SAP: Days of the database are numbered

The demand for cloud computing and faster access to data will lead to a future where companies don't need a database, says a top SAP executive
Written by David Binning, Contributor

A top executive at SAP has predicted the eventual demise of the database, as solutions that allow for information to be stored and accessed directly via servers and other forms of hardware begin to mature.

Speaking on Tuesday at the SAP TechEd 2009 event in Vienna, SAP executive board member Jim Hagemann Snabe told an audience of press and analysts that as businesses move increasingly towards an "in-demand" world, there will be more demand for solutions that enable information to be accessed faster and faster.

"I can imagine a future where people don't even need a database," said Hagemann Snabe, who heads up the business solutions and technology division at SAP, one of the world's largest database developers.

In April, SAP announced a partnership with Californian data-analytics company Teradata to work on products for in-memory data management and other technology. In-memory databases eliminate disk access by storing and manipulating data in the main memory, and do not require caching.

SAP is working on similar projects with renowned Berlin-based technology think tank Handelsplatt.

Hagemann Snabe said SAP is rethinking the traditional database architecture to reflect the growth of technologies such as cloud computing and the move towards on-demand services, as well as the more collaborative approach to solutions development being demonstrated by the open-source fraternity.

SAP also announced in Vienna that it had joined a number of projects with the Apache Software Foundation, an independent group focused on open-source software initiatives. The software company said it wants to foster a more open relationship between SAP and developers.

However, Hagemann Snabe quipped that the company was not likely to be getting into the business of "free software" any time soon.

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