Archive for August, 2014

SAP makes it cheaper, easier for customers to use Hana in certain scenarios

August 22nd, 2014

The move signals that competition has truly arrived in the in-memory database market, says one observer
SAP has relaxed hardware requirements for using its Hana in-memory database platform for development and testing, in a move that could make existing Hana customers’ operations easier and less expensive while also generating more Hana sales.
Rather than being forced to use specialized Hana appliances, now customers can take advantage of lower-cost hardware, including equipment they may already have in hand, according to an official.
Now, earlier generations of Intel E7 chips such as West mere EX, which cost much less than more modern ones, can be used in non-production Hana scenarios, the blog states.
Second, while SAP has recommended 256GB of RAM per CPU for running analytic Hana workloads in production, this won’t be enforced for development and testing environments, according to the blog.
SAP has also relaxed the requirements for storage and networking components in non-production Hana systems.
The moves follow other efforts by SAP to lower Hana customers’ total cost of ownership, such as support for virtualization.
SAP has reoriented its entire development strategy around Hana by porting packaged applications to the platform, creating a PaaS (platform as a service) with it, and rolling out a Hana-based hosting service. More than 1,500 start-up companies are also developing software with Hana, according to SAP.
Hana became generally available in 2011. In its most recent earnings report, SAP said Hana had crossed the 3,600 customer mark. But it has also stopped breaking out Hana revenue, prompting some observers to question whether sales had slowed.
Tuesday’s announcements signal that “the competition has finally arrived with in-memory databases and SAP is under pressure to ensure Hana is as cost-competitive as possible,” said John Appleby, global head of SAP Hana at consulting firm Bluefin Solutions and an SAP Mentor, a title given to the company’s most involved community members. “I’m certain this is the start of a number of activities over 2014 to reduce the TCO of Hana.”

SAP plans big investment to boost its business in Africa

August 22nd, 2014

Industry-specific software, support for entrepreneurs and additional training programs are on tap for Africa
SAP is planning to spend up to US$500 million in Africa from now through 2020 in hopes of dramatically growing its business on the continent, particularly in countries outside of South Africa, where it already has a strong base.
“In Africa, we plan to engage and invest in even more markets while helping build the appropriate talent base for the IT industry,” said Robert Enslin, SAP executive board member and global sales chief, in a statement released Tuesday.
The growth plan announced Tuesday includes a focus on selling specialized software for telecommunications, financial services, utilities and other verticals in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Angola and Morocco.
SAP also intends to push its newest products, such as the Hana in-memory computing platform and cloud applications, into African markets. This task will be made easier by the fact that many companies there may not have ample existing IT infrastructure that would need to be displaced, SAP said.
Kenya has been chosen to be part of SAP’s Emerging Entrepreneur Initiative. This program offers business development help, mentoring by SAP staff, grants and other benefits to selected entrepreneurs.
Finally, SAP is planning to launch new skills training programs in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Angola.
Going forward, SAP will have operations in 51 African nations. There are now 700 SAP employees working in Africa, and the company intends to hire another 250 by the end of 2015.
Overall, getting more African workers familiar with how to not only sell, but configure and develop extensions to SAP’s products is crucial to the vendor’s growth hopes there.
SAP sells business software suites in various configurations based on a company’s size. As has been the case in other emerging markets, SAP’s Business One product for smaller companies will likely be an increasingly popular choice in Africa. Business One, unlike other products in SAP’s catalog, is sold exclusively through partners around the world, who serve as a customer’s main point of contact and customize the software to meet their needs.

SAP ties up with Apigee for API management

August 22nd, 2014

Apigee’s platform will serve as a middleman between SAP systems and mobile apps
SAP will resell software from Apigee in a move to help customers and partners build mobile applications, products and services that securely tap data from SAP systems.
The deal will result in a product called SAP API Management, a rebadged version of Apigee’s Edge platform, which will be available in both on-premises form and on SAP’s Hana Cloud Platform, according to an announcement Thursday.
The Apigee product’s approach should calm the nerves of conservative SAP system administrators, who may be resistant to allowing external applications to call into critical back-end systems directly, said Joav Bally, chief product manager for Gateway and SAP API Management.
He compared Apigee’s platform to a bouncer at a nightclub. “It decides who gets into the club or not,” he said.
Apigee stands between back-end systems and applications running on mobile devices, websites, POS (point of sale) systems and other places, according to the company’s website.
The applications interact with a proxy API (application programming interface) sitting on Apigee’s platform, which relays calls to the back end. Apigee provides a framework for security and authorization, as well as the ability to throttle the amount of traffic moving through an API in order to avoid overloading back-end systems.
The proxy approach means SAP customers will have the ability to make changes to their systems as long as they maintain the API on Apigee. In turn, developers don’t have to rewrite anything in order to handle such changes, since their applications talk only to the API.
Apigee also provides customers with analytics showing how their APIs are being used, as well as various ways to charge third-party developers for access to APIs.
With the Apigee deal, SAP is signaling a desire to keep pace with rivals such as Salesforce.com when it comes to opening up its software to the world in a secure way.
“APIs are hot, and not just for digital businesses,” said IDC analyst Al Hilwa, via email. “In a way, all companies are finding ways to connect with customers and partners through digital means, no matter the product. This is driving a huge wave of architecting systems for external use through APIs.”
With Apigee, SAP is partnering with a company that has a wealth of experience in API management, Hilwa added: “SAP is wise to accelerate its investment in this area and support its large contingency of customers with their API efforts.”
SAP is also trying to attract partners, particularly startups, to build software for its Hana cloud platform and marketplace, hoping to repeat the success Salesforce.com has had with its own AppExchange. The addition of Apigee’s technology to the mix is clearly aimed at making it easier for those companies to interact with SAP systems.