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SAP Hana Platform Converging Application and Data Processing

The company known originally as "Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung" (but these days known as SAP AG) hosted its Sapphire Now and TechEd developer and customer event in the Spanish capital city of Madrid. The firm's biggest announcement of the day centered on the release of the Hana platform support pack stack 5 (SPS5) for transactional and analytical applications.

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The firm appears to be on a mission to position this in-memory analytics platform as a sort of bridge across the architectural layers between application and data processing.

Essentially this means that this technology is designed to converge database services for transaction, analytics, text, and predictive processing together with application services for the application server, planning, rules, and event stream processing within one in-memory based architecture.

Aggressive Innovation

SAP explains that Hana SPS5 will also support large-scale data center deployments with new support for availability, disaster recovery, and security. The firm is happy to be labeled as "aggressively fostering" open innovation with a new certification program planned to support third-party business intelligence (BI), ETL, and back-up/recovery application.

SAP executive board lead for technology and innovation Dr. Vishal Sikka talks of Hana now trying to eliminate the "inherent latency and complexity" that exist in today's application architectures.

This new release presents a single environment for transactional (OLTP) and analytical (OLAP) data processing. As such, Hana will present both a read-optimized column store suited for OLAP applications and a write-optimized row store suited for OLTP applications.

Embedded Predictive Algorithms

Even when SAP talks about developer-centric application-level technologies, the firm is never far from comments relating to data analytics and its touch point upon the data stack. The firm says that Hana will continue to expand on "embedded predictive algorithms" to enable enterprises to perform segmentation and clustering analyses to identify profitable customers and improve upsell opportunities.

Specific developer messages from SAP are as follows:

  • Hana will support predictive model markup language (PMML) for the integration and sharing of predictive models.
  • Extended application services in Hana are designed to deliver native application server capabilities as a service to help developers develop 2 and 2½ tier applications within the Hana platform using HTLM5, JavaScript, SQLScript, XML/A, JSON, and ODATA.
  • Additionally, these services can be exposed for consumption by device-based applications or by other application servers.
  • Developers can access embedded algorithms and business functions through extended application service capabilities via SQLScript or JavaScript. This new level of support is hoped to make it easier for developers to build applications that embed advanced analytics.
  • Business rules management in Hana will be a core component of the extended application services built into SAP HANA.

This last point on business rules management allows developers to add business rules to their applications without embedding these directly within software codes. These rules are designed to be "easily maintained" by end users without writing code and through a simple interface. It will have the ability to simulate, mine for trends and patterns, and modify physical data based on actions.

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