Today, along with few other bloggers – I had a chance to listen to Vishal Sikka of SAP. Special thanks to Craig Cmehil for inviting me to this meeting. Vishal told us that HANA is going GA on Monday June 20th, 2011. Vishal also mentioned some impressive pipeline numbers for HANA. And the coolest news from Vishal was the HANA cloud. In my book, SAP should get a perfect 10 for vision.
At SAPPHIRENOW 2011, we heard several customers on video expressing their satisfaction based on the proof of concept type projects they have had. But beyond that, I have not seen any numbers from SAP on how many clients are actually using HANA in production. Surely SAP has some KPIs to meet before they take HANA to GA. So why is it that SAP is not shouting from rooftops on how well HANA met these KPIs and how many customers use it in production? Won’t the majority of customers want to know this information before they open their wallets to buy a 1.0 product?
The big pitch on HANA is ” REAL real time”. And real time is enabled by replication from source systems like ECC. The Sybase replication server and BO data services were the two mechanisms SAP told us about in the past. However, in past few days, there has been some information coming out on SLT as replication mechanism from ECC at least for near future . I am told this is based on ABAP based triggers. I could not find any information on SLT. A friend at SAP has promised to dig out some documentation. SAP has clearly mentioned in the past on where Rep server fits and where data services fit. But I have not seen any guidance on where and why SLT should be used. And what is the impact? will it increase the load on ECC side? Will it need HANA to have some ABAP instal on it? Again, I cannot imagine SAP taking HANA to GA without giving clear guidance on this topic.
If HANA is going to GA, customers will want some guidance on sizing the hardware. I know from before that there is a rule of thumb sizing. There is a good comment thread on my buddy John Appleby’s blog on sizing. So let me just give the link here and not rehash it. http://www.bluefinsolutions.com/insights/blog/sap_hana_myth_busting_through_the_market_hype/ . In short, I would expect SAP to give clear instructions on sizing and have a quick sizer type tool for this. Without that, I cannot imagine many customers just agreeing to a random rule of thumb.
Why was releases like 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0 done away with and substituted with SP 1, SP2 and so on? What does that mean to customers if anything? Does SAP get any benefit by doing this? And what is involved with moving from one SP to another?
I am counting on SAP to provide all this information on Monday when HANA is officially in GA, so that customers and partners can take well informed decisions.
Here is a parting thought on Sales and Operations Planning on HANA cloud. S&OP is a complex process on many levels. The raw data for S&OP is usually stored in multiple on-premises systems for demand and supply information. The data is usually at very high volumes due to granularity needed. And this data usually is very sensitive. So with these things – I am not convinced that S&OP is a good candidate for HANA cloud. I think HANA on premises will be excellent for S&OP – but just cannot visualize many customers doing S&OP on cloud. Vishal disagreed with me when I expressed my doubts today on viability of this solution- and I am sure he would not have put S&OP on cloud without doing his homework. So I am waiting to see several customers getting into HANA cloud for S&OP and me being proven wrong on this one .
If SAP is offering a HANA cloud, will there be anything in it for ecosystem partners? Will developers get access to it to create applications that work on HANA cloud? And will SAP build their own servers for HANA or depend on existing hardware partners? Dennis Howlett has covered this better than I could ever have. Here is his analysis http://www.zdnet.com/blog/howlett/the-untold-story-of-sap-and-data-centers/3169 . I am not sure how big SAP will go about its data centers. On one hand, with ByDesign, OD and HANA cloud – they do need big data centers to cater to all of that. On other hand – most of the money comes from on-premises systems, so why spend big on cloud when it is yet to bring in the big bucks? It is an interesting problem for SAP, and I am very keen to see how they go about solving this.
So that is what SAP has to say, and what I have to say. Question is – what say you?