Welcome to the Present

As an admitted technology junkie, I love watching as companies such as Google, Salesforce.com, Apple, Facebook and a revitalized Microsoft continue to deliver innovation at such an unrelenting pace.  I’ll openly admit to having a first-edition iPad, Droid and even a Palm Pre (which is a better device than its market traction suggests).

But I don’t pay any attention to what SAP does on the innovation front as they’re really the dinosaur of enterprise software.  And I hadn’t given much thought to the noise around the “Hasso on Hasso” video circulating in advance of next week’s SAPPHIRE conference.  But enough people asked me about it that I finally relented and decided to watch it for myself and must say I found it enjoyable and amusing.

“Enjoyable,” as the video is well produced, witty and packed with inside jokes (see Dennis Howlett’s blog on ZDNET for a full description).  “Amusing,” because Hasso waxes poetically about the huge potential for in-memory databases like they are some futuristic technology on the lunatic fringe.   To quote the famous Yankees manager Yogi Berra, “it’s like déjà vu all over again.” My first reaction was that this video MUST have been produced at least 5 years ago and had somehow just been released on the Internet.

For Hasso’s benefit, I am happy to share with him that yes, in-memory database technology delivers on all the promises he describes in the video.  How do I know?  Since the founding of Workday in 2005, all our applications have been built using a pure in-memory database architecture that has done away with the relational model.  We have been using this technology for more than 5 years, and have been in production with global, Fortune 500 customers with it for the past 3  years.

I guess this is an example of just how far behind the legacy providers like SAP are in terms of innovation.  I wait, with baited breath, for the next installment of “Hasso on Hasso.”  Might it be “The iPhone: the Next Big Thing?”

Welcome to the present, Mr. Plattner.  If you really want a glimpse into the future, I invite you to stop by Workday’s offices :-).

p.s. I see that SAP paid $6 Billion for Sybase today. So what does legacy apps + legacy database + legacy middleware =? And I will update my offer to Mr. Plattner. If you want to see how in-memory databases and mobile computing platforms are built from the ground up, in a modern, web 2.0 way, please stop by. We are just down the street from Sybase:-).