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SAP begins HANA push to UK start-ups

Matthew Finnegan | Sept. 9, 2013
However, cost of migration could prevent small firms moving to the in-memory database platform

SAP has also expanded its partner programme to support growth of application development around HANA.

By engaging with the start-up community SAP is attempting to create a groundswell of adoption among smaller firms, supporting an eco-system of applications being developed natively on HANA, or migrated onto the platform.

However SAP still faces a challenge in persuading smaller firms with small, if any budget, to adopt big data systems, and Parnell admits that the company is playing the long game by targeting start-ups to purchase HANA: "In the first 12 months we probably won't see anything from the start-ups financially, it will be more 'let's help you invest in HANA'. It is a long-term proposition. It is the only way to do it."

For example, one of the start-ups pitching at the London event, social media debating site Kworrel, told ComputerworldUK that its business will not be in a position to start using HANA for a year or two, and had not previously considered the platform. For now they are content with using free graph database tools rather than pay for infrastructure, at least until its service, currently in beta, is better established.

Another of the firms pitching, BrainInHand, said that licensing costs were only part of the challenge. Although the firm is keen to use HANA for its data-intensive medical monitoring application, it will require more funding to be able to take on developer staff for the lengthy project of migrating away from Microsoft Azure, which currently hosts its databases.

"If, when we look at HANA, we see that it matches what we want, then we will definitely move towards it. But I can't say right now that we will move to HANA next week - it is part of our roadmap," said Glenn Atter at BrainInHand.

"The licensing cost is not the issue, it is the development time to integrate it. That is the biggest cost; it is nothing to do with how much it costs to run, it is purely to do with development time. To implement HANA, to do the full native system it is quite a lot of development time. For a small company that is the biggest cost."

Nevertheless, Parnell said that a number of start-ups internationally have already started to move onto HANA.

"Some start-ups are now totally embedded in HANA, have purchased licences, and are now going to the next stage themselves of proof of concept and are bringing revenue into their own company," he said.

SAP will continue its StartupFocus programme with fortnightly events across Europe, and plans to return to Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh in future.

 

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