As part of a concerted effort to make the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform more appealing to developers, SAP this week announced a more modular approach to exposing SAP HANA services in the cloud. SAP is also moving to open an application store for SAP HANA applications offered by both SAP and third-party developers.
With the services available in three configurations, organizations can now opt to use a complete set of SAP HANA AppServices, a subset called SAP HANA DBServices, or the more basic SAP HANA Infrastructure Services. Dr. Vishal Sikka, a member of the Executive Board of SAP AG responsible for products and innovation, says that now that SAP HANA has emerged as a cloud platform, different classes of organizations -- depending on the requirements of their company -- will want to consume SAP HANA services in various ways. These services can then be combined as organizations see fit, to create a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment for building and deploying cloud applications.
The SAP HANA APIs will be published shortly, including APIs for SAP Business Suite and SuccessFactors running on the SAP HANA platform. By the time of the upcoming SAP Sapphire conference in June, Sikka says that both the Ariba and SuccessFactors software-as-a-service (SaaS) application environments will be running on the SAP HANA platform.
According to Sikka, 1,237 start-up companies located in 57 countries are already building applications on SAP HANA, and 60 of those applications are currently live. Obviously, not all of those applications are going to be on the SAP cloud. However, because SAP HANA is emerging as a platform, SAP is again changing the way it describes the SAP HANA cloud platform, now referred to as the SAP Cloud powered by SAP HANA.
Part of the appeal of partnering with SAP is the new-found willingness that the company has to promote third-party applications in what Sikka says is a world where software today is incredibly interconnected.
SAP is not the only major enterprise vendor with similar ambitions, which is creating something of a race between the larger vendors in enterprise IT to develop an ecosystem around their APIs. Over time, those APIs might ultimately lead to a world in which organizations simply compose business services by combining various application services by invoking published APIs. For that vision of enterprise IT to become an everyday reality might take a while longer. However, it’s already becoming clear in what general direction enterprise IT is heading as the API economy continues to mature.