SAP Crafts Data Ecosystem Running on HANA in the Cloud

Michael Vizard
Jun. 05 2014, 02:45PM EDT

SAP plans to create an ecosystem based on the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform running in the cloud through which developers via gateways can gain access to data residing in SAP Financials, SuccessFactors, Ariba and a host of other third-party applications.

As part of that effort, SAP is making available a broad swath of tools that developers can use to build those applications; they can also continue to use any number of third-party development environments.

Outlined at the SAP Sapphire Now 2014 conference, the tools SAP is building will give developers deeper access to new model-driven programming environments to manipulate all the raw data stored in a HANA system.

SAP Platform Solutions Group president Steve Lucas says that rather than creating a cloud platform where developers get no access to data, or information on data from a customer relationship management application, SAP aspires to give developers access to more enterprise data than any other cloud platform.

To facilitate the development of applications on the SAP HANA cloud, SAP plans to create an integrated development environment (IDE) around the River programming tools it produced to build SAP applications that would run on HANA. While developers can use Java to build applications on SAP HANA, River is designed to give developers deeper access to HANA functionality.

In his capacity as head of the Hasso Plattner Institute, SAP supervisory chairman and company co-founder Hasso Plattner says that because SAP HANA gives developers access to raw data rather than requiring them to manage aggregates of data to create applications, it will be possible to create a more model-driven programming environment that developers can use to directly invoke a broad array of algorithms running in memory.

Thus far, SAP has 1,500 startups working on applications that run on SAP HANA, with 150 of them already available in the SAP Store. Lucas notes that in addition to gaining access to data stored in SAP and third-party applications, SAP also gives developers access to the hybrid e-commerce software it acquired last year to allow developers to sell their applications online. Right now, SAP estimates there are 25,000 HANA developers, a number the company plans to double by the end of this year. To help make that happen, SAP is making its Fiori user interface design tools available for free as part of a larger move to simplify doing business with the company. In the future, Lucas says that SAP also plans to make visual development tools available on top of HANA as well.

This week SAP also released version 8 of the core SAP HANA platform, which, along with adding support for Red Hat Linux, includes enhancements to HANA development tools that make it easier to decouple business logic and data in the HANA platform.

By definition, Lucas says HANA in the cloud is a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment that developers can access today using cloud-based IDEs that SAP already provides. SAP will enable other providers of PaaS environments to run on HANA as well. For developers of mobile computing applications, SAP is positioning SAP HANA in the cloud as a back-end service they can access via the SAP Mobile 3.0 platform.

While it’s clear that SAP may have as much share of mind with developers as it does with CIOs, it certainly understands the value of the data in its applications. 

Michael Vizard

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