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Go digital. It is your destiny.

It all started in the spring of 1977: the introduction of a movie saga that is a cultural phenomenon today. Anakin Skywalker is a rising star and the most powerful Jedi. The Dark Side of the Force transforms him into Darth Vader. And he uses his power to help build an evil galactic empire which falls at the hands of an up and coming Jedi knight, Luke Skywalker.

A recent Wired Magazine article refers to Star Wars as the “forever franchise.” So what makes Star Wars such a success? The answer lies in its evolving storyline. Admittedly, I am a fan of Star Wars and I look forward to seeing where the story goes this December. Already just a few days after its world premiere in Los Angeles, “The Force Awakens” is getting early praise from movie critics and fans on Twitter and elsewhere.

Just like the latest evolution in the Star Wars franchise, SAP HANA has also reached a significant set of milestones evidenced by recent survey results. According to the America’s SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) survey, there is a steady increase in SAP HANA adoption and 88% of users are extremely happy with the benefits HANA provides.  In addition, 76% of SAP HANA users are planning future projects.

At the heart of SAP HANA’s success is its support of the digital core. What does this mean? In order to be successful in the digital economy, companies have to transform themselves into digital enterprises. SAP HANA provides the digital core businesses need to reduce complexity, digitize their entire business, and connect every part of their business to the edge and beyond.


Digital transformation for your business

For business today, data is changing the storyline. How will organizations adjust? As the digital economy continues to expand its footing, CIOs are looking to make digital investments to revitalize business processes. Technology companies are building on top of current solutions in an attempt to help companies adapt. But in truth, a digital modern enterprise requires a different type of architecture; one with a digital core.

Organizations have a great opportunity for transformation in the digital economy as Big Data and the IoT work in unison to change everything. To adapt, organizations need to revitalize their systems. But they need to understand what constitutes a digital core.

First, let me explain what SAP HANA’s digital core offers. It provides real-time visibility into all mission critical business processes, as well as processes around customers, suppliers, workforce, Big Data and the IoT. Business leaders can leverage the HANA platform to predict, simulate, plan and anticipate future business outcomes in the digital economy.

You can see the keynotes at last month’s SAP TechEd and read some of our recent blogs to learn more about transforming your business for the digital economy.

At the core of SAP HANA’s success

The digital core platform is the reason we can celebrate increased adoption of SAP HANA. It enables companies to connect people, devices and business networks in real-time to deliver new value in the digital economy. Let’s dissect what we mean by a digital core and look at it from the perspective of key technology elements required for digital transformation.

A 40-year-old problem: SAP HANA ends the search for the holy-grail for data management in the digital economy because it allows you to perform analytics on live transactional data (and other types of data) with near-zero latency. This is the prerequisite of the digital core. Ever since the release of the first Star Wars movie, many companies have come and gone trying to innovate in this space. Undeniably, it is a very difficult computer science problem to solve. But it’s one of the foundations of HANA because we have focused our efforts on addressing this real core problem from the very beginning.

Not just data, but whole data sets: Data is a force to be reckoned with. Looking at transactional data is important. However, we must look at the smart connected things around us and realize that a whole variety of data sets need support. SAP HANA supports users with many different data sets, which are all accessible through the power of SQL and multiple popular programming languages – this is another foundation of HANA. And SAP HANA’s comprehensive run-time platform eliminates massive complexity by internalizing application, database and integration services.

Balance you must have: Developers have been facing an uphill battle for over a generation: how do you actually balance the workloads in today’s environments? Dealing with constantly changing user requirements is another challenge. What’s more, the tasks to keep different processes running at a high level of performance are traditionally very mundane. An important characteristic of SAP HANA is that it allows organizations to natively exploit
multi-core parallelism to scale up and scale out performance. Through the use of multi-core systems on different layers SAP HANA achieves highly parallelized query execution.
The foundation of distributed data management (DDM) and distributed query processing (DQM) is also inherently part of the HANA architecture. No pre aggregation or materialized data sets allows companies to achieve predictable performance results. It frees up DBA time from performing mundane tasks and allows them to concentrate on digitalization objectives.

Hyperspeed from the edge to the enterprise

Wouldn’t you rather spend more time creating digital agendas? In the digital economy, you are going to be measured by how much digital value you're adding to your organization. To understand what a digital economy means, you have to study the digital trends that are shaping it. Take hyperconnectivity; which means that data is generated in a variety of places and consumed at different end points. In this hyperconnected world, there are lots of smart connected devices. This leads us to another important requirement for moving toward the digital economy: taking the digital core to the edge and making sure that the data we’re processing is not divorced from the digital context of your business.

SAP is active in Hadoop and Spark movements. Today, Hadoop is one of the big platforms to manage unstructured data. It is becoming the definitive operating system for data storage. In the compute space, Spark is on the rise. One of the benefits of Spark is that it gives you in-memory, near real time speed to manage very large data sets. And one of the benefits of SAP HANA is that it gives you the ability to process both structured and unstructured data in-memory, in real-time.

Back at SAP TechEd, we introduced SAP HANA VORA, which allows developers to leverage and extend the Apache Spark execution framework to provide enriched interactive analytics on Hadoop, delivering unprecedented business context. With SAP HANA VORA, you can federate queries across SAP HANA
and Spark for real-time insight from all of your data regardless of where it resides. By taking the value of HANA and dropping it into Spark environments, we
are able to tie together the digital core to the edge, allowing for very large data processing at much faster speeds.

This coherency from the digital core all the way through to Big Data and edge-based processing is phenomenal. Instead of having segregated data that will never be able to integrate, SAP HANA provides an architecture that allows us to scale the application across multiple dimensions.

With the recent release of HANA SPS11, developers have even greater flexibility. They can deploy highly scalable applications, streamline development processes, and enable rapid development of forward-looking applications. Innovations to SAP’s digital core via HANA SPS11 that make this possible include:

  • A re-architected application server to scale independently from database services and new micro service architecture.

  • Support for programming languages (including Java and JavaScript on node.js) and open source code management tools (e.g. Git/GitHub and Maven).

  • Data lifecycle management capability in the SAP HANA Data Warehousing Foundation feature to manage large data volumes (transparently) with policy-based data movement – from memory to disk and Hadoop – to support today’s complex apps.

  • Connector to optimize performance and create virtual tables in SAP HANA Vora, streamlining processing to dramatically accelerate data analysis on Hadoop.

In closing, competing effectively in the 21st century requires more than replacing current tools with refaced solutions that are really built on a platform based on technology of the distant past. You can’t expect innovations from 1977 to be equally competent to a 2015 storyline – this only happens in the movies.  To
meet the demands of a digital economy, you need a true digital core. The ever-growing number of SAP HANA customers can testify to this.