SAP HANA was designed to be a replacement to Oracle or IBM databases, either for net new installations or for existing customers. In most cases it is possible to move off those databases easily, and gain reporting performance benefits out of the box. Then it is possible to adapt the software to contain functions that were not possible in the past.
All three of the major RDBMS vendors have released in-memory add-ins to their databases in the last year. All of them support taking an additional copy of data in an in-memory cache, or in IBM’s case columnar tables. All of them provide improved performance for custom data-marts. But make no mistake; caching data has been around for a long time, while an in-memory database platform to run transactions and analytics together in the same instance is a new innovation.
Traditional database caching solutions are similar to the GM and Ford response to hybrid cars – take their existing technology and bolt new technology to it. SAP HANA is more akin to Tesla, who rebuilt the car from the ground up based on a new paradigm.
And so HANA’s capabilities from a business application perspective are 3 years ahead in technology from what others have.