SAP to world: We’re a cloud company, no really!

SAP(s sap), the enterprise software giant, has been beating the cloud drum for years. Last year it put its All-in-One ERP application on Amazon(s amzn) Web Services.  Five months later it did the same with HANA, its speedy in-memory database. So it’s not really surprising that it now intends to make HANA available from its own cloud. Oh, and from other partners’ clouds as well

SAP_2011_logoThere weren’t a ton of details on pricing and dates which could come at the company’s annual SAPPHIRE conference, next week, but according to the release, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud will be delivered by SAP and its partners:

 “SAP intends to adapt this open ecosystem strategy with its managed service providers to offer the capabilities of SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud from their data centers, as well as from multiple SAP data centers worldwide.”

In a research note, Nomura Securities analyst Rick Sherlund wrote:

“SAP indicates it will price its elastic cloud-computing service based size, scale of data, and application usage. The advantages are faster time to market and time to value, with lower total cost of ownership. Offering a service that delivers quick value and easy implementation should be a nice complement to the real-time capabilities users seek from HANA for a wide variety of new, real-time business processes, in addition to the Business Suite.”

SAP will continue to offer HANA via AWS, a spokesman said. But it’s clear that more contention is arising between legacy enterprise IT players and Amazon which is starting to compete with them by offering more higher-end services that compete with their products.  AWS has made no secret about its ambitions here —  it all but called out IBM(s ibm), HP(s hpq), Teradata(s tdc), and Oracle(s orcl) by name when it announced its RedShift data warehousing service last November.

Meanwhile, SAP — along with these other legacy enterprise IT giants — has rushed to embrace cloud. Better to cannibalize your own on-premises business than to let Amazon do it after all. But, SAP got a rocky start in cloud. It launched Business ByDesign as a SaaS product four years ago to underwhelming response. But it vowed to do better and started buying up cloud expertise, with its $3.4 billion  acquisition of SuccessFactors, a SaaS provider of human resources management, two years later. But HANA, the hot in-memory database and analytics product  has become the company’s focal point in  cloud and big data efforts.

What would really be surprising is if SAP didn’t offer HANA from its own cloud.