Where SAP HANA and SAP HANA One Fits Into Modern Application Architecture

Cross posted from my blog at SAP Community Network:

Yesterday Jeffrey Hammond, VP and Principal Analyst with Forrester, posted an excellent blog laying out a vision for modern custom enterprise application architecture.  In his blog, “The Best Way to Develop Mobile Apps? Don’t Develop Mobile Apps!”, Mr. Hammond makes the point that custom application projects shouldn’t just be thinking about an app that fits a mobile device, but take a system engineering approach considering modern technologies and architectural trends such as cloud computing, web services, and big data in addition to mobile device platforms. What I especially like about his blog is his simple explanation of how these fit to create applications with the following characteristics:

  • Omnichannel
  • Elastic
  • API-oriented
  • Responsive
  • Organic
  • Contextual


Modern application architecture based on mobile platforms, cloud computing, big data, and web services – reality or Munchkin Land?

[SOURCE © Sam Howzit, used according to Creative Commons License]

Mr. Hammond specifically points out a role for offerings such as SAP HANA in improving responsiveness of modern applications:

“In-memory databases are used to aggregate information from multiple service endpoints and cache it as close to the carrier networks as possible, in public cloud infrastructure, often alongside CDNs” (CDN: content delivery networks).

A deployment option in the cloud for SAP HANA via SAP HANA One can also provide a degree of elasticity for such a vision.

I challenged Mr. Hammond as to how much of this vision is only vision, and not really seen in the market:

Wonderful vision – is it real in enterprise?

Comment from Greg Chase (not verified) on Tue, 01/22/2013 – 10:58

Hi Jeffrey,
I’m wondering how many clients are as advanced as the vision you’ve painted of a modern enterprise architecture? Other than maybe some newer Web services companies (AWS, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), are more established companies evolving this way? I see many who are still struggling with having outsourced so much of their custom work.

Greg Chase

I liked his response where he pointed out that its companies that are innovating in business model, culture, and technology where he’s seeing applications being built in this manner:

It’s a reality, but often not in IT

Comment from Jeffrey Hammond on Tue, 01/22/2013 – 12:57

Hey Greg,
You’re right that “outside the firewall” companies seem to have the edge on modern application development, but I think it’s more a point in time statement, based on appetite for innovation and culture. Some of these same companies are huge, complex beasts in their own right – but they understand the shift in economics that modern architecture represents and are moving to exploit it.

I often hear from established companies that innovation is “on the agenda” – but when you peel back the covers on the statement it’s all about technical innovation, not cultural innovation or business model innovation. I find the folks that are building modern applications are blending all three. They use the cloud, and mobile devices – but they use them to multiply their resources and change the status quo.

That’s what so interesting about our brave new world – nothing prevents established companies from following the digital upstarts – save rules, regulations, fear, uncertainty and doubt. Some folks seem to get it – my take on Jeff Immelt’s comments here (http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/mt/archives/2012/12/general_electri.php) is that he gets it. Others will too – in time.

To summarize, Jeffrey Hammond is saying that real business innovation is what is driving adoption of modern application architectures. I’m happy to see a clear role for where offerings such as SAP HANA One can play to add elasticity and responsiveness.

What kind of initiatives is your company involved in where building out such an application architecture is important?


  1. […] Second, is The Smart Apps Explosion is Happening Right Now, in Venture Beat that succinctly gives great examples of how our location-based, mobile, cloud-based digital services should be acting. It just proves to me that there’s plenty of room left for innovation in this period of disruption, and especially fast follower success. Compare this functionality to how we should be building these new digital services. […]

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