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商业 - 科技

SAP指望Hana成公司新的摇钱树

Michal Lev-Ram 2013年02月05日

Hana是一种能加速复杂计算的新型内存数据库技术。SAP高层称它将引发大数据的一场革命,同时看好它成为SAP新的增长点。但数据库老大甲骨文的CEO不这么想,只有磕了药的人,才会指望靠Hana跟甲骨文抢生意。

    SAP公司40年的历史上发展最快的一款产品并不是商业软件应用程序,它甚至都不是受这家德国公司联席首席执行官之命、诞生于公司庞大的研发实验室体系之中的产品。相反,HANA,一种能加速复杂计算的新型内存数据库技术是由几位大学生开发的,只不过得到了SAP联合创始人兼董事长、69岁的哈索•普拉特纳的力挺。早期,HANA被认为是“哈索的新架构”( Hasso's New Architecture,取各单词首字母缩写为HANA——译注)。

    SAP的许多核心业务应用已经过改写,以便在HANA上运行。但普拉特纳——其父是一名医生——对于HANA在医疗行业的发展前景格外兴奋。上周早些时候,在硅谷一场个性化医学大会上,普拉特纳高度评价HANA,称该技术能迅速计算海量医学信息,例如基因组数据,以便为病人确定最佳治疗方案。普拉特纳称,SAP将在“未来数月”推出一个基于HANA的医疗平台。

    “医生都是即时决策者,”普拉特纳告诉听众。“所以系统必须速度非常快。”

    虽然HANA在SAP的整体营收中所占比例仍然相对较低,但它发展迅速,目前营收已达3.92亿欧元。SAP已然将这项潜力无限的技术视为决胜未来的必胜法宝。SAP于上周公布了最新财报,公司联席首席执行官孟鼎铭随后向《财富》(Fortune)补充道,HANA 2012年的营收中有近一半来自当年第四季度。“我们可以看到HANA形势喜人。它正成为一个名副其实的品牌,一个广为人知的解决方案。而一切才刚刚开始。”

    SAP预计HANA的销售额在2013年有望增至7亿欧元。虽然该技术前景一片大好,但包括SAP在内的诸多公司必须为新平台重写产品代码,这可是个费时费力的工作。不过普拉特纳表示,SAP目前和将来的所有应用程序都会“支持HANA”,这项新技术用不了多久就会占据SAP至少20%的销售额。

    当然,甲骨文(Oracle)依然是数据库领域的老大,它的首席执行官拉里•埃里森对HANA持不同看法。埃里森在去年曾讥讽普拉特纳一定嗑药了,竟然妄想和甲骨文竞争。他强调自己公司早在10年前就已开始对内存数据库的研究。普拉特纳在上周早些时候接受《财富》采访时回应称:“我从不嗑药。”SAP面临的竞争对手并非只有甲骨文一家。凭借超级计算机沃森,IBM正大肆进军医疗保健市场。沃森依靠与SAP类似的底层技术(例如并行计算等)以及人工智能帮助医生诊断和治疗患者。所有技术的出发点都一样——用远超人类的计算能力分析、梳理海量医疗数据。

    普拉特纳掷地有声地说:“最重要的是我们的速度更快。越快越好。”(财富中文网)

    译者:项航

    The fastest-growing product in SAP's 40-year history isn't a business software application, and it wasn't invented within the German company's massive research and development labs at the request of its co-CEOs. Rather, HANA, a new in-memory database technology capable of speeding up complex computations, was developed by a handful of university students and spearheaded by none other than SAP's 69-year-old co-founder and chairman, Hasso Plattner. In the early days, HANA was known as "Hasso's New Architecture".

    A number of SAP's (SAP) core business applications have already been rewritten to run on HANA. But Plattner, whose father was a doctor, is particularly excited about HANA's prospects in the healthcare industry. Earlier this week, at a personalized medicine conference in Silicon Valley, he touted HANA's abilities to quickly churn through massive amounts of medical information, like genomic data, in order to identify the best therapy for a patient. According to Plattner, SAP will launch a HANA-based healthcare platform in the "next few months."

    "Doctors are instant decision makers," Plattner told the audience." "And therefore the system has to be extremely fast."

    HANA has quickly grown into a 392 million euro business for SAP, though it still comprises a relatively small percentage of the company's total revenue. But SAP is already touting the uber-fast technology as a big success story. "You can see the acceleration," co-CEO Bill McDermott told Fortune after the company announced its latest earnings report last week, adding that about half of HANA's 2012 revenue came in the fourth quarter of last year. "It's becoming a real brand, and a well-known solution. And guess what, we're just getting started."

    SAP expects sales of HANA to reach upwards of 700 million euros in 2013. Though the technology is promising, it requires companies—including SAP—to rewrite applications for the new platform, a time-consuming task. But Plattner says all of SAP's current and future applications will be "HANA-rized," and that the technology will someday soon make up at least 20% of SAP's revenue.

    Of course, Larry Ellison, CEO of database leader Oracle (ORCL), has a different take on HANA's prospects. Last year he suggested Plattner must be on drugs to think he can compete with Oracle, saying his company has been working on in-memory technology for a decade. Plattner's response: "I never took drugs in my life," he said in an interview with Fortune earlier this week. But SAP doesn't have just Oracle to contend with. IBM (IBM) has already made a big push into healthcare with its Watson supercomputer, which relies on similar underlying technologies (like parallel processing) but also uses artificial intelligence to suggest diagnoses and therapies to doctors. Both technologies aim to comb through medical data much faster than a human physician can.

    "The major message is we can do things faster," says Plattner. "Faster is better."

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