Last week SAP used the largest Software and IT fair – CeBIT – to make news in a number of areas, the one of interest is around HANA Vora, announced last year in September (we attended the launch event, blog post here), and now GA in its first release.

So let’s take apart the press release (it can be found here) in our customary style:
HANNOVER — SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced general availability of SAP HANA Vora, an in-memory query engine that brings powerful contextual analytics across all data stored in Hadoop, enterprise systems and other distributed data sources.MyPOV – Good summary, and they key step forward for SAP – as mentioned many times before, ‘Hadoop’ used to be a ‘bad’ word around SAP, that for the longest time was on the ‘in memory only’ track. We noticed the change at Sapphire 2015 and product certainty was created with Hana Vora in September last year.

To facilitate distributed data processing across enterprise and Hadoop data, SAP has contributed part of the code for SAP HANA Vora to the Apache Spark open source ecosystem.
MyPOV – Good to see SAP working with more open source in general, Vora maybe the largest contribution to open source that SAP has done so far. It certainly has the largest impact on SAP, as practically all next generation application use cases that enterprises are looking into, comprises BigData stored in Hadoop clusters. SAP before Vora could not address this data directly, so Vora is key for SAP to keep building 21st century applications. Even more important for Hana Cloud Platform (HCP), SAP’s PaaS tool that otherwise would not have been a competitive offering for stand alone projects, a market that SAP wants to be in and is effectively in.
SAP also announced that CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric (CenterPoint Energy) will implement the SAP HANA platform and SAP HANA Vora to bring together its highly distributed enterprise data framework. While Hadoop will allow CenterPoint Energy to reduce information technology costs associated with increasing Big Data storage requirements, SAP HANA Vora will allow for more informed business decisions through powerful data analytics. […]
MyPOV – Always good to see a customer on a press release, using the new announced capabilities – and good to see cost savings associated with Vora (no surprise, as HDD and SSD are cheaper than RAM).
CenterPoint Energy to Innovate for Customers
Delivering power to more than 2.3 million consumers, CenterPoint Energy collects electronic meter data every 15 minutes for energy usage reporting, which leads to substantial data storage costs. Within six weeks, SAP and CenterPoint Energy architected a testing environment that processed over 5 billion records of data with Hadoop, SAP HANA and SAP HANA Vora. As a result of its successful test deployment, CenterPoint Energy will implement and standardize on the SAP HANA platform and SAP HANA Vora.
MyPOV – Great to see the use case and very clear (as we blogged and stated many times) that in memory (so HANA) cannot be the all encompassing solution for IoT scenarios.
“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. “With the help of SAP, we are transforming to a ‘live’ digital enterprise to better serve customers.”
MyPOV – Good quote from the CIO, Hayes, hitting the right points here – the combination of ERP data in HANA with IoT and Analytics capabilities, that otherwise would not have been easily integrated and accessible from SAP, with SAP tools. 
Digitizing Businesses with SAP HANA Vora 
[…] “As organizations begin their journey toward becoming smarter digital enterprises, the natural starting point and enabler is their core in-memory technology platform,” said Greg McStravick, general manager and global head of Platform GTM, SAP. “With SAP HANA and SAP HANA Vora, customers can turn massive amounts of Big Data into business context. We are pleased to work with companies like CenterPoint Energy who value the customer service enhancements that a single, end-to-end digital enterprise platform linking corporate data, social sentiment and other data such as weather patterns can provide.”
MyPOV – Good quote from McStravick – but while I understand the perspective, he has it wrong: It is not the Hadoop based BigData that gives context to the business data – but business data that is the context to the (gravitational) BigData. SAP needs to get that perspective right soon, so it can create value for its customers with the right solutions.
SAP HANA Vora leverages and extends the Apache Spark execution framework to provide enriched interactive analytics on Hadoop. The core foundation of SAP HANA is complemented by SAP HANA Vora, which is designed to add insight across large volumes of operational and contextual data taken from enterprise applications, data warehouses, data lakes and edge Internet of Things sensors.
MyPOV – Good description of what HANA Vora does – the ‘divouring’ of massive volumes of data residing in Hadoop, that in memory HANA could never hold. Keeping Vora to Spark keeps the HANA to Vora an in memory connection and thus on ‘even footing’. Good approach to keep the ‘speed’ argument going, but in most use cases we expect Vora to query data in Hadoop that is not RAM based.
SAP HANA Vora aims to solve key Big Data challenges by providing:
Data correlation for making precise contextual decisions — Enables mashup of operational business data with external unstructured data sources for more powerful analytics
MyPOV – Very powerful and very important – but it’s the business data that is the context – not the unstructured data.
Simplified management of Big Data — Allows data to be processed locally on a Hadoop cluster, removing any data ownership and integration challenges
MyPOV – Indeed, much easier to keep e.g. IoT data in Hadoop instead of cycling it into memory via federation tools from Sybase. 
Online analytical processing (OLAP) modeling capabilities on Hadoop data— Makes real-time drill-down analysis possible on large volumes of Hadoop data distributed across thousands of nodes
MyPOV – Very powerful indeed, but the ‘drill up’ is equally important, just finding the business content to data stored in Hadoop clusters… even on a single occurrence level.
SAP HANA Vora is targeted at benefiting customers in various industries where highly interactive Big Data analytics in a business process context is paramount, such as financial services, telecommunications, utilities, healthcare and manufacturing. SAP has an established partner ecosystem, including Cloudera, Databricks, Hortonworks and MapR Technologies, that plans to support SAP HANA Vora. Read what SAP partners have to say at “Partner Quotes: SAP HANA Vora Now Available to Bring Contextual Analytics Across All Enterprise and Big Data Systems.”
MyPOV – Good to see this as an ecosystem play and good for SAP to have all key Hadoop and Spark players on board. 

Supporting the Apache Spark Community 
SAP has recently open-sourced new features to the Apache Spark ecosystem, one of the most active open source communities. These features include a data hierarchy capability that enables drill-down analysis on Hadoop data, and an extension to Spark’s data source application program interface (API) that improves distributed query efficiency from Spark to SAP HANA. These open source offerings are now available as a GitHub project. SAP plans to strengthen its commitment to the developer community by continuing to make more open source contributions in the future.
MyPOV – Good to see SAP using more open source, but also supporting open source with contributions. It will be interesting to see if any other enterprises software vendors will start contributing to Vora, or if this will remain an SAP only contribution.

Overall MyPOV

Always good to see software vendors deliver, especially when it is a strategic piece of software, that basically allows the vendor to survive for the next decades to come. Some people may think this is exaggerated, but those should keep in mind that SAP had no Hadoop story 12 months ago. The question will now have to be if Vora is the right and the full story – but it the start of a new book for SAP, and we are in the first chapter.

On the concern side, as elaborated above – SAP will need to make sure the perspective is not coming from the traditional (HANA based) ERP application, but from the Hadoop based Bigdata. That is where enterprises are building their next generation applications – in may use cases out of sheer necessity, because all other storage mechanisms and mediums are not cost effective or even – if cost played no role – feasible. The sooner SAP understands this – the better.

But for now, a good day for SAP customers as their vendor has done major step to future proof offerings and to remain a key player in enterprise software going forward. Tuning is always part of an offering and I am sure SAP will sooner than later get the whole story right.

More on SAP:
  • Event Report - SAP Ariba Live - Make Procurement Cool Again - read here
  • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors innovates in Performance Management with continuous feedback powered by 1 to 1s  - read here
  • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Good Progress sprinkled with innovative ideas and challenging the status quo - read here
  • News Analysis - WorkForce Software Announces Global Reseller Agreement with SAP - read here
  • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Day #1 Keynote Top 3 Takeaways - read here
  • News Analysis - SAP SuccessFactors introduces Next Generation of HCM software - read here
  • News Analysis - SAP delivers next release of SAP HANA - SPS 10 - Ready for BigData and IoT - read here
  • Event Report - SAP Sapphire - Top 3 Positives and Concerns - read here
  • First Take - Bernd Leukert and Steve Singh Day #2 Keynote - read here
  • News Analysis - SAP and IBM join forces ... read here
  • First Take - SAP Sapphire Bill McDermott Day #1 Keynote - read here
  • In Depth - S/4HANA qualities as presented by Plattner - play for play - read here
  • First Take - SAP Cloud for Planning - the next spreadsheet killer is off to a good start - read here
  • Progress Report - SAP HCM makes progress and consolidates - a lot of moving parts - read here
  • First Take - SAP launches S/4HANA - The good, the challenge and the concern - read here
  • First Take - SAP's IoT strategy becomes clearer - read here
  • SAP appoints a CTO - some musings - read here
  • Event Report - SAP's SAPtd - (Finally) more talk on PaaS, good progress and aligning with IBM and Oracle - read here
  • News Analysis - SAP and IBM partner for cloud success - good news - read here
  • Market Move - SAP strikes again - this time it is Concur and the spend into spend management - read here
  • Event Report - SAP SuccessFactors picks up speed - but there remains work to be done - read here
  • First Take - SAP SuccessFactors SuccessConnect - Top 3 Takeaways Day 1 Keynote - read here.
  • Event Report - Sapphire - SAP finds its (unique) path to cloud - read here
  • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire - read here
  • News Analysis - SAP becomes more about applications - again - read here
  • Market Move - SAP acquires Fieldglass - off to the contingent workforce - early move or reaction? Read here.
  • SAP's startup program keep rolling – read here.
  • Why SAP acquired KXEN? Getting serious about Analytics – read here.
  • SAP steamlines organization further – the Danes are leaving – read here.
  • Reading between the lines… SAP Q2 Earnings – cloudy with potential structural changes – read here.
  • SAP wants to be a technology company, really – read here
  • Why SAP acquired hybris software – read here.
  • SAP gets serious about the cloud – organizationally – read here.
  • Taking stock – what SAP answered and it didn’t answer this Sapphire [2013] – read here.
  • Act III & Final Day – A tale of two conference – Sapphire & SuiteWorld13 – read here.
  • The middle day – 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
  • A tale of 2 keynotes and press releases – Sapphire & SuiteWorld – read here.
  • What I would like SAP to address this Sapphire – read here.
  • Why 3rd party maintenance is key to SAP’s and Oracle’s success – read here.
  • Why SAP acquired Camillion – read here.
  • Why SAP acquired SmartOps – read here.
  • Next in your mall – SAP and Oracle? Read here
And more about SAP technology:
  • Event Prieview - SAP TechEd 2015 - read here
  • News Analysis - SAP Unveils New Cloud Platform Services and In-Memory Innovation on Hadoop to Accelerate Digital Transformation – A key milestone for SAP read here
  • HANA Cloud Platform - Revisited - Improvements ahead and turning into a real PaaS - read here
  • News Analysis - SAP commits to CloudFoundry and OpenSource - key steps - but what is the direction? - Read here.
  • News Analysis - SAP moves Ariba Spend Visibility to HANA - Interesting first step in a long journey - read here
  • Launch Report - When BW 7.4 meets HANA it is like 2 + 2 = 5 - but is 5 enough - read here
  • Event Report - BI 2014 and HANA 2014 takeaways - it is all about HANA and Lumira - but is that enough? Read here.
  • News Analysis – SAP slices and dices into more Cloud, and of course more HANA – read here.
  • SAP gets serious about open source and courts developers – about time – read here.
  • My top 3 takeaways from the SAP TechEd keynote – read here.
  • SAP discovers elasticity for HANA – kind of – read here.
  • Can HANA Cloud be elastic? Tough – read here.
  • SAP’s Cloud plans get more cloudy – read here.
  • HANA Enterprise Cloud helps SAP discover the cloud (benefits) – read here.

Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here