Business applications vendor SAP has announced the forthcoming availability of its HANA in-memory database platform hosted in the cloud.
Customers will be able to use SAP's new HANA Enterprise Cloud Service to support the company's ERP and CRM applications and its data warehouse offering.
The service will be hosted both by SAP itself and its managed service provider partners.
The cloud version of HANA will run on infrastructure built using Intel's Xeon Processor E7 family of chips, which have ten processor cores and are designed for highly scalable workloads.
“SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud running on the Intel Xeon processor E7 family will provide our customers with the opportunity to deploy mission-critical solutions powered by SAP HANA with cloud simplicity," said Diane Bryant, general manager for Intel's data cents group.
Earlier this month, Information Age spoke to Professor Alexander Wolf, of Imperial College London's computing department, about an SAP-backed project to develop technologies to allow in-memory computing to work in the cloud.
Wolf explained that while in-memory databases can be very fast for read-only applications, when data must also be written to the database, performance can degrade. "Writing the data can be slow," Wolf said. "That means that if you have a real database, and you want to update parts of it incrementally, the way in which your data is organised can break down over time."
One way to address that is to accelerate certain database operations using non-commodity processors, such as GPGPUs (general purpose graphics processing units). The HARNESS project, led by Wolf and backed in part by SAP, seeks to find ways to help cloud providers use this kind of chip in their data centres.
Information Age asked SAP how it had managed to offer HANA as a cloud service, if it was also funding technical research to address these issues.
"Throughout SAP HANA’s life so far we have focused on working with partners to use commodity hardware and move away from non-commodity processors," said Adrian Simpson, SAP UK & Ireland's chief innovation officer replied. "This is a result of the close collaboration we have with Intel.”