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October 12, 2010

SAP takes the fight to Oracle, upgrades NetWeaver

Enterprise software wars heat up

By Steve Evans

SAP has unveiled a number of advances to its core technology as it fights back against Oracle in the business software wars, writes Steve Evans at SAP’s Berlin TechEd conference.

CTO Vishal Sikka unveiled updates to the firm’s core technology platform, NetWeaver here in Berlin. Released this autumn NetWeaver 7.3 can handle 40% more users on the same platform and has increased startup time by 30%, Sikka claimed. It is Java EE5 certified and introduces Java-only ESB and JMS pub/sub capabilities, the company said.

The NetWeaver platform is, Sikka said, "The fabric that glues SAP together, it bears the load." It will underpin the three pillars of SAP that the company hopes will strike a fatal blow to Oracle and its other rivals in the business software space: cloud computing, mobility and in-memory computing.

In the cloud space the company has been working "feverishly" to bring its SaaS offering to market. "Business ByDesign is a total cloud suite for the mid-market," Sikka said. "It’s an entire suite of apps needed to run your business. It’s an area we’re brining in new tech that our customers can implement without any disruption."

SAP’s mobile strategy is being pushed heavily since its acquisition of Sybase for a shade under $6bn earlier this year. "Sybase offers a great way to unwire the enterprise," Sikka said. "It touches four billion devices and around two billion messages go through its servers each day. Offices workers are screaming to be let out, the want to be freed from the tyranny of the desktop and now we can offer that." The company will be releasing a mobile SDK early next year to "help customers build experiences on mobile devices," Sikka added.

SAP also want into more detail about its in-memory computing. "Once in a lifetime a technology comes along that changes everything," Sikka said. "In-memory computing is several years effort to harness the power of new hardware. Multi-core chips, blades with 2TB of main memory is amazing, something that was unimaginable 10 years ago. In-memory is a once in a generation thing, a new "real-time" but delivered at a much lower cost."

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Using the new version of NetWeaver SAP says it will be able to offer real-time transactions and analytics. Its new high performance analytic appliance (SAP HANA) will enable analytic, performance management and transactional applications to run in a single environment.

"This really rethinks the way business can be done. It can process a huge amount of data and very quick speeds, in real-time. It liberates your data by connecting it and you to the systems you need to run your business," Sikka said.

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