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SAP takes the fight to Oracle, upgrades NetWeaver

Chief Technology Officer claims new version can handle 40% more users.

SAP has unveiled a number of advances to its core technology as it fights back against Oracle in the business software wars, writes Steve Evans at SAP's Berlin TechEd conference.

CTO Vishal Sikka unveiled updates to the firm's core technology platform, NetWeaver here in Berlin. Released this autumn NetWeaver 7.3 can handle 40% more users on the same platform and has increased startup time by 30%, Sikka claimed. It is Java EE5 certified and introduces Java-only ESB and JMS pub/sub capabilities, the company said.

The NetWeaver platform is, Sikka said, "The fabric that glues SAP together, it bears the load." It will underpin the three pillars of SAP that the company hopes will strike a fatal blow to Oracle and its other rivals in the business software space: cloud computing, mobility and in-memory computing.

In the cloud space the company has been working "feverishly" to bring its SaaS offering to market. "Business ByDesign is a total cloud suite for the mid-market," Sikka said. "It's an entire suite of apps needed to run your business. It's an area we're bringing in new tech that our customers can implement without any disruption."

SAP's mobile strategy is being pushed heavily since its acquisition of Sybase for a shade under $6bn earlier this year. "Sybase offers a great way to unwire the enterprise," Sikka said. "It touches four billion devices and around two billion messages go through its servers each day. Offices workers are screaming to be let out, they want to be freed from the tyranny of the desktop and now we can offer that." The company will be releasing a mobile SDK early next year to "help customers build experiences on mobile devices," Sikka added.

SAP also wants into more detail about its in-memory computing. "Once in a lifetime a technology comes along that changes everything," Sikka said. "In-memory computing is several years effort to harness the power of new hardware. Multi-core chips, blades with 2TB of main memory is amazing, something that was unimaginable 10 years ago. In-memory is a once in a generation thing, a new "real-time" but delivered at a much lower cost."

Using the new version of NetWeaver SAP says it will be able to offer real-time transactions and analytics. Its new high performance analytic appliance (SAP HANA) will enable analytic, performance management and transactional applications to run in a single environment.

"This really rethinks the way business can be done. It can process a huge amount of data and very quick speeds, in real-time. It liberates your data by connecting it and you to the systems you need to run your business," Sikka said.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.