It’s refreshing to see that SAP is backing the idea of in-memory computing (http://www.sap.com/about/newsroom/press-releases/press.epx?pressid=14907). It’s a simple fact that the amount of data never gets smaller : as a result, as organisations deal with more and more of it, so we all need more and faster ways to actually process and use that data.
The technical idea of in-memory computing, as explained by SAP, is pretty straightforward: rather than putting data on a hard drive and accessing it when needed, that data is instead stored directly in memory and is immediately available. But more than that SAP has worked with the hardware manufacturer and looked closely about how that data is shaped and conspired to develop a specialist appliance called HANA but basically, it means that data can be accessed, and so used, much faster. With the price of memory consistently falling, it is now possible to use machines with a huge amount of solid state memory instead of magnetic media, making in-memory computing feasible for complete databases, or the part of the dtabase that is most important to you.
Of course, the big question is then “what does this mean for my SAP applications?”. Essentially, it makes the bits you always wanted to work faster with, able to become real time and more capable of dealing with ever-increasing amounts of business data needed to give a rapid insight into decision making. As a result, real time analytics within the business process becomes a real possibility.
With in-memory computing, the decision to upgrade to the new technology seems to be less a matter of “if”, and more of “when”: part of this will depend on how quickly SAP roll out new in-memory application areas. The question for organisations is how can they use this technology to improve business processes and gain competitive advantage. Do they need to re-engineer processes to capitalise quickly? Can in-memory help them make better decisions faster? Of course, the SAP User Group and our SIGs will be on hand to help organisations share their experiences and provide answers to these questions and more.