Extreme ASE Update Escalates ‘SAP Uber Oracle’ Competition

German software powerhouse SAP, which a week ago announced it was acquiring Fieldglass, a technology provider, is refreshing its Adaptive Server Enterprise (SAP ASE 16.0) to better handle – systems that must process millions of transactions a day, for thousands of concurrent users, dealing with data in the zettabytes. In addition to ASE 16, the company also announced service pack 200 (SP200) for the 15.7 release of Replication Server software, including synchronous replication for high availability and disaster recovery for Business Suite software on ASE.

ASE is just one of a number of different data management engines and capabilities, said Dan Lahl, VP, & Technology Marketing, SAP. “We’re pulling that all together with what we’re calling the In-Memory Data Fabric.”

In the larger scheme of things we have other things than ASE that will help pull this together, he said. “IMDF is not only for SAP data management capabilities. It also includes capabilities to include and Teradata.”

Picked up through the $5.8-billion Sybase acquisition in 2010, the latest release of ASE has been designed to deliver customers the speed, scalability, security and simplicity needed to manage extreme transactional workloads, efficiently and economically. It also integrates with other SAP products, including SAP Business Suite and the SAP platform.

“SAP’s internal benchmarks are impressive, showing near-linear scalability on SMP servers and throughput of over a million transactions per minute on scaled-up systems,” said Carl Olofson, Research VP, IDC, in a prepared statement. “Security enforcement and system auditability have been augmented and provide more flexibility to adapt to specific regulatory compliance needs. And, new features in database administration enable greatly simplify management, proving SAP ASE 16 will further reduce customers’ overall total cost of ownership. Enterprises will find this new release to be perfectly suited to support the most demanding transactional workloads.”

However, while this is good news for existing ASE customers and prospects, and another step in SAP’s drive to be the leading enterprise software vendor, it has a long way to go – at least as far as databases and Oracle – before we can sing SAP uber alles (or at least Oracle).

In January 2013 the company announced the availability of SAP HANA database for the SAP Business Suite, but while “historic”, SAP must still wage a long ground war to advance against Oracle, according to Evan Quinn, Senior Principal Analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group.

For decades, Oracle has enjoyed and employed a Trojan Horse by being the primary database choice by customers who choose SAP applications, putting SAP into the ironic position of making its #1 competitor successful in order for SAP to be successful. While SAP Business Suite also runs on other databases including IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, and its own Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE), with Oracle #2 in enterprise apps market share and #1 in enterprise database market share, it is clear that Oracle is the primary target for SAP Business Suite running on SAP HANA.

“Finally, SAP feels it has a legitimate option to displace its number one applications competitor, Oracle, in the database tier.” However, the real work begins today for SAP to change the balance of power, and it will be won, or lost, one deal at a time, one sales engineer to IT engineer meeting at time, one partner or consultant negotiation at time, he noted.

“SAP, as it did with NetWeaver, is proving again that it can wage an effective air war with SAP HANA and in particular now Suite on HANA. But Oracle wins wars primarily on the ground. SAP’s goal of shifting the database layer to itself for applications and is spot on strategically. Tactically, however, it will still take a nitty-gritty focus every business day to take on Oracle in the trenches, even armed with Suite on HANA.”

SAP said third-party research (IDC) shows that ASE total costs are 28% less than the total costs of the other databases used by these customers. Other benefits include: 27% fewer IT staff resources for administration and tuning to optimize performance; 23% less training to reach proficiency; 24% less storage capacity; and 29% less processor power.

A second study provides head-to-head TCO comparisons between ASE and Oracle. “The results of this survey are unequivocal: for all 21 TCO and related metrics ASE is rated as superior to Oracle by customers who have implemented both solutions,” said Philip Howard, Bloor Research.

“Where direct cost comparisons are available – license fees, support costs and the costs of downtime – SAP is 40.6%, 30.2% and 41.1% less expensive (that is, real dollars) than Oracle. Further, every single one of the TCO metrics show an advantage for SAP ASE over Oracle that leads to an overall TCO advantage of 35.4%. A clear conclusion from this research is that SAP ASE is significantly superior to Oracle with respect to total cost of ownership.”

On average, companies in the study estimated the total cost for Sybase ASE to be 28% less than the total cost of other RDBMSs they are using, which will save them about $129,000 per 100 users over five years.

A couple of weeks ago HP stepped up its SAP HANA efforts with an all-in-one bundle to cash in on the growing demand for SAP HANA as a catalyst for business transformation. “We have 47,000 customers using SAP,” said ” said Tom Joyce, SVP and GM, HP Converged System, including more than 800 system implementations for SAP HANA. “We believe a large number of SAP customers going to migrate to HANA over the next few years.” SAP, which just announced its latest HANA-powered cloud news, has more than 250,000 customers.

Moving forward, Lahl said the company is going to continue to expand its capabilities across the data management platform. “Our view is how do we make data management easier for customers.”

There are at least two more HANA updates scheduled for 2014. There will also be a strong focus on breaking down the silos. “We still have a zillion silos out there.”

You’ll see an acceleration of applications that SAP will deliver either by themselves of through partners or partnerships that will be a combination of apps and data management, he said. “We’re definitely driving towards integrating those two things to serve innovation.”

The Fiddly Bits (& Bytes)

SAP ASE 16 Features & Enhancements

Transactions Scale:

-Linear scale-up on latest hardware with high core density count per CPU

-Internal code path, locking/latching enhancements

-Partition level locking

-Dynamic thread assignment

-Heat map for data tiering

-Interoperability with HANA via ODBC support for ASE query federation

Transactions @ Speed:

-Lazy decompression

-Index compression

-Faster data loading and analytics query performance

-In-memory processing

-Compiled queries

-Transactional memory

-Leverage innovations in hardware/memory to support extreme transactions

-Multi-version concurrency control

-Memory and storage tiering with flash

Transactions @ Security:

-Full database encryption

-Secure Wipe

-Integrated “zero data loss” disaster recovery support with synchronous replication for SAP Business Suite

-Granular Auditing

-HA/DR support via logical replication for custom SAP ASE applications

Transactions @ Simplicity:

-Compression advisor utility

-Database and transaction backup scheduling

-Create or replace command for database objects

-Support for large scale deployments

-Multiple trigger support

-Real-time workload capture


Author: Steve Wexler

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  1. I love how HP claim “more than 800 system implementations for SAP HANA”. This is more customers than are live on HANA! In addition, IBM, conservatively, own > 50% of the HANA server market share, and more than this for large scale systems.

    In addition, there is competition from HP, Dell, Huawei, Hitachi, Cisco/EMC and Cisco/NetApp. I wonder how many systems HP has really implemented?

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  2. Maybe it depends what is meant by HANA? You are presumably talking about HANA database, but now HANA is described as a platform. Since SAP now offers Sybase ASE under the HANA banner (as part of a bundle for higher volume OLTP), perhaps HP now feels entitled to include any SAP instance running on ASE on HP in their count 🙂

    Alternatively, maybe HP just make it up.

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