Oracle's been selling business software to its database customers for years.
Now SAP has struck back in a big way, announcing that its flagship Business Suite software, used by companies to crunch financials and manage operations, now runs on SAP's own Hana database.
That means that these customers can leave Oracle entirely, if they want to.
SAP's Hana, what's called an in-memory database, has been one of the company's fastest-growing products of all time. That's because it can crunch numbers from an enormous database almost instantly, instead of the hours or days it can take with traditional databases, like Oracle or IBM DB2.
But the company didn't integrate Hana into its own SAP applications right away. It knew that its customers were not going to take on the pain, expense, and risk of dumping critical business databases in favor of an untested new product.
Now that Hana has been on the market for about 18 months, with about 500 customers as of October, enterprises are sold on what an in-memory database could do for them. Even Oracle has announced a Hana competitor.
At today's press conference, SAP cofounder and chairman Hasso Plattner insisted SAP customers don't have to switch to Hana.
"We do not abandon the database vendors who carry us to success," he said. "Customers have a choice."
Still, SAP would like nothing better than to tear more of its customers out of the expensive arms of its archenemy Oracle.
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