SAP HANA is arguably a leader in the Big Data, in-memory database market. A modern, yet backwards compatible RDBMS using ANSI standard relational SQL. Rapid adoption is possible due to the familiarity by masses of experienced DBAs and database developers. Unlike NOSQL, the learning curve and tools are fairly intuitive.
Working applications built on top of any RDBMS can quite easily be upgraded to use this powerful enterprise database with minimal application infrastructure or design changes. No need to learn whole new and sometimes proprietary programming languages or to run the risk and high cost of a complete re-write in order to fit and get the most out of the underlying NOSQL database model.
So SAP has a winner … but this database is really only practical and cost justified for VERY high volume and VERY big company needs. What about mainstream and entry level small to medium business needs? Will the SAP purchase of Sybase eventually take hold and grab some market share from incumbent database vendor giants like Oracle ( Oracle & MySQL ), IBM ( DB2 ) and Microsoft ( SQL Server )? Will they be able to crack the top 5 that also includes PostgreSQL ? I think the answer may be “it depends”. I, for one, would not count them out based on their database strategy I am seeing starting to take shape.
What are their strengths and challenges in gaining market share? Well one of their greatest advantages is SAP “run your business” market penetration and share. They can continue to entice customers to switch underlying databases if, for example they maintain virtually transparent compatibility while including an SAP database for FREE with their core ERP and other enterprise software applications. In my opinion, the top 3 action items for SAP to gain marketshare in the mainstream database space:
- Leverage the large existing SAP customer base. It is far less expensive to both a vendor ( and customer ) to cross sell ( or buy ) additional products & services from a one-stop-shop then it is to acquire new customers ( or get products & support from multiple vendors ).
- Make it free … at least for a conversion from a competing database vendor for an extended period like the first 1 to 2 years of use. Include complimentary ( free ) database vendor conversion tools and/or services.
- Promote and support an eco-system of value-added third party tools that make the switch and ongoing use as seamless as possible. From what I can see based on recent activites, SAP is investing in and improving their Partner programs. FinditEZ is, for example, now profiled along with others on their new SAP Analytics Extensions portal.
SAP’s biggest challenge though is not in the quality of their mainstream database systems … we all know that SQL Server started out as the Windows version of Sybase ASE. In fact, in our recent development efforts @ FinditEZ to support SAP Sybase ASE we found the system views and RDBMS meta data to still be virtually identical to SQL Server. I think SAP’s biggest challenge is the need to either:
- Narrow down and focus on a smaller sub-set of databases. At the very least, make it very clear which database is best for a given workload or size.
- — or — Dump some of the lessor used databases to focus on one or maybe just two mainstream database products perhaps with various editions that allow component install/customization for a particular workload/configuration like all of the other major players do. KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid 😉
Personally, I would go with just SAP ASE and SQL Anywhere for example. Migrate away from and drop Sybase IQ, MaxDB and ADS ( Advantage Database Server ) products. This would streamline both ongoing SAP database team development efforts and support needs. This, in turn, would cut vendor costs, allowing them to focuse more resources on innovation in just one or two products … AND, more importantly, would make customer choices much clearer and simpler.
At FinditEZ, we recently chose to add support for a limited subset of SAP HANA, ASE, SQL Anywhere and IQ … and the only reason we even included IQ is because it was virtually identical in implementation to SQL Anywhere AND SAP is continuing to promote this database in its portfolio roadmap.
What do you think? Do they have a shot? At least one thing is for sure, the next couple of years will be interesting with the “new” kid ( Sybase ) returning to the block.
The Information Technology industry is known for heavy doses of acronyms and constantly changing terms. It may be one of the reasons we, as technical resources, find it difficult to communicate with others ( or for them to communicate with us labeled as “geeks” speaking “Greek” to them )?
Think about recent trends and topics for example. Beyond the typical “first letter of each word” acronyms like “LAMP” stack or “WYSIWYG” … how is someone either learning the English language or not familar with technical terms supposed to know these mean “Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl” stack and “What You See Is What You Get“? Oh really? Why don’t we just call the “LAMP” stack the open source stack for example?
On top of that, we often use multiple terms that essentially mean the same thing … like “Business Intelligence” and “Analytics“. WTH? (ha)
Seriously though, when did Business Intelligence or BI begin to fall out of favor and/or why does it appear to be increasingly replaced by the broader term Analytics when referring to software products designed for this space? Is it the same thing, or something different all together?
Meriam-Webster online dictionary definitions:
Business Intelligence – Sorry, the word you’re looking for can’t be found in the dictionary. There are several possible reasons why the search failed:
- You searched for a word using nonstandard orthography that completely stumped our spell-checker.
- You searched for a word that hasn’t been entered into the dictionary yet.
… OK, fair enough. Not a real word according to the English dictionary … go figger, we computer scientists, the software media or technology investors came up with a new term to define a topic, yet again. No problem, lets try:
Analytics – the method of logical analysis. Where analysis is defined as “a careful study of something to learn about its parts, what they do, and how they are related to each other.“
… well, that seems clear enough and does seem to translate into basically what we know it to be in the technology world as “the use of electronic information stored, typically in a database or contents of various files, combined with tools to access, parse to find relationships or patterns by creating summarized data files, reports, graphs or other visual presentation of this data in a meaninful way for better decision making.”
So, my question is, why did we need to come up with the new “BI” term instead of just using “Analytics” in the first place … a term, that according to Webster, has been around and in use for over 400 years since around circa 1590?
The reason I ask, relates to a description of what our suite of tools was designed primarily for … that being a change impact analysis tool … for all major databases and reporting tools used in “business intelligence” and/or “(data) analytics” software stacks.
Which term would better describe our productivity software for developers? This is important to the extent of which terms should be used for blog posts and web content … so that when someone is searching for a change impact analysis tool, FinditEZ gets “found” as a tool that may be of value for a developer, DBA or project manager whenever they plan a change to their enterprise software’s underlying data model?
Maybe the answer is “either” … or more specifically, perhaps Business Intelligence is just one component of Anaytics software? … that being the reporting tools part only? What do you think?
Did you know that 75% of the Total Cost of Ownership for a software application over its useful lifespan is spent on enhancements? Enhancements include:
- perfective maintenance – adding new functionality to respond to changing business needs;
- adaptive maintenance – porting to new hardware or a different/new operating systems with no functional changes to keep pace with underlying technology advances;
- corrective maintenance – bug fixes and corrupt data repair due to defects
Research also shows that the average developer spends 50% of their time just scanning through code to understand and determine how or where to fix and change it. This integral part of the enhancement process is virtually an everyday software worker task called impact analysis.
With some simple math, we can calculate the average time spent annually by a software developer on software change impact analysis as follows:
- The average developer spends 75% of their time, or 2000 x .75 = 1500 hours a year working on enhancements.
- A typical software developer spends 50% of that time, or 1500 x .5 = 750 hours a year performing impact analysis.
If the developer does not have the right tools to perform this task efficiently and accurately, that is costing you a whole lot of money.
Find it EZ is a productivity improvement tool designed specifically for change impact analysis. With proven, reported savings of between 40% and 80% of time normally spent on analysis activities, software developers are able to do more, faster and with more accurate results leading to even more savings with better quality code delivered. Calculate just how fast Find it EZ can pay for itself, with ROI in as little as a single software enhancement ( within a week ), it really is that good.
Find it easy to save time and money!