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September 19, 2016

SAP Debuts Free HANA Express Edition

SAP today unveiled a scaled-down version of HANA designed to let developers play around with the in-memory platform on a PC or a laptop. The software, which is free, gives developers access to all of HANA’s analytic capabilities for data sets 32 GB or smaller.

Developers are the main targets of SAP HANA Express Edition, says Marie Goodell, vice president of SAP HANA platform marketing for the German software giant.

“This is a new edition of the HANA platform that’s been streamlined for application development and deployment purposes,” Goodell tells Datanami. “It’s been streamlined to get it down to laptop, PC or small server so that developers can get up and running in a really fast and rapid way on a device they’re comfortable using.”

The German software giant, which is holding its SAP TechEd conference in Las Vegas this week, also unveiled a new a personal edition of the SAP Web IDE that allows HANA developers to work in offline mode. Taken together, these two capabilities will free practically anybody to start developing HANA apps at the time and place of their choosing.

Developers who are proficient in Java, Node.js, or Microsoft‘s Visual Studio can code HANA apps in their integrated development environment (IDE) of choice by simply importing the HANA Express Edition database files. Other users can work within SAP’s development tools via HANA Express Edition’s integrated Web environment.

SAP has taken steps with HANA Express Edition to streamline the entire development experience, with a particular focus on first-time and novice users, says Rudi Leibbrandt, senior director of HANA product management.

“The ramp-up time and the ability to get developers used to the technology really quickly was useful,” Lebbrandt says. “Most of the input we got from our preview group and  our requirements gathering process was if the software doesn’t run on your laptop as a sandbox it is really difficult to dedicate the amount of time you need to do it.”

HANA Express Edition runs on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems, and offers the full breadth of advanced analytic capabilities, including text mining, geospatial data analysis, and graph data analysis. Users can also deploy their applications on HANA Express Editions, provided the data sets fit within 32GB of RAM. If they need more, SAP will gladly sell them a license to
the full product.sap_hana_logo

For that price (free), you can’t expect SAP to support the software. Instead, HANA Express Edition users will get support from the community via Web forums and other assets. The software also lacks some of the high availability and resiliency features that the full product has, as well as some data quality capabilities, Leibbrandt says.

HANA Express Edition can also be run from a public cloud platform, via the SAP Cloud Appliance Library. The cloud is the destination for many HANA-based innovations created by SAP users, Leibbrandt says.

“We see a larger and larger amount of our customers looking at cloud-first options,” he says. “If we were to benchmark that, it would be a significant number.  Obviously a large number of customer are still running in on-premise environments.”

Many of the new “innovation-based applications, or next-generation applications,” start out in the cloud, he says. SAP offers a fully hosted version of HANA running in the cloud. Alternatively, customers can run HANA on their choice of public cloud services.

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