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Students of the University of Applied Sciences Mainz are proud of being amongst the first to work with the brand new curriculum on in-memory computing with SAP HANA provided by SAP University Alliances. “It is very exciting to touch and try the latest technology, which is seen by many as a game changer for business software”, this was a typical reaction from participating students.

Before working with SAP HANA in practice, the students were introduced to enabling hardware and software innovations, as well as actual market developments in the area of big data and real-time analytics. Looking into theoretical estimates emphasized the powerful interplay of current software technology, e.g. for columnar data storage and compression, with modern hardware capabilities provided by present multi-core architectures.

The practical case study was the highlight of the course. Here students could touch crucial building blocks of a typical HANA application: Creating database tables and views within the SAP HANA Studio, populating them through SAP BusinessObjects Data Services, and analyzing data with the SAP BusinessObjects Explorer.

Finally, in a concluding teamwork, students explored potential application scenarios for in-memory technology. Browsing through popular web pages and blogs - like ZDnet, Informationweek, CIO and also SAP’s own collection of use cases on - emphasized the broad application potential. The teams were overwhelmed by the variety of possible use-cases, ranging from Personal Patient Treatment, In-Flight Engine Diagnostics, Public Security Analytics to Real-Time Store Level Analysis in retail. 

Most of the ~40 students were part of a bachelor study program on business informatics, which is organized on a vocational training-study basis. Parallel to their coursework at the university, the students typically work in companies located in the Rhein-Main region, like Fraport, Opel, R+V or Merck. For some of those participants the course was particularly stimulating: “While my colleagues in our IT-department currently discuss the potentials of HANA for our company, I can actually work with it. That’s great!”

Within students and involved faculty there was overall agreement, “It was most exciting to get introduced and work with SAP HANA. As the University of Applied Sciences Mainz could serve as a lighthouse university for TERP10 and now for HANA, new technology and courses of the SAP University Alliance are always very welcome. We enjoyed trying it out.” 

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