SAP has launched a cloud version of its HANA enterprise in-memory processing system.

Speaking at an international pre-release announcement yesterday evening, Dr Vishal Sikka, SAP executive board member: technology and innovation, explains that the announcement is the latest step in the company’s HANA journey, and one he believes is set to change the way enterprises will do their computing in the future.

“HANA has been tremendous revolution, for SAP, its customers and its partners,” he says. “It has transformed the way our customers think about their enterprise computing landscapes.”

Sikka says SAP already has 26 customers in what it calles the “10 000 club” companies that are now running their IT processes 10 000 times faster than before.

With in-memory computing, Sikka says any IT operation can be transformed into a realtime operation, offering companies tremendous value.

However, he says, to get the benefit of HANA and in-memory computing, organisations need to have the underlying elastic infrastructure, to increase the speed at which the value is delivered.

The cloud offering has been in the pipeline for two years, says Sikka.

“With the announcement of HANA Enterprise Cloud, we are bringing together the power of HANA and the cloud, plus the reliability of realtime mission-critical systems.”

For the first time, he adds, companies don’t have to choose between the flexibility of the cloud and the complexity of mission-critical systems.

Importantly, Sikka says that SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud will also run in a hybrid environment – partly on-premise and partly in the cloud. In addition, it will be interoperable with various open standards.

HANA Enterprise Cloud itself is only offered by SAP, but the company is working on a programme whereby it could be offered by partners. Details are expected to be announced next week.

Sikka adds there has already been tremendous interest in the cloud offering. “We have far exceeded our goal of our initial pipeline we wanted to have – by a factor of about four. There is an extraordinary need for it.”

He points out that SAP works with customers that run massive IT landscapes – many of its customers run IT systems that are bigger than many of the largest cloud companies. “This is a different ball game,” he says. “We believe we are as good as anyone else – if not better – at offering these solutions.”

SAP also works with hardware vendors, he says, in order to help design systems that are best able to take advantage of HANA’s in-memory computing. “We can add value by delivering highly scalable, elastic environments on the latest hardware,” Sikka says.