANA on premise.
"More customers are likely to want to have HANA now, as it will require less capital and less space in their data centre," said Bradshaw.
Bradshaw said that now HANA is in the cloud, the next step is for SAP to allow customers to analyse external data, like social media data, along with their own business data. "This isn't part of the SAP plan yet but there is no reason why it shouldn't be.
It would simply be an extension of what they are doing now, and SAP could offer this [external data analysis] capability as an add-on service. SAP is just one of the many companies playing catch-up on the social side."
Meanwhile Helena Schwenk, analyst for MWD Advisors, said SAP customers are likely to be attracted to the new HANA offering for a number of reasons.
"In short, it means customers can hand over some of the more mundane tasks associated with HANA's set up and configuration such as provisioning hardware and disaster recovery while also enabling them to utilise the cloud's elasticity to scale up resources as needed," said Schwenk. "The bottom line is that the HANA Enterprise Cloud has the potential to speed up the time to value customers experience from a HANA implementation."
Schwenk suggested why customers may be attracted to the SAP HANA cloud proposition over other market alternatives, such as the popular open source big database Hadoop.
"This announcement does re-emphasise SAP's resolute focus on managing real time data as opposed to processing data in batches like Hadoop. It manages this by blending an in-memory processing engine, data replication, and compression algorithms in a scalable and parallelised multi-core architecture," said Schwenk.
"The benefit for customers here is that they can turbo-charge their SAP business suite applications and data warehouses by processing and querying data in real time, enabling them to react and respond to operations and changing business conditions in faster and faster timescales."
However, Schwenk warned that SAP customers still need to be wary of the cost and effort associated with subscribing to the cloud service. "Whatever the arrangements, customers will need to factor in the time, effort and cost of migrating and on-boarding SAP HANA on the enterprise cloud since SAP is employing a bring-your-own license model," she said.
Schwenk added that customers will also need to go through an assessment process to determine which of their applications would benefit most from the HANA cloud deployment option.
According to Mike Davis, principal analyst at MSMD Advisors, the HANA database was made for the cloud.
"Big data and cloud computing were made for each other. It's one of those perfect storms. Organisations can do HANA big data analytics in-house but most organisations are not set up for it. Data centres run by the likes of SAP can deliver the storage capabilities far more easily," said Davis.
Davis said that while the announcement is a positive step forward for SAP, the firm is still competing in the big data analytics market and the HANA Enterprise Cloud does not propel SAP to a leadership position by any means.
"Just think of Cloudera which has everything; Hadoop as well as partnerships with SAP and Oracle," said Davis.
"But HANA does have great traction and some great mindshare, and this HANA update allows SAP to offer customers big data support for core data apps, so this is bringing big data into the mainstream market."
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago