SAP's HANA Vora Query Engine Harnesses Spark, Hadoop for Data Analysis

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2015-09-02 Print this article Print

SAP says its new HANA Vora query engine extends the Apache Spark processing engine to provide the data analytics muscle to pull business insights from all types of big data.  

SAP is introducing a new in-memory query engine called HANA Vora that leverages the Apache Spark open source data processing engine and Hadoop to mine business insights from vast stores of data produced by machines, business transactions and sensors.

The name Vora, short for "voracious," according to the company, reflects the product’s ability to apply big data analytics techniques to enormous quantities of data.

"HANA Vora plugs into Apache Spark to bring business data awareness, performance and real-time analytics to the enormous volumes of data that industries of all types will generate just in the next five years,” said Quentin Clark, SAP's chief technology officer, in a video introducing Vora.

Clark cited estimates that global businesses will generate 44 trillion gigabytes of data by 2020. Vora will enable enterprises to merge this vast quantity of new data with existing enterprise data sets to "make meaning out of all that data."

SAP says its goal with HANA Vora is to relieve much of the complexity and grunt work with Spark and Hadoop to produce meaningful business insights from distributed data sets.

The trick is to put big data analytics in context with an understanding of business processes to pull business insights from the data. That is what SAP says HANA Vora will achieve.

Financial services, health care, manufacturing and telecommunications are just a few of the industries where big data analytics can produce significant improvements to business processes, according to SAP.

For example, Vora can be used in the telecommunications industry to relieve network congestion by analyzing traffic patterns.  It can also be used to detect anomalies in large volumes of financial transactions that indicate the possibility of fraud.

The company plans to release HANA Vora to customers in late September. Also available will be a cloud-based developer edition.

SAP's introduction of Vora is an “interesting strategic and practical move that could pay dividends over time," said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT.

"In essence, Vora is an in-memory query processor that can be used to speed queries of unstructured data in Hadoop/Apache Spark environments, as well as structured information in common enterprise data sources, including SAP HANA. That could be a very attractive proposition to SAP's large enterprise customers."

The introduction of Vora is fairly timely because "Apache Spark is a very hot topic right now and other vendors, including IBM are making sizable investments" in Spark and Hadoop technology, King noted. SAP is bringing Vora to market at a time when adoption of Spark is still in its early stages and making it work with other SAP technology such as HANA, King noted.

SAP also announced application development enhancements to the SAP HANA Cloud Platform that will enable enterprises to speed up the development of a variety of applications

One of the enhancements enables enterprises to develop applications that gather and analyze data collected from sensors and industrial control devices connected to the Internet of Things. Services available on this platform include device data connectivity, device management and data synchronization features.

SAP also announced new business services running on the HANA cloud platform. These include a new SAP global tax calculation service that is going into limited trial in September. It allows companies to calculate taxes from more than 75 countries around the world.

The service supports many tax functions, including withholding taxes, value-added taxes and import/export taxes. The service also keeps pace with changes in tax laws that alter tax calculations.

The company also announced a public beta test program for the SAP Hybris-as-a-Service on the HANA Cloud platform. Hybris is a cloud platform for building business services of virtually any kind. The Hybris- as-a-Service platform  is open to independent software vendors, enterprise IT organizations and systems providers to build their own cloud services and market them to customers or other application developers.

Hybris was originally founded in Switzerland in 1997 to develop and sell multi-channel ecommerce software. SAP acquired Hybris in 2013.



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