SAP puts HANA in Microsoft Azure in latest distribution play

The companies are certifying SAP's HANA in-memory database to run development, test and production workloads on Microsoft's Azure public cloud, including SAP S/4HANA.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Microsoft and SAP revealed a new support and distribution partnership as SAP kicks off its annual Sapphire Now user conference in Orlando, Florida.

More specifically, the companies are certifying SAP's HANA in-memory database to run development, test and production workloads on Microsoft's Azure public cloud, including SAP S/4HANA.

Additionally, SAP's Ariba, Concur, Fieldglass, and SuccessFactors applications will be integrated with Microsoft's Office 365 services in several ways.

For Office 365 shops, these integrations should streamline certain tasks and make it so employees don't always need to traverse from one piece of software to another.

For instance with Ariba, teams will be able to collaborate inside Word and Excel and speak with each other with Skype voice calls. With Concur, things like flight, hotel, and transportation recommendations will be correlated with work-related travel plans found in Outlook. And the Fieldglass tie up will allow admins to approve work items right from Outlook via an Office add-in.

The companies also announced plans to bolster management and security capabilities for SAP Fiori mobile apps using Microsoft Intune. Fiori is SAP's user interface to unify its various applications and deliver a consumer-like experience.

The Fiori and Intune integration, as well as the Office 365 integrations with SAP apps, are slated for availability in the third quarter of this year, according to a statement.

For Microsoft, the SAP integration is in line with the company's platform strategy of partnering with a bevy of companies despite past competition. It also helps Office 365 appeal to current SAP customers.

"We are the platform provider so others can make things happen and build things," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during his fireside chat with SAP CEO Bill McDermott. "That is what comes naturally for us."

The SAP integrations also make Azure more in line with Amazon Web Services, which already lets developers run SAP HANA in the public cloud.

For SAP, the German enterprise software giant has been building integrations with Microsoft for several years. Two years ago the companies announced another round of core app integrations, including support for the the developer edition of the SAP HANA platform on Azure. But with today's announcement, customers are getting access to a few more Azure features, such as its improved security and management capabilities.

Also: SAP's Sapphire Now challenge: Selling empathy over economics | Apple, SAP forge enterprise app pact for iPhone, iPad | SAP off to a slow start in the US, but cloud revenue grows in Q1 | IBM, SAP partner to couple HANA, cloud, cognitive computing

Meanwhile, core SAP business applications have been certified on Amazon's cloud since 2011. Last night that partnership was expanded with the deployment of more SAP software on top of AWS, including SAP BusinessObjects.

Back to Sapphire, the SAP partner parade continued with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich joining the keynote stage to tout Intel's compute and IoT solutions and how they link into partner platforms for business insights.

"Data is becoming the biggest commodity out there for businesses, and these two companies are married together with data," Krzanich said. "I can't imagine two companies that would be better suited to partner to bring these solutions to market."

McDermott echoed the admiration, adding that it "speaks volumes for SAP's relevance to have a company like Intel as a partner."

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