SAP Open Sources Memory Analysis

SAP on Wednesday announced its first contribution to the Eclipse developer community previously only available in its NetWeaver stack. Memory Analyzer, which was developed under the Eclipse Public License, is intended to make life easier for developers building applications that require lots of memory.

Developers use the Eclipse Framework to create applications and toolkits for Java and other programming languages. The framework includes the open source, Java-based Eclipse integrated development environment (IDE) on which SAP’s NetWeaver is based. Other competitive Java IDEs are also based on the Eclipse IDE, including those from IBM’s Rational, BEA and Oracle among others who may now also potentially benefit from this SAP contribution.

SAP was an original member of the Eclipse consortium, which began in 2001, and it was a founding member of the Eclipse Foundation in 2004, so it’s not surprising it chose Eclipse to contribute to.

Memory Analyzer provides a graphics-based snapshot of object-retention patterns and provides developers with the information they need to optimize memory usage without interrupting the business applications in use or crashing the Java virtual machine hosting the application.

This belated gift to the open source community comes about two weeks after SAP announced that for the first time since its debut in 2003, developers can now buy an annual developer license for its NetWeaver platform directly from its Web site at a significantly discounted price.

Both of these strategic decisions are intended to grow SAP’s Developer Network from roughly 900,000 developers to more than 1.5 million developers by the end of 2008.

Michael Bechauf, vice president of standards for SAP’s Global Ecosystems and Partner Group, said SAP held off on sharing the code until it was confident the Eclipse environment was developed enough to support the needs of large enterprise customers running multiple, high-volume applications at the same time.

A Memory Analyzer plug-in has been available for download from SAP’s Web site at no cost for more than a year. And customers with full NetWeaver licenses have been using it even longer.

“It took a while,” Bechauf said in an interview with “But we’re now going forward and very excited to be doing this. We’re inviting developers to extend it and continue to improve it.”

And then, eventually, SAP would be able to take the improved and modified applications created by sharing their source code back to their installed client base to sell future applications or encourage new customers to invest in the NetWeaver platform.

Memory Analyzer is particularly well suited, Bechauf said, for developers building applications for an on-demand or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)  model, another strategic shift SAP has embraced with its Business ByDesign platform.

“It’s really for anyone who is building applications that needs lots of memory and need to be optimized,” he said. “Not only for on-demand applications but it’s true that on-demand has lots of users hitting their system simultaneously and over long periods of time.”

Denis Pombriant, an analyst at Beagle Research Group, said opening up its code to Java developers is a natural progression for SAP, as it adjusts to changing dynamics in the enterprise software market.

“I think it’s really just implementing what should be a standard practice for platform developers,” he said. “The network is only as valuable as the number of people on it. The platform isn’t valuable unless lots of developers are developing lots of applications to drive sales for the licensed seat holder. They’ve recognized that now, and they’re going all out.”

SAP is also spending a lot of money.

The company on Wednesday also announced it had acquired Yasu Technologies, an India-based developer of business rules management software. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though it wasn’t as impressive a financial output by SAP as its $6.8 billion acquisition of Business Objects last week.

SAP said the addition of Yasu Technologies will round out its business process management suite and will be included in the NetWeaver stack.

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