HANA meets Hadoop: SAP tech chief champions Vora for clearer big data insights

SAP reveals HANA Vora software engine for boosting big data analytics

SAP is touting business-driven contextual analytics as the future of analysing big data stored in Hadoop clusters, revealing HANA Vora as the software engine to do this in real time.

Vora has been built as an extension of Apache Spark, and is effectively an in-memory query engine that can make the process of data analysis more in depth and oriented around business processes.

Irfan Khan chief technology officer of SAP Global Customer OperationsIrfan Khan (pictured), chief technology officer of SAP’s global customer operations, told V3 that Vora is built from the SQL engine found in SAP’s HANA platform.

“Vora is componentising the SQL engine out of the HANA environment, and then deploying it as an execution engine directly into the Spark framework,” he said.

Khan explained that Vora builds on compute backbone provided by Spark and enables big data analysis to be carried out in real time rather than in batch analysis.

Using the combination of a SQL query execution engine and Spark, Vora enables analysis to be carried out directly on data stored in Hadoop, rather than requiring data to be taken out of the cluster and put into a separate analytical environment with the need to apply analysis tools on top.

“You take the same core execution engine of HANA and you distribute that out across the Spark environment or cluster, and that allows people to do very high-end analytical drill downs across large amounts of data, and it gets you to much more of an insightful position without actually having to do a lot of the heavyweight lifting,” explained Khan.

Interestingly, being componentised as a separate execution engine, Vora does not need to be used directly with HANA if customers prefer to use a different database management platform or to conduct analysis just on data in Hadoop.

However, Khan explained that businesses can benefit from using Vora as a bridge between regularly updated and accessed business data kept in HANA with historical and mass data stored in Hadoop data lakes.

This connectivity allows two different sources of data to be mashed together without needing a separate analysis environment, enabling data scientists and developers to conduct analysis against large data sets and glean contextual insight relevant to their business.

Khan said that, in effect, Vora enables traditional business-oriented analytics, seen with online analytical processing, to be carried out on data normally not easily suited for such work.

For example, financial institutions could use Vora to detect anomalies in transactional and customer data, and use the analysis to fight fraud and manage financial risks.

Telecoms companies could use Vora to conduct analysis on data relating to network traffic patterns, and optimise bandwidth and services by avoiding traffic bottlenecks on the network.

Khan said is positioning Vora as a tool for improving the analysis of increasing amounts of data being harvested from numerous sources, such as business apps and the Internet of Things.

He noted that enterprises are becoming more concerned with how they get value from the big data kept in Hadoop but not regularly accessed.

“Storage has been taken care of at the IT level for many, many years by the adoption of Hadoop for storage, but compute has still really been lacking,” he said.

“Where SAP is coming into this now is we anticipate people want to do real-time insights and be able to drill-down and create analytical type of views of some of that cold storage or data lakes sitting in Hadoop environments.”

Vora is also being targeted at a variety of industries, and SAP is touting its potential use in the financial, telecoms, healthcare and manufacturing sectors.

For example, it could aid the process of preventative maintenance and product recalls by analysing bill-on-material and service records with data from sensors.

SAP also revealed plans for enhancements to the HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) to bolster its digital connectivity to apps and internet-connected devices, improve security for mobile apps, boost user collaboration through the SAP Jam social platform and offer gamification services that can be integrated into apps.

The HCP is slated to have pre-built applications that use SAP’s Fiori user experience and design language to which HCP users can connect their systems or use as a foundation for their own business apps.

SAP will also look at delivering its hybrid e-commerce software-as-a-service through the HCP in a bid to expand the scope of business services the cloud platform can offer.

The company is on a mission to build out its cloud-based offerings, as seen with the cloud-focused ‘Run Simple’ strategy.

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7 September 2015 | 11:39 am – Source: v3.co.uk

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