SAP this week made good on its promise to enable business intelligence tools typically used on traditional enterprise data to leverage insights from big data stored in Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark.
SAP fulfilled the promise with the release to general availability of SAP HANA Vora, an in-memory query engine that enables contextual analytics across all data stored in Hadoop, enterprise systems, and other distributed data sources, SAP said.
Connecting business intelligence-type tools to big data storage is something that many organizations want to do, but it hasn't always been easy to accomplish. And so many vendors recently have been working to provide solutions to connect tools used in the BI world to the big data that is now being collected by many organizations.
And the answer has frequently been to ELT (extract, load, and transform), moving a subset of the data to another storage location so that it can be used by traditional business intelligence tools. SAP HANA Vora enables the data to stay in Hadoop as business analysts use OLAP modeling and SQL to work with the data.
Indeed, a Gartner Magic Quadrant report last month for Data Warehouse and Data Management Solutions for Analytics noted that disruption is accelerating in this market.
"Customers now expect solutions that support all types of data for analytics and that take a coordinated approach," Gartner wrote in its report. "This demands different types of integrated solution and an interoperable services tier for managing and delivering data. Data lakes and the ability to manage streaming data are now being pursued by a growing number of organizations."
In the same report, Gartner noted that SAP has continued to update its HANA positioning by expanding on the role of Hadoop with technology such as SAP HANA Vora and other database management systems "as part of an ecosystem that contributes to a more balanced logical data warehouse approach."
Along with its Tuesday announcement of the general availability of Vora, SAP also announced a customer has already implemented the technology.
CenterPoint Energy's Houston Electric created a pilot of the SAP technology to solve its storage problems. The company delivers power to more than 2.3 million consumers, and it was collecting data from electronic meters every 15 minutes for energy usage reporting. Storing all that data was expensive.
The company worked with SAP to create a testing environment that processed over 5 billion records of data with Hadoop, SAP HANA, and SAP 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," said Gary Hayes, CIO and SVP of CenterPoint Energy, in a prepared statement.
SAP HANA Vora also leverages Apache Spark's execution framework to enable interactive analytics on Hadoop, the company said. And SAP has recently contributed a few new features to the Apache Spark ecosystem, available as a GitHub project, including a data hierarchy capability that enables drill-down analysis on Hadoop data, and an extension to Spark's data source API that improves distributed query efficiency from Spark to SAP HANA.