Voilà! SAP Accelerating Move To Digitization

Query engine exploits in-memory Spark, Hadoop Big Data


In another evolutionary move to push its technology platform, SAP introduced a query engine called SAP HANA Vora that leverages open-source technologies including Spark to enable a host of commercial and consumer services that optimize Big Data, real-time transactions and online sentiment.

In addition, SAP announced new Business Services for the SAP HANA Cloud Platform that will make it easier to deliver highly customized business applications in the Cloud.

The latest move underscores SAP’s ambitious platform growth plan with Vora, which sits on top of Apache Spark execution framework for interactive analytics using Hadoop. In fact, Steve Lucas, global president of SAP Platform Solutions, proclaims that Vora will become the catalyst that drives its revenue growth beyond SAP’s current installed base of 290,000 customers.

With growing support from open-source database advocates, Hadoop is now widely deployed by many enterprises as data store for everything from train schedules to consumer credit reports. Since 2011, Hortonworks, for example, has secured more than 556 customers with its data management solution based on Hadoop. Cloudera, another Hadoop play, has signed over 650 customers after training over 35,000 people in Hadoop development, administration, and data science.

In other words, there are already tens of thousands enterprises, developers, consultants, and partner organizations exploiting Hadoop to its fullest extent using data access tools like Spark, Hive, and Solr. In Spark, SAP finds its in-memory capabilities highly compatible with HANA, its in-memory database. As a result, the combination of Spark and SAP HANA is making it easier for customers and developers to manage and query large amounts of disparate data with the help of Vora and other HANA Patform services that are in the pipeline.

Vora Use Cases

A case in point is when a carrier tries to measure customer reactions to different mobile payment plans and it could run Vora on top of a host of unstructured data being stored in Hadoop and ultimately make pricing or feature changes on the fly after capturing and analyzing social-media conversations – all happening on a real-time basis.

Furthermore, SAP said Vora will usher in new use cases including detection of anomalies in financial transactions and customer history data to mitigate risk and fraud, analysis of traffic patterns to help avoid network bottlenecks and improve network quality of service for carriers, and improvement of product recall process by analyzing bill-of-material, services records and sensor data together for better delivery of preventive maintenance. SAP calls Vora the innovative tool that enables contextual awareness in the digital economy.

The introduction of new Business Services for SAP HANA Cloud Platform opens a new chapter for the vendor, which previously was keen on attracting developers to better leverage SAP Cloud and hybrid applications through extensions and integration capabilities of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

The first iteration of HANA Cloud Platform, which has secured over 2,000 customers since its debut in 2012, is targeted at traditional on-premise SAP customers, SAP Cloud Customers, and third-party or non-SAP customers. With new modular cloud Business Services such as Tax as a Service, loyalty management, commerce management and Customer Center management, SAP is now bringing its strength as an application and solution provider to its PaaS offering. You can read more about my take of the HANA Cloud Platform in this article.

Today, the launch of SAP HANA Vora and SAP HANA Cloud Platform Business Services signal an evolution of the SAP’s in-memory technologies as SAP is positioning Vora more like the picks and shovels for anyone that wants to mine the vast amount of Big Data being generated with everyday use of sensors, social media content as well as unstructured information borne out of the smartphone revolution. And with HCP Business Services, developers and Line of Business professionals can now quickly create new digital applications from a set of pre-built and tested services – from SAP and from SAP’s ecosystem partners.

Examples of where the new SAP HANA Cloud Platform Business Services will come come in handy include the incorporation of SAP Hybris commerce services for marketing and selling of goods online, tax calculation services to address compliance requirements in some 75 countries, or even authentication technologies that comb through millions of logins to allow for easy access especially from those with proper credentials but often misplaced passwords.

SAP HANA Vora, which will be priced on a per-node subscription basis, is scheduled to be released to customers in late September. A cloud-based developer edition, which is expected to be free, will be available at the same time.

While it’s too early to characterize Vora as a game-changer, it does allow SAP to frame its Big Data and Hadoop strategy to its advantage. Along with plentiful open-source technology enablers, SAP is making use of a highly scalable infrastructure loaded with global data center operations.

The first iteration of HANA Cloud Platform has allowed the vendor to become much more entrenched with its current customers. Now with SAP Business Services on HCP, SAP hopes to capitalize on customers and partners developing and selling Business Services for HANA Cloud Platform in order to differentiate SAP’s Platform as a Service offering from other developer-centric services.