German software giant SAP is hosting its annual Sapphire user and partner conference this week in Orlando, Florida, and all the majors in the IT community (many of who use SAP to run their own businesses) want to get a little piece of the PR action. In the case of Hewlett-Packard, Sapphire is all about promoting its expertise in …
What a disaster. So we've got this data format, XML, that is so inefficient to process that people need fricking quater-million-dollar hardware coprocessors to do it for them???!!! And it's not as if XML is some ancient format that we need to support for legacy reasons - no, it's a relatively recently invented format that could have anticipated this sort of problem.
According to the linked PDF, the XML transformation that the hardware board does is XSLT. A major issue with this language is that it's too easy to write O(n^2) or worse algorithms. You can often convert them to O(n log n) using a feature called "keys", but in my experience this is hard to do and prone to reveal bugs in the XSLT implementation. My guess is that at least some of the customers for this board are suffering from this kind of problem. This is, of course, something that would not be a problem if you used a "real" programming language or database to do the work. Throwing a hardware co-processor at an O(n^2) problem is really not the solution: just employ someone who was paying attention during their undergraduate algorithms course, and get them to replace the XSLT code with something better.
Damn, that's a rip-off! Yes, Netweaver is an immense issue, but I'm not sure it's a $250k issue! Has the numbers been done on this right? I mean, hp are usually pretty good at sizing up the market for appliances, but they sometimes get the software side wrong. I'm guessing they just looked at the biggest ten implementations in the US and forgot to think that the rest of the World usually runs SAP in smaller doses. Maybe there will be a DL380 version for Europe at half the cost next year, it would make more sense.
Engineering solution looking for a business
I'd rather have a Google spreadsheet that turns chaotic or inconsistent business processes into an orderly square - see elsewhere in today's ElReg. That might help decide on whether hidden gems/garbage are even worth XMLing for an interface.