Big Blue reckons this means customers can run managed SAP workloads in the cloud from testing to production on a single, consistent architecture partly powered by IBM-owned SoftLayer.
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HANA is SAP’s in-memory database that sits beneath ERP and CRM software to speed up performance. At its last count in January, SAP had 253,500 customers with 750 on HANA with the majority using HANA on-premises – not in the cloud, although perhaps Tuesday's announcement will address that.
The HANA cloud-IBM tie-up works well for IBM as well as SAP: Big Blue's goal is to become more of a provider of cloud services than a seller of computers and services for building other people’s data centers.
In January, IBM began a $1.2bn project to take its number of data centers worldwide to 40, on the back of a number of acquisitions including SoftLayer. SoftLayer hosts e-commerce, games, and private clouds and big-data infrastructure services using Cloudera, MongoDB and Basho, running on clustered servers. IBM opened its latest center on October 6: a SoftLayer facility in Melbourne, Australia.
In 2013, IBM earned $4.4bn from cloud “solutions”, up 64 per cent year on year, but just $1.7bn from actual services. Meanwhile, SAP is experiencing fast growth from online apps like SuccessFactors, but in January it pushed back its targets for growth from cloud by two years. ®