SAP is placing a big bet on its in-memory database platform SAP HANA and, as a result, its hundreds of thousands of customers may too. And though the platform's only been on the market for a year, last week's pre-announced earnings point to its having strong sales. As a result, the demand for professionals familiar with SAP HANA is likely to grow. Jason Lovinger, SAP's vice president of database and technology developer ecosystem, and Christopher Curtis, global vice president of SAP HANA services, told me where they think the opportunities are greatest.

5 Buckets of SAP HANA Business

  • In-Memory Database: Over the past year, SAP HANA sales have focused on its use as an in-memory database. Currently 400 customers are employing it for instantaneous access to information in their data warehouse, which allows the data to be pulled as it's gathered since it's stored in memory, versus transferred from a hard drive to storage.
  • Business Warehouse on SAP HANA: Toward the end of last year, SAP rolled out its second wave of its HANA offerings with BW on SAP HANA 1.0. With roughly 1,600 SAP BW customers worldwide, the enterprise software giant is hoping its customers will swap out their existing databases and replace them with HANA as the database and run SAP BW on top of it. Getting customers to depart with their existing databases, however, may be a tough sell.
  • HANA App Accelerator: By the end of the year, SAP plans to run a pilot for some of its customers with HANA sitting alongside or connecting to SAP ERP. This will allow some of the transaction processing to run against HANA, rather than the traditional database. The potential here is the greatest, since SAP has hundreds of thousands of customers using its ERP.
  • Kitchen Sink: All three uses above would be balled up into a comprehensive use of HANA.
  • HANA as an APP Platform: SAP is aiming to create an ecosystem where its HANA in-memory database will be used as a platform for new apps.

Top HANA Job Opportunities 

The number of IT professionals certified in HANA is small, for now. SAP, for example, has 500 folks certified in HANA in-house, and there are 500 outside the company who are also certified, says Curtis. By the end of the year, consulting firm Accenture is expected to have 1,000 people HANA certified. When considering the five buckets above, here's some of the top jobs that need HANA training, say Lovinger and Curtis:
  • Data warehouse administrator
  • Real-time analytic apps developers will be particularly huge over the next 10 to 15 years, Lovinger says.
  • BW administrators
  • Business intelligence developers, who are not BW customers
Although some may question the willingness of enterprise customers to swap out their databases, Lovinger believes a large number of SAP's BW customers are looking to do that. Companies want to push more data into the warehouse, so there's longer load times. HANA decreases the time it takes to load data," Lovinger says. [youtube]