I went to a Hadoop Users Group meeting in the Valley recently and got into a long and interesting discussion with a Hadoop contributor about what it means to be an enterprise app developer (at least from a big picture perspective) with the rapid growth of Big Data, and widespread adoption of Cloud Computing and other technology trends. One of the things we spent quite a bit of time on is discussing the implications of "moving app to the data" vs "moving data to the app" as defined by the current enterprise software development paradigms.

 

Our discussion got me thinking about what a data application platform is and the current state. Since SAP announced the availability of its Flagship Business Suite on HANA couple of weeks ago, I've been doing some research and hope to share my learnings and thoughts via a series of blogs on the data platform topic in the coming days/weeks.

 

For starters:

 

  • Rapid development and adoption of Hadoop-based solution ecosystem is enabling this "app-to-data" transition. See attached image below from The Register. Hadoop has come long way in 6 years from an Apache project to an enterprise-scale Big Data solution.
  • This new development paradigm will finally break the data processing bottlenecks in a typical enterprise by freeing app developers to develop many "micro" apps that process/present data in various ways with direct access to data. Think iphone apps vs traditional, menu/navigation driven enterprise apps!
  • Convergence of Cloud, Big Data, Mobility trends with rise of "hacking" development culture will lead to many new types of apps, frameworks, and a lot of rip-and-replacing of apps (esp. in the early stages when software doesn't work as expected and since licensing costs for these new pieces of software is low-to-zero). H/T to Krishnan Subramaniam for his excellent insights on this convergence of these trends. Image below are screengrabs from his slideshare presentation.
  • Implementing and Developing Hadoop-based applications requires an understanding of Java, using Javascript, knowledge of MapReduce, etc. putting it beyond the capabilities of a typical data scientist/programmer. However, there are companies such as Continuuity and other major vendors that are developing integrated dev tools and packages that reduce the complexity. These are still in early stages but the general trend is very encouraging.
  • Thanks to the sharing culture, there are many great examples of building enterprise-scale apps and data marts using Hadoop.

 

More in the next blog..

 

http://regmedia.co.uk/2011/11/09/hadoop_kernel_distro.jpg

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 3.50.46 PM.jpg

I was pinged lately by someone bemoaning the state of SAP HANA developer tools and I was slightly surprised. I thought that SAP had done a fairly good job of making things available, but then I am a SAP partner, with paid access to downloads, test/demo licenses and support.

 

[edit 01/27/13]: This page has got a lot of foot traffic so I thought it good to clarify what this comparison is about.

 

Developers, startups and small companies make a choice of what database platform to use. Students and new talent in the market make the same choice. Sometimes that choice is made because of what people know, what's cool and trending, or what's open-source, what's cheap, or what's "expensive and enterprise class" - Jeff Bezos famously cited this as the reason why he chose Oracle for Amazon.com. There are a bunch of reasons that determine DB platform choice.

 

However, I believe that a lot of the time, people choose what is easy to access and so it's my belief that if SAP wants to be a DB Platform giant (and they do), they have to lead the way in developer experience. This comparison, and grading, is all about how easy it is to get started and develop your first app. It's about ecosystem latency.

 

So I chose what I believed to be the 5 (yeah it turned out to be 7 because of scope creep...) major database platform choices, and I scored them based on:

 

- Ease of finding the developer resource pages via Google

- Ease of getting signed up as a developer

- Ease of getting the the development platform up and running

 

I gave extra points for organizations that give flexibility and choice, and I dock points for:

 

- Needing to deal with a sales team to get access

- Needing to wait for approval to get access

- Bad user experience

 

Now you know how I'm judging them - let's get on with the analysis!

 

Microsoft

 

I googled "Microsoft SQL Server developer" to see what was available. Microsoft have had an amazing developer program since the 90s and I remember being a part of it during university. First link on Google is the Microsoft SQL Server Dev Center. Less than 60 seconds later I have a 64-bit version of Microsoft SQL Server Express downloading - without even a click-through license! This happens when you come to install it.

 

Whilst it's downloading, Microsoft displayed a 5-step getting started process with links to training content, assistance, Twitter and forums. I'm already pretty impressed - Microsoft have made it simple and easy to access their developer platform.

 

And I look to the right of the page - they also have a link to a 90 day free trial of their Azure SQL Cloud Platform. It's got some limitations - 35Gb of data, for example - but that's pretty cool. I looked into the pricing model and got very confused. Amazon clearly do a much better job than Microsoft at pricing.

 

If on-premise enterprise databases are your bag, Microsoft do a free 180-day trial of their full-fat Microsoft SQL Server 2012 platform. Also downloading within 60 seconds without a click-through. It's worth noting that you do need a free 180-day trial of the Windows 2012 operating system and a minimum of 4GB RAM. This is made available either as a full download, or a virtual image.

 

Once downloaded, Microsoft are masters of the developer experience. Installing software and tools is straightforward and the tools are a pleasure to use. There's no question - for on-premise software, Microsoft are the guys to beat.

 

[edit 01/27/13]: I reviewed Microsoft first, and having slept on this post, I realized that whilst Microsoft do make it easy to get their software, they haven't really innovated on open-ness. There are, however, a good collection of AWS packages for Microsoft Windows/SQL Server. IBM do a much better job of making the information easy to find.

 

Grade: B-. Microsoft have enabled me, got me up and running with their software quickly and I'm already developing on their platform.

 

Oracle

 

I don't have such high expectations of Oracle: they have always been tougher with intellectual property. Maybe they have improved in recent years - let's find out. First impressions look great, there is a landing page for downloading the Oracle 11g software. You have to craft your Google search carefully, because googling "Oracle trial" lets you know just how litigious the company is!

 

Once you agree to the license agreement and click on a download, it then forwards you to a login page. A few minutes later and some fiddling around with bad support for the Safari browser, I'm busy downloading Oracle 11g. You can run this on the Microsoft trial version of Windows if you like, or you could run it on some variant of UNIX or Linux. The choice is yours.

 

The installer for Oracle isn't quite as friendly as Microsoft and the developer tools are not as polished. It's clear to me that becoming an Oracle developer is a more serious undertaking than in Microsoft. But then according to Indeed, Oracle guys are paid on average 10% more than Microsoft guys. Still, there's definitely a bit of a sense that Oracle haven't moved this stuff forward in the way that Microsoft have, especially when it comes to virtual images, and the cloud.

 

I also hear that Oracle have an in-memory database called TimesTen. It turns out that there is a download page for that too. Since I now have a login, it takes me 20 seconds to get this on its way down. I'm really impressed by the TimesTen hardware requirements: there is a 32-bit download if you need it (limited to a 2GB database, obviously) and on the 64-bit edition, it's just a question of how much RAM you have. Fair enough.

 

Grade: C. Oracle don't have the impressive platform that Microsoft have, but if you're a serious developer, that might be acceptable.

 

Salesforce.com

 

I bet you didn't expect me to go here. I'm immediately impressed: they have the domain developer.force.com which is a starting point for all development stuff. I see "Free Developer Edition" and click on it hungrily. It's a short web form with a confirmation email, and I'm in, in 60 seconds.

 

This is where I get the shock of my life: I blink, and 60 seconds later, I have written my first app. I barely even saw myself do it, and it gives me a guided tutorial of what I built. I'm not in the mood to take this too much further but I can see there are means to write code, develop database apps and create reports and dashboards. It's all frighteningly easy. It is no wonder that there are so many Force.com developers.

 

[edit 01/27/13]: Amigo Chen, see comment below, suggested that I actually review database.com - In fact I did, I just got my terminology wrong. Salesforce.com is the company, force.com is the platform and database.com is the database. That's what we're talking about here.

 

[edit 01/27/13]: This post got a lot of love from the Salesforce.com community, including Benioff. Let's be clear - SFDC has the best developer experience. Does it have the best app platform? I'm not so sure, and that's not what this article is about.

 

 

Grade: A+. Developing an app with a cloud-based platform within 60 seconds. This is the bar to aspire to.

 

Workday

 

In for a penny, in for a pound. Workday's Developer Network (WDN, remind you of anything?) is easy to find but I'm as surprised as I was with Force.com. Workday developer access appears only to be available to Partners and Customers and the web pages are confusing and poorly laid out. I give up.

 

[edit 01/26/13]: Naomi Bloom pointed out that Workday was deliberately not a database platform. I'd assumed that it was, at least to its customers. Their lack of openness gets a thumbs down from me, but it's unfair to grade them.

 

Grade: N/A.

 

IBM

 

[edit 01/26/13] This section added with thanks to Vijay Vijaysankar of SAP. Once Blue, always Blue!

 

My first impression of IBM is they have gone to the effort of creating a brand that is developer-focussed: Developerworks. I went to download the free-of-charge DB2 Express, and this requires the creation of an IBM ID, which took about 60 seconds, plus a confirmation email. One thing I noticed was a Mac OS X Version - the only on-premise solution that has this here, which is pretty cool. From there it's a direct download.

 

IBM also has cloud provisioning options. Whilst IBM's Smart Cloud requires you to contact an account representative (I can't be bothered), the link to Amazon AWS take you right to an AMI (Amazon Machine Image) where you can directly buy the software. Nice. $111 a month gets you a one-year contract for an 8GB RAM system, or it's $0.32 an hour, and you can get started right away.

 

I moved onto DB2, which is available on a 90 day trial for on-premise use, plus a cloud option on a variety of different providers - very impressive. To download it I had to provide a phone number. After that I can download any version for a 90 day trial, either as an installer, or as a VMWare image.

 

With DB2 in the cloud, you have the same list of options and I chose AWS. You can only get DB2 Enterprise if you use IBM's SmartCloud but DB2 Workgroup Edition is available on AWS. This is $1.32 an hour, or you can Bring Your Own License if you have one already.

 

Grade: B+. IBM clearly outdoes Microsoft because of the variety of options. Whatever option you want, IBM has a solution for you. Awesome.

 

Google

 

I found the developer site at developer.google.com pretty easily, but it doesn't work unless you're on Google Chrome (yuck, Internal Server Error). That's ridiculous. I'm then faced with a vast number of options... and totally confused. Google has clearly a huge ecosystem but I have no clue where to start.

 

Some while later I have muddled my way through the confusing user interface and figure out how to use their App Engine to generate a simple web app. I'm surprised by the complexity compared to Force.com. That said, I know how very powerful apps can be built in this platform and I suspect it's just an up-skilling problem. Google could do much better with the user experience and on-boarding.

 

Grade: B. Fantastic potential and easy to get started if you know how, but a very unintuitive user interface.

 

SAP

 

I feel I've done enough research now to do a proper analysis of SAP's developer access so it's time to fire up a fresh browser. It's fair to bear in mind that SAP does have quite a broad portfolio of databases, though that could be considered confusing to developers.

 

First up, Sybase ASE (Sybase's relational RDBMS). I find the download page easily and I'm off downloading the software fast. There's not Microsoft's sparkle for making it easy to get started and the Sybase database is reminiscent of Oracle (amusing, given that it shares lineage with Microsoft SQL Server).  ASE is certified for use in AWS but I can't find pricing or an image.

 

For Sybase IQ (Sybase's columnar analytics database) it takes me longer to find the download page for a 30-day trial (who does 30-day trials of database software?!) but one of the forums has a direct link to the latest version of the software. There is also an Express Edition available and a Developer Center (no, wait, here's another) but the web pages are fragmented and confusing. I guess the design thinking team were asleep at their desk that day. I can't find any cloud based editions of IQ, nor any virtual images.

 

Now onto SAP's flagship database, SAP HANA. I google "SAP HANA Download" and start to feel rather nervous:

 

Screen Shot 2013-01-26 at 9.33.42 AM.png

It appears there is no free download of SAP HANA. You have to sign up to be a partner to be able to download it and pay a substantial yearly fee.

 

So I've found there is a 30-day trial of SAP HANA in the cloud. It's running an old version of SAP HANA 1.0 SP04 and you have to register for the SAP Community Network to get onto it and then wait 48-hours. If I want to get going with SAP HANA right now, I can pay $2500 a month to Amazon for HANA One, which is 60GB of HANA. Alternatively I can pay uCloud $207 a month for a 16GB instance, which will get me started. But I'm cheap so I'm done.

 

[edit, 01/28/13] - So there are developer editions of SAP HANA for AWS available here that cost $0.45/hour all-inclusive for a basic 16GB instance. If you buy for a year in advance that's $150 a month, which isn't so bad.

 

[edit, Greg Chase asked me to review NetWeaver Cloud. It's kinda out-of-scope but does run on SAP HANA]

 

NW Cloud is SAP's cloud-based app platform. I'm feeling hopeful here as I google "NetWeaver Cloud" and the first page says "Get your free SAP NetWeaver Cloud Developer Edition in 5 minutes". I click, eagerly. You need to register with SCN to get an account, which is fair enough and I then have to go through a set of screens to accept the product, after which I get the message "Access was denied due to export control restrictions."

 

Grade: D. Software availability is poor and web navigation confusing.

 

Conclusions

 

My first conclusion is that the on-premise database vendors (Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, SAP) are all at varied degrees of maturity with their developer experience. In order, it's 1) IBM, 2) Microsoft, 3) Oracle and 4) SAP. IBM in particular has a really good option of AWS cloud instances that make getting running as a developer easy, and on-premise software that's easy to download.

 

Of the cloud DB vendors (Salesforce.com, Google) - and in fact overall, we have a winner in Salesforce.com. I sat down with SAP co-CEO Jim Snabe last year and told him that he has to think about the developer experience as a process, which starts at a thought and ends at an app - and then obsess about making it easier. This is what Benioff has done with Salesforce. Every piece of unnecessary latency has been taken out of the process.

 

I'm not convinced that the Database.com platform can compete feature-feature with the SAP HANA and NetWeaver cloud platforms (let alone performance), but for startups and new people deciding what platform to use, that's often not a factor.

 

The hard truth is that SAP is way behind even Oracle, who allow a free easy download of their in-memory database. And that's without taking into account that what the ecosystem needs is a ton of small developer shops producing amazing apps. Those guys don't have time or patience for the process and cost involved in becoming a SAP HANA developer.

 

And the fact is this: if SAP wants to be a serious database player, it needs to get access to developers, fast. Here's what's needed:

 

1) A free download of SAP HANA for Linux and Windows and as a VMWare Image. Yes, I know it needs lots of RAM. RAM is cheap.

 

2) A for-sale developer appliance (Mac Mini or whatever) with 16GB RAM. Yes, it works, I've tried it.

 

3) A free developer cloud edition with 16GB RAM. Put a system together that pauses them and saves them to disk when not in use.

 

4) A revamp of this SCN website. It's buggy, hard to use and the database platform tools are all in different places with different user experience.

 

So, I'm throwing the gauntlet down. SAP wants to be the #2 database vendor by 2015, and to do this it needs as good a database developer experience as Force.com. Microsoft and Oracle are an interesting comparison, but they're not the bar.

 

By the way, you should follow me on Twitter.

C.J. Thomas

Why did SAP buy Sybase?

Posted by C.J. Thomas Jan 15, 2013

While watching the recording of last week's press conference for the launch of SAP HANA for ERP, I noticed something that already struck me a number of times before.

At 18 minutes into Hasso Plattner's introduction, a presentation slide comes up titled "Where We Are Today".

It reads:

 

"Thanks to the power of SQL, only one version of Suite will go forward using not only HANA but DB2, Oracle, MS-SQL, SAP-ASE as well."

 

That's all good, but what struck me here is "SAP-ASE" being mentioned last. This must be about "Sybase ASE" - I've seen it named "SAP Sybase ASE" elsewhere - but why is it mentioned after Oracle and Microsoft?

After all, SAP spent 5.8 billion to acquire Sybase in 2010. After the initial press coverage it got very quiet around Sybase. And that's odd: Sybase was supposed to be a strategic and database-centric acquisition for SAP. Yet SAP never seems to bother even mentioning Sybase.

A case in point is Hasso first mentioning Oracle, DB2 and MSSQL with ASE trailing at the end: it doesn't sound like he cares much about the Sybase databases. If Hasso or SAP did care you'd expect to see ASE always mentioned first. Okay, let it come second after HANA, but definitely the pecking order should be that all non-SAP databases only get into the picture after HANA and Sybase ASE.

 

It was not the first time this made me wonder. When was the last time you heard Sybase being promoted at a big SAP event?

 

So what has happened to Sybase? Their products had a good reputation, with Sybase ASE strong at Wall Street. Sybase had probably disappeared off most IT people's radar but with SAP blowing wind in Sybase's sails, great things could have happened. Sybase still has thousands of paying customers and SAP sure wants to keep them happy. Staying mum about Sybase will not achieve that.

 

I occasionally tried to discuss the Sybase issue at the big SAP events, but finding folks with opinions ain't easy. Most agree Sybase is invisible. Consensus on the reasons there is not:

 

  • Buying Sybase was a mistake since SAP is exclusively about HANA.

This one I got at the HANA booth at Sapphire (perhaps not surprisingly). The Sybase databases will be closed down and the developers reassigned to HANA or leave. This is not impossible but then there comes a point where SAP must write down those acquisition billions and I guess they'd rather avoid that (HP/Autonomy, anyone?). SAP may have gotten some technology from Sybase but if that really played a role in HANA you'd expect SAP to give that fact much more exposure, if only justify the acquisition.

 

  • SAP only took the Sybase mobile software but never knew what to do with Sybase databases which they just forgot about and now they're quietly circling the drain.

The rationale behind acquisitions is often more boneheaded than you'd think so this is a definite possibility. But also here a huge write down would be looming which makes this theory unlikely.

 

  • SAP just needed fresh new customers to sell SAP applications to.

At least that's how Bill McDermott's quote can be understood: "With this transaction, SAP will dramatically expand its addressable market by making available its market-leading solutions to hundreds of millions of mobile users, combining the world’s best business software with the world’s most powerful mobile infrastructure platform". This actually makes sense because as we all know the ERP market has become saturated and is more of a replacement market now. But also here you'd expect more rumble about Sybase if SAP wants to approach those customers.

 

  • Sybase was destined to be SAP's flagship database.

According to SAP at the time of the acquisition, "Sybase’s core database business will be enhanced by SAP in-memory technology to deliver integrated transactional and analytical capabilities, according to SAP." This sounds like putting the HANA concept inside Sybase. When you think of it, that actually makes a lot of sense: take some startup ideas and put them in a well-established proven product.

But there must have been a change of plan because HANA took the #1 spot. Maybe the Sybase technology was not as good as it seemed but SAP only found out after the deal?

 

  • SAP has a plan to use Sybase technology as part of HANA but does not want to give it exposure.

I would have believed this two years ago but if they still have not figured it out by now, it ain't gonna happen. Business Objects got much better visibility in comparison.

 

  • Sybase is SAP's secret weapon: while HANA is sold at premium price, Sybase will be deeply discounted to undercut Oracle, Microsoft and IBM for everyone who does not buy HANA.

Such a two-pronged strategy would make a lot of sense, especially because HANA seems very expensive for ERP (remember, you need to buy special hardware for HANA too). But SAP's corporate silence around Sybase doesn't add up. Even a great secret weapon does not sell itself. And from what I understand the pricing for Sybase is exactly the same as for Microsoft and IBM. So whatever the plan is, it's not this one.

 

 

In short I just don't see how the Sybase acquisition makes economic sense to SAP unless Sybase databases are either aggressively marketed/sold or the Sybase technology somehow gets a prominent place in HANA. In either case SAP would need to give it exposure or Sybase effectively dies as the silence erases it from memory. And that would make the acquisition a failure.

 

If SAP is forced to write down the Sybase acquisition that would be a public embarassment for SAP and surely it will not be appreciated by investors. It also calls into question SAP's technology vision.

 

So if I had the opportunity to ask Hasso a question, it would be this: you have stated repeatedly HANA is the future, but how does Sybase fit into this? Please enlighten us.

We've heard a lot about the SAP HANA database platform over the last 18 months since its release, and whilst we are in the quiet period between end of year and SAP releasing earnings reports in mid-January, the investors I talk to are talking about bookings between €350m and €400m for the year (as compared to €160m in the first full year, 2011), which probably makes SAP HANA the fastest growing database of all time, if not the fastest growing enterprise software product - ever.

 

But despite all this, SAP HANA still has relatively small market share. That's not to knock HANA, she's still a youngster compared to Oracle, which is now 34 years old. Oracle claims on its (albeit hyped) company fact-sheet that it has a massive 308,000 database customers. And SAP is now the #4 database vendor, behind Oracle (49%), IBM (20%) and Microsoft (17%) - numbers as per Gartner in 2011. I believe that this is going to start changing in 2013 - here's why:

 

Product Availability

 

First, we now have awesome Database & Technology platform availability across the existing portfolio:

 

- All SAP products now run on Sybase ASE - including ERP, CRM, BW, Solution Manager and the BI4 suite.

- All the Analytics Products - BI4 suite, Visual Intelligence, Predictive Analysis run on Sybase IQ and SAP HANA

- Some SAP products (SAP BW, SAP CRM and soon - SAP ERP) run on SAP HANA

- [Edit, 13 Jan 2013] Business Suite on HANA - ERP, CRM, PLM, EAM has now been released!

 

This means that if you want to, you can run all of your SAP apps on a SAP database. I don't believe there is a current software revision that requires a non-SAP database. What's on my wish-list for 2013?

 

- Support for some limited older SAP releases for Sybase ASE. Pick the top 5 or 10 most popular product combinations!

 

Pricing and Bundles

 

We will see what the pricing fairies have to offer when 2013 pricing is released but I'm confident SAP is going to ensure that customers can take advantage of this availability if they want to! We have some of these already:

 

- Aggressive price for SAP HANA scenarios: runtime licenses are 25% of an Enterprise license and BW on HANA is priced at 37%.

- Impressive Analytics bundles for new BI customers, at 20% in addition to your BI Suite license cost, including SAP Data Integrator and Sybase IQ.

- [Edit, 13 Jan 2013] Business Suite on HANA has been released and is priced by % application value! Awesome!

- [Edit, 13 Jan 2013] Business Suite on HANA customers can do partial migrations and get Sybase ASE included for the rest of the portfolio.

 

What's on my pricing wish-list for 2013? Lots of things!

 

- Database & Technology bundles for all a customer's needs e.g. ERP on HANA customers get Sybase ASE for the rest of the portfolio included. If SAP are clever, they will make these bundles easy to understand and buy. If they are really clever, they will make it the same price as Oracle!

- Enterprise License Agreements (ELAs) that are subscription-based for the whole D&T portfolio as a percentage of license price.

- Enterprise License Agreements for a fixed amount for unlimited usage in large customers.

- Improved mechanisms for resellers

 

All of this should mean that if customers want to buy SAP Database, they will be able to do so in a flexible and beneficial way that allows them to get off the 11% that they currently pay SAP for Oracle licenses.

 

New Features & Functions

 

2012 was a pretty amazing year of features and functions for SAP Databases, including:

 

- SAP HANA SP04 and SP05 which introduced High Availability, proper Backup & Recovery, transactional system support and Disaster Tolerance.

- SAP HANA XS Application Services and Portal with improved developer tools.

- SAP HANA Predictive Analytics Library for in-memory predictives.

- Sybase ASE 15.7 with a plethora of new features including compression and performance for SAP applications.

- Sybase IQ 15.4 with more features including improved compression.

- Improvements in portfolio TCO with Solution Manager

 

I hear there is a small army of developers working on this in 2013 and I've got a big wish-list here too!

 

- Aggressive new PAL functions to allow more complex modeling in SAP Predictive Analysis

- 3rd party tool certification including Informatica, SPSS, Cognos etc.

- Data Aging between SAP HANA and Sybase IQ to allow petabyte stores at a lower price point

- Single SAP Database Studio to monitor all products

- Increased SAP HANA maturity with support for larger systems and better transactional performance

- Integration of Sybase ASE, SAP HANA, Sybase IQ and Hadoop into a single RDBMS portfolio with clear delineation

- Better roadmaps - todays are just marketechture (login required).

 

If I'm being honest, I doubt there is anything on this list that isn't already on the product backlog and the rate at which these guys are producing software is pretty amazing, so I expect to see this all next year!

 

Marketing and Awareness

 

The SAP marketing peeps had a lot to get on with to explain the Sybase acquisition, new SAP HANA product, availability of SAP HANA for BW and overall database portfolio in 2012. Now in 2013, there's a lot to get on with!

 

- SAP ERP on HANA will be announced soon, and getting messaging by industry and by use case is incredibly important. What does it mean to customers' businesses and where is the value?

- Increasing awareness of how SAP HANA is a mission-critical database now with all the usual features/functions like HA, DR etc.

- A lot of people don't know the information in this blog, like how Sybase ASE runs all of the SAP portfolio including SRM, SCM etc.

- Focusing on developer awareness and user groups to get new developers on the SAP/Sybase portfolio.

- Focusing on my wish-list below too!

- Creating a really clear brand for not just HANA but also Database as a whole and making SAP a better choice than Oracle for customers.

 

Lots to get on with here then!

 

Making the Technology Easy to Adopt

 

When I discuss this topic, people are often dismissive because Oracle, IBM and Microsoft have such a stranglehold on DBAs and CIOs. In order to get mass-market adoption, SAP needs to make the technology easy to adopt. They've done some of this already:

 

- Free developer licensing for SAP HANA, Sybase IQ and Sybase ASE with click-through licenses.

- Free Hasso Plattner Institute learning courses.

- The SAP HANA Academy - free E-Learning for SAP HANA. I was involved in this early on and I think it's an amazing project that SAP have done a great job with.

- Migration tools for ASE and HANA. Some of these exist already, and I believe SAP are also working on an Upgrade/Unicode Conversion/Migration tool that does everything in one step - this will be a major step forward.

- Synchronized Maintenance Schedules. One of the major cost contributors for Enterprise Software is the decoupled maintenance schedule of Database and Application. With Sybase ASE, SAP HANA and SAP Business Suite, you can update the Database and Application at the same time, saving the cost of doing testing and change management twice.

 

It's clear to me that SAP need to do even more in this space because adoption is by far the biggest hurdle. Here's my wish-list for 2013:

 

- SAP HANA Developer downloads. Gary Elliott from my team makes a great case for this. SAP need to make HANA a 64-bit Windows 7 download for developers. It exists internally. Release it please!

- SAP HANA Developer systems. SAP needs to team up with an OEM like my SAP HANA Mac Mini that can be purchased pre-installed. Developers like real hardware.

- More migration tools and agile delivery plans. Let's push the Systems Integrators to make it easy!

- Automated parameters for Sybase ASE - more work can be done here to configure this database automatically to reduce TCO.

- Take the HANA Academy to all D&T products including Sybase ASE and IQ.

- Create SAP Database & Technology TCO tools to help CIOs understand the cost reductions possible.

 

Final Words

 

SAP has already done an amazing job of building a database business from almost nothing in 2010, to $750m in 2011 and $1.1bn in 2012. Curiously, Sybase 2010 revenues were a total of $1.2bn, of which $880m were said to be database-related. Did they decrease in 2011 or are the numbers just counted differently?

 

To really punch its weight in this business (and meet its ambitions of being the #2 database vendor by 2015), it needs to grow 300% to a whopping $4bn from the 2011 number. To do this is really has to fire on all cylinders:

 

- Increase the overall capital database market with innovative products that add value.

- Eat market share not just from Microsoft and the smaller vendors, but also from Oracle, IBM and Teradata. The 2012 statistics will be fascinating to see, when they are available.

- Capitalise on the SAP install base to grab land from Oracle, IBM and Teradata.

- Sell into the non-SAP analytics market with HANA and Sybase IQ bundles

- Build the cloud application and HANA application portfolios

 

But to my mind - one thing is for sure: if SAP plays its cards right this year, 2013 will be a pivotal year for SAP Databases and they could break the $2bn barrier for license revenue. I'm looking forward to my small part in it :-)

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