SAP's HANA goes into ramp up, Accenture partners on Business ByDesign

SAP shows HANA customers, Accenture says it will become a Business ByDesign partner.
Written by Dennis Howlett, Contributor

SAP has announced that it is going through customer ramp up with its HANA in-memory technology. During the conference call, Dr Vishal Sikka, SAP CTO said that during early builds, it was able to assemble a 10 blade machine for $532,000. He also said that in testing, the company was able to complete analysis using multiple data sources amounting to 460 billion records in less than 60 seconds: "That only required a 3TB machine," said Dr Sikka. SAP reports that:

Very complex reports and queries against 500 billion point-of-sale records were run in less than one minute, thanks to the unique multi-core processing algorithms. This result was achieved on a system with 10 blades and 32 cores each.

SAP HANA scales linearly with performance proportional to hardware improvements so in the future customers will be able to deploy systems with 1,000 or more cores that enable complex real-time analytics.

SAP has mastered massive parallelism for enterprise applications (such as aging) with its in-memory computing engine, harnessing these benefits for business applications.

Describing the impact he sees, Dr Sikka said: "Over the last decade several advances have happened in hardware that have been quite dramatic in nature that force a once in a generation rethinking of the software layer above the hardware."

During the call, Christian Ritter of Hilti talked about early results suggesting the company would save 700-800 hours, the equivalent of one full time employee, in dealing with certain forms of analysis. He confirmed this was one of many possible time saving scenarios but is expecting HANA to prove 'transformational.'

SAP is currently nurturing early customers onto HANA but has said this will eventually be rolled out to partners for their implementation. In a message that acts as counterpoint to Oracle's one-stop-shop approach, SAP is partnering with Cisco, Dell, Intel, Fujitsu, IBM and H-P on HANA implementations.

The company chose not to reveal pricing but it is my understanding that SAP is looking to build a pipeline out of 40-60 of its top customers. Pricing will likely be value based and that it is looking for an all-in figure of around $10 million per deal. Each deal will be evaluated based upon requirements and during the call, the company confirmed that each engagement will be unique. Apart from Hilti, SAP named Coca-Cola and the Indian based Fortune Group as early customers.

Accenture partners on ByDesign

In other news Sukesh Choubey, Accenture lead in India said during an interview on SAP TechEd TV that Accenture is partnering with SAP for Business ByDesign. This comes on top of earlier news where I noted that Infosys is considering establishing a BYD unit. It will act as reseller, implementer and solution developer. Accenture will likely use its client relationships to offer BYD as a solution for its large SAP customers that have subsidiaries where BYD might make a sensible and economic fit.

This is an interesting move and fulfills the promise of a question I asked Henning Kagermann, then CEO SAP. At the time, he said the company would not push BYD into subsidiaries despite it being an obvious quick win. The argument ran that large companies would request SAP implement in sites where there are unique local requirements and that was not seen as economical. Today, BYD is available for US, UK, France, Germany, India and China. Again, I understand SAP has plans to roll out BYD to a clutch of other countries in 2011. This current short term lack of global distribution will crimp Accenture's ability to make the offering available to all its client subsidiaries but gives it a fair shot at ramping this business.

The question that is bound to be on everyone's lips: will the large scale partners deliver on SAP's vision of implementing BYD in a cost effective manner? Another question: how quickly will SAP deliver enough in the SDK to meet the customizing needs of large customer subsidiaries?

These are questions I anticipate will arise during next week's SAP Influencer Summit being held 9th December in Santa Clara.

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