by Thor Olavsrud

SAP’s HANA Vora bridges divide between enterprise and Hadoop data

Mar 15, 2016
AnalyticsBig DataBusiness Intelligence

The SAP HANA Vora software is designed to allow companies to analyze data stored in Hadoop, enterprise systems and other distributed data sources.

data integration
Credit: Thinkstock

Aiming to help bring contextual analytics to the data organizations have stored in Hadoop, enterprise systems and other distributed data sources, SAP Tuesday announced the general availability of in-memory query engine SAP HANA Vora.

SAP debuted the software last September, though Ken Tsai, vice president, head of Cloud Platform & Data Management, Product Marketing, at SAP, says the company has been working on it behind the scenes for years.

“We really wanted to make the distributed computing framework a reality across big enterprise workloads and big data workloads,” he says.

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HANA Vora allows organizations to use familiar online analytical processing (OLAP) and programming languages to analyze all available data in enterprise and Hadoop systems in a coherent way, Tsai says, bridging the divide between enterprise data and ever-expanding volumes of big data. It’s designed to add insight across large volumes of operational and contextual data from enterprise applications, data warehouses, data lakes and edge Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. It leverages the Apache Spark execution framework to provide enriched interactive analytics on Hadoop, including:

  • Data correlation for making precise contextual decisions. Vora enables a mashup of operational business data with external unstructured data sources for more powerful analytics.
  • Simplified management of big data. Vora allows data to be processed locally on a Hadoop cluster, removing data ownership and integration challenges.
  • OLAP modeling capabilities on Hadoop. Vora makes real-time drill-down analysis possible on large volumes of Hadoop data distributed across thousands of nodes.

SAP has partnered with Databricks, the company founded by the creators of Spark, as well as Hadoop distribution vendors Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR Technologies to support HANA Vora. The company has also contributed part of the Vora code to the Apache Spark open source ecosystem in an effort to drive development of the software.

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“As big data matures and becomes mission critical, there is a growing need for traditional methods of analysis such as OLAP to become widely available on Hadoop,” Steve Wooledge, vice president of Product Marketing at MapR Technologies, said in a statement Tuesday. “SAP HANA Vora brings the power of a Spark-powered OLAP analysis solution to analysts and data scientists alike for bridging the worlds of structured and unstructured data.”

Tsai notes that SAP brings its expertise in supply chain planning, financial planning and optimizing resource constraints to the Spark community and will leverage that expertise to help extend Spark to meet enterprise application developer needs.

Houston, Tx.-based CenterPoint Energy — an electric and natural gas utility that serves markets in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas — is one of the first SAP customers implementing the SAP HANA platform and SAP HANA Vora to bring together its highly distributed enterprise data framework.

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CenterPoint Energy delivers power to more than 2.3 million consumers, and the company collects electronic meter data every 15 minutes for energy usage reporting. That leads to substantial data storage costs. But Tsai says that within a six-week window, SAP and CenterPoint Energy architected a testing environment that processed over 5 billion records of data using Hadoop, SAP HANA and SAP HANA Vora.

“They want to create a very large big data warehouse data processing framework that can handle data stored in a central data warehouse and add contextual insights from the smart meter data stored in a data reservoir,” Tsai says.

Based on the successful test deployment, the utility plans to implement and standardize on the HANA platform and HANA Vora.

“Our initial analysis proved that SAP HANA paired with SAP HANA Vora is the right solution for us moving forward operationally, while allowing for innovation around our Internet of Things and predictive analytics initiatives,” Gary Hayes, CIO and senior vice president of CenterPoint Energy, said in a statement Tuesday. “With the help of SAP, we are transforming to a ‘live’ digital enterprise to better serve customers.”

Tsai notes that while SAP sees the HANA platform and HANA Vora as complementary technologies, Vora stands alone and can be used independently.