The last thing the world needs is another database.

That was the sentiment in enterprise computing at the time SAP HANA was built. But SAP built it anyway, and for one big reason. It could do the job of at least two — an OLTP database for online transaction processing (SAP’s ERP system, for example) and an OLAP database for online analytical processing.

Before then if you wanted to find out something like how many blue widgets versus green widgets you sold at this time on this day last year, you had to take data from the OLTP system, make a copy and move it to an OLAP system where it could be analyzed.

While being able to do that was revolutionary at some point in time, not so much anymore. In fact it’s kind of cumbersome.

Keep it Simple

“It creates an absurd level of complexity,” Steve Lucas, president of SAP Platform Solutions told CMSWire.

He drove the point home explaining that HANA could handle transactional processing, analytical processing, big data processing via Hadoop and predictive analytics from one place.

“We all know that Hadoop is a mainstay in the enterprise,” he added. ”Anyone who doesn’t is called Oracle.”

Growing Connections

And while the jab at Oracle was somewhat in jest, the importance of Hadoop to SAP can’t be overstated, especially today as SAP HANA service pack 10 (SPS10) for the SAP HANA platform took the main stage in Nice, France at the SAPinsider HANA 2015 conference.

This release of HANA was built to help enterprises to connect with the Internet of Things (IoT) at enterprise scale, manage big data more effectively, further extend high availability of data across the enterprise and develop new applications that spur innovation.

It allows ERP, Enterprise 2.0 (Intranet, Social, Wikis, Community Platforms and Blogs) and Enterprise 3.0 (IoT and analytics) data to coexist in HANA and to be analyzed all at once in near real time. As a result, managers can make more informed decisions at the speed of business.

SAP HANA SPS 10 geared toward big data and IoT more specifically provides:

A new remote data synchronization feature so that companies can more easily sync data between remote locations at the edge of the network and the data center. This empowers developers to build IoT and data-intensive mobile apps that leverage SAP HANA remote data synchronization between the enterprise and remote locations via the SAP SQL Anywhere.

This is meant to enable remote workplaces like restaurants and stores to feed data to HANA where it can be processed, analyzed and fed back to a remote site. With that information, a salesperson, for example, can make a recommendation based on not only your purchase history but also what you’ve liked in social media, and where you’re spending time in the store.

Big data crunching solutions like Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark can be easily leveraged in the process.

Actionable Data

SAP customers will also be able to collect and analyze IoT data for performing critical tasks at distant locations including predictive maintenance on ships, pumping stations and in mines with low bandwidth or intermittent connections or even while offline.

Learning Opportunities

If you thought ERP systems were boring, think again. “They’re cool,” said Lucas.

Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research, likes SAP’s progress in this regard.

“A year ago mentioning Hadoop in SAP circles was a bad word, it is remarkable and applaudable to see SAP turning the corner here and supporting the most prominent enabling database technology for next generation applications. Spark was already mentioned at Sapphire and will be key for SAP to make the future offering fly,” he wrote in a post analyzing SAP’s latest HANA update. He also noted that supporting both Cloudera’s and Hortonworks’ Hadoop distros is the right move.

It’s something that we’ve said before and we’ll say it again, playing nice with everyone vs. taking sides is the new rule.

SAP also released an updated version of its analytics suite (SAP Predictive Analytics suite version 2.2). Lucas said that SAP HANA text mining now extends to the SQL syntax, making it easier for developers to build next-generation applications. The suite also includes new spatial processing enhancements of SAP HANA incorporating multidimensional objects and spatial expressions in SAP HANA models or SQLScript. As a result, developers will be able to incorporate engaging visualizations in their business applications.

New algorithms have also been added to the SAP Predictive Analytics Suite predictive library (APL) and it is better integrated with SAP HANA views. In addition to that SAP has added improved R integration and model-comparison capabilities.

Bundle SAP’s big data and analytics capabilities together with SAP Lumira and you can make users look like data scientists without having to have degrees in stats, said Lucas.

SAP and Xbox in the Same Sentence?

Mueller said that SAP HANA, which is now 4.5 years old, is growing up fast and that this release is a good growth spurt. L

Lucas is just as playful, but far more dramatic, in his metaphor (or is it a simile?). “HANA is Xbox,” he said. “S4 is our game store.”

Lucas is betting that the enterprise is eager to play.