Liveblog: SAPPHIRE Keynotes from Hasso Plattner and Vishal Sikka

Hasso Plattner SAP

Hasso Plattner at a previous SAPPHIRE

ORLANDO — SAP’s annual SAPPHIRE user conference enters the homestretch Wednesday morning with a keynote session from SAP chairman and chief software advisor Hass Plattner and CTO Vishal Sikka, the company’s two chief technology strategists.

While co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe Tuesday outlined the company’s business plans, and certainly didn’t shy away from the technology aspects, expect Plattner and Sikka to delve deeper into some of the big topics of this show — including business analytics, the cloud, in-memory computing and mobility.

The keynote kicks off about 9:00 am Eastern Time on Wednesday. Join us after the jump for an as-it-happens commentary from the event in our liveblog.

  SAPPHIRENOW Vishal Sikka Keynote and Hasso Platner Keynotes (05/18/2011) 
Good morning. The opening video here at SAPPHIRE has given way to Miles O’Brien hosting the event, and the morning session is underway.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:12 
O’Brien introduces Vishal Sikka and hands it over to a video to bring Sikka out. Video talking up using analytics and in-memory to answer “what if?” questions in realtime.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:14 
And with that, out comes Sikka.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:14 
Sikka’s presentation is titled “SAP HANA: The new Reality,” and is apparently presented by “Dr. Vishal Sikka & You.” Interesting.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:15 
Sikka arguing that in memory, cloud and mobility can be done “without disruption.”
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:17 
Sikka going through last year’s releases of BusinessObjects and NetWeaver, calling both the “best ever” releases.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:19 
Sybase purchase has been “after a year, an incredible success … an amazing experience to bring the Unwired platform.”
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:20 
Given Sikka’s wide focus on technology, why is he focused on HANA today? “It is the foundation, it is the basis of our renewal. Technologically, it is the base of what we do.”
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:20 
“Bringing a new technology is not a matter of just bringing a new technology in, but also of simplifying what we’ve been doing in the process.” HANA encouraged that kind of a “once in a lifetime” transformation.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:22 

“Instead of me talking to you about this, I would like to request your voice to speak about what you’ve been able to do.” I guess that’s where the “You” comes into the equation.

Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:24 
“You” apparently is a series of customer videos, starting with Tom Greene, CIO of Colgate-Palmolive.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:25 
Jurgen Sturm of Bosch-Siemens in a video detailing how his company used HANA to do ad hoc simulations and modeling. “Things that would have taken us days are now done in seconds.”
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:29 
John Heller, CIO of Caterpillar talks about how troubleshooting much faster with in-memory, dealing with millions of rows of data in a way that “just wasn’t possible” before.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:31 
“It is possible not only to do realtime analytics on operational data, but also reduce the load on the operational systems while you do it,” Sikka says.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:35 

Sikka’s sharing some examples of using real-time analytics on the “open waters” of non-SAP data stores.

Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:39 
NRI from Japan gathering taxi cab data from all over Japan to analyze traffic jams and optimize routes.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:40 
Canoe Ventures (a joint venture of major US cablecos) discussing in-mem’s role in allowing it to do interactive ads on TV because data doesn’t have to live internally.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:43 
And finally, InfoSys talks about using HANA to forecast and predict profitability – view margins in realtime and simulate impact of actions.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:44 
“This kind of a breakthrough in technology requires we think about what it takes to bring this technology to life,” Sikka says of HANA. “We have seen a trend to consolidate, including buying hardware companies. But we think there’s another approach in front of us, and it’s a much better approach.”
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:46 
Namely, in partnerships. HANA could not have happened without a “deep partnership” with Intel, because HANA only runs on x86. “You don’t have to buy it. You can just work together,” he says in a swipe at Oracle’s Sun purchase.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:47 
Sikka says SAP has been working with Lenovo as both a customer and a partner, bringing HANA pre-configured on server hardware.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:52 
“It is possible to innovate on hardware, and to do so in very different ways,” Sikka says… and one of those ways is working with Cisco on Unified Computing, bringing together enterprise and suppliers. “How do you bring the world of networking and the world of information management together?”
Wednesday May 18, 2011 9:54 
Sikka talking through how SAP has integrated HANA in-memory capabilities with its small-business BusinessOne package.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:05 
What’s next? “We believe that an entire architectural simplification, on the back of HANA is in front of us,” including new applications, new integrations and consumption options. “We can think about middleware in a different way” because of the scale of the database and the ability to do calculations at high-speed within the database.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:08 

“The entire industry, quite frankly, has struggle with SOA, including us,” Sikka says. Had to be large and complex because we didn’t know the consumption model, suggests the NetWeaver Gateway is the way to make it happen, “a layer we attach to the ERP to make it talk to the outside.”

Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:10 
Microsoft on video, discussing how it will work with SAP to connect applications developed with .Net Framework or for the Azure Platform to SAP ERP implementations.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:15 

“He’s not using HANA yet, because they have some other database product,” Sikka quips.

Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:16 
Sikka offering a preview of SAP HANA AppCloud. “We believe the future of the cloud is an in-memory cloud,” he says, offering the example of Google, which is constantly adding more memory to its servers to power its search business.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:18 
“We’re heading down this path,” Sikka says. Metadata, a SaaS company focused on clinical testing for phrama, is the first partner to work with SAP on bringing HANA to the cloud.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:19 
Sikka says he expects “lots and lots of applications” to be delivered over the HANA cloud. In preview stage today, but on its way and SDKs in place for developers.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:26 
And with that, Sikka hands events over to “The H in Hana”, SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:30 
Plattner starts off by getting his licks on Sikka for taking too long to “talk about the speed of HANA.”
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:31 
“It’s an unbelievable opportunity for SAP to basically rewire the systems we have built over the last nearly 40 years,” Plattner says.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:32 
To get back on schedule, Plattner commits to speaking “HANA-speed” in going through 13 questions from the SAPPHIRE crowd.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:33 
Plattner says at one point, they weren’t sure where to go with the 400+ million lines of code in the core SAP suite, but HANA is “the way out,” the road to modernize the SAP architecture.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:34 

Goal is to take portions that are time-consuming in terms of transactions (payroll and the like) out of the core suite, put it under HANA, and make the suite more responsive.

Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:35 
“This is the biggest project in SAP in more than ten years,” Plattner says. “With HANA, we can solve the big data problem, which we couldn’t solve before. We can tackle all data, structured and unstructured, with HANA.”
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:37 

(“We will discuss unstructured more a bit later, if we’re still here. Well, I will still be here. You may not be.” Plattner continues to comment on the keynote going overtime.)

Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:37 
HANA is non-disruptive. “The proof of this,” Plattner says, “is that HANA will run on Oracle for any of you who out there who have Oracle.”
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:39 
Plattner discussing the goal of “timeless” software — want to move away from release schedules. Urges customers not to wait for version 1.5 of HANA, because everything planned for 1.5 will be available with general availability later. Future adjustments will come on the fly.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:41 
Addressing the TCO proposition of HANA, Plattner holds up a Mac mini and says “There are five companies in China successfully running on this.”
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:42 
Next up, Plattner is showing an 8-CPU, 80-core blade server and the ability to scale through a number of those. “We bring in two, and we get 160 cores. We bring in ten, we have 800 cores. We go beyond that, and we’re up there with Watson,” he says.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:44 
While data is kept in-memory, it’s also on SSD, so data blocks can be brought back from SSD if there’s a memory problem. Plattner suggests a duplex system as much as possible because the hardware is relatively cheap, to provide failover.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:49 
“Can anyone else be as fast as we are? Not at the moment,” Plattner says. But he can’t talk about how much faster HANA is compared to Oracle because of the ongoing legal battles between the two.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 10:51 
Most of the questions here things either Plattner or Sikka have already addressed and/or are chances to restate SAP marketing points? “Why is HANA application development so fast?” “How does HANA scale so much?” etc.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 11:02 
“What are the new apps possible under HANA?” Plattner says everything but massive-transaction systems are HANA-friendly.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 11:06 

Demos showing using product availability of products on demand using HANA, including ordering the requested product or alternates. The ordering is being done on an iPad, as have so many demonstrations here at this show.

Wednesday May 18, 2011 11:14 
Next demo is showing using HANA for text analytics, to help businesses “know what they don’t know.
Wednesday May 18, 2011 11:17