SAP, Oracle smackdown gets real

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With a sarcastic wish for good luck tossed from Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison to SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner last year for the latter's declaration that his company planned to build an in-memory database to rival Oracle--and replace it internally--a juicy industry smackdown stirred. This week it got real.

Ellison actually suggested that Plattner must be on drugs. If so, they must have been quite something, because SAP this week announced that its business suite of applications would soon be running on such a database, known as HANA.

Forbes reported that Plattner says he's enjoying the fact that rival Larry Ellison of Oracle "is not smiling" over SAP's news that its enterprise software suite will now run on SAP's own HANA database.

Plattner set out to re-invent SAP's R/3 ERP system about six years ago. One goal was that all data would reside "in-memory." Important requirements were that it included massive parallel processing and dynamic transactions.

SAP says it is now the only provider of an integrated family of business applications that captures and analyzes transactional data in real time on a single in-memory platform. The company said it remains committed to support its customers' choice of database technologies and vendors.

Ovum analysts said that the SAP Business Suite on HANA has the potential to be a game changer by making SAP much more relevant to its customers. But in the near term, SAP Business Suite on HANA should be seen as opportunistic upgrade for existing customers or a greenfield opportunity for new ones.

Ovum also said there were clear efficiency benefits to embedding analytics with transaction processing and that the ability to generate data views in real time should trim database footprint requirements and simplify the design of applications running on top of SAP's Business Suite.

SAP has positioned HANA as a big data solution. In 2011, it scaled the database with 8TB of RAM, which supported up to 40TB of uncompressed data.

For more:
- see the Forbes article

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