How Accurate Was Fortune on Vora?

Executive Summary

  • Article Quotations
  • Why the World Needs Vora
  • How Common is HANA and Vora Discussed in Big Data Circles
  • Vora Works With What?
  • The Problem with Vora and the Dominance of Open Source Big Data Products
  • Making Hadoop a “Corporate Database”

Introduction

On Sept 1, 2015 Fortune published an article titled A Look at HANA, SAP pitches Vora to bridge the big data gap.

In this article, we will evaluate the accuracy of this Fortune article.

Article Quotations

Why the World Needs Vora

The world has been drowning in talk about big data, the massive troves of information churned out by sensors, engines, and other machinery. That information can be very useful to businesses but there’s been a divide between that often-formless data and the more structured, traditional data that resides in a company’s databases, inventory, or sales systems.

SAP (SAP, +0.70%) proposes to bridge that divide with Vora, an in-memory query processor that plugs into Spark, open-source software that developers and data scientists use to ask questions of all that data.

Apache Spark is open source (free) technology geared to speed up data queries of unstructured data, but the goal of Vora is to augment, not displace, Spark said Steve Lucas, president of SAP’s Platform Products Group. Vora, slated to ship this month, proposes to speed up queries to a company’s various “data lakes” he told Fortune.

What Fortune is not bringing up is that it is quite unclear what the value is of Vora over spark.

Secondly, HANA has a very small footprint in Big Data. AWS, for instance, does not offer HANA as part of its Big Data offering. AWS offers Spark for in-memory caching and optimized execution. One can create Spark clusters from the AWS Management Consol, but not Vora and not HANA. And it is not as if AWS does not offer HANA. But they don’t offer it as part of their Big Data offering. AWS does offer Vora, but not part of their main AWS offering. Why?

How Common is HANA and Vora Discussed in Big Data Circles

Outside of SAP marketing and sales cycles, Vora and HANA are not discussed when it comes to Big Data.

Hadoop is an open source database that is a great value and has many tools that work extremely well without the proprietary and highly expensive HANA database.

A big part of the product’s appeal will be that it plugs into both Hadoop/Spark ecosystems and into transactional data sources, including SAP HANA. “We embracing Hadoop and Spark and bringing the online transaction processing world together with them,” Lucas said.

Lucas is known to provide inaccurate information on SAP, so his credibility is low due to this history. Lucas also knows very little about databases. This is made clear in the article Analysis of Steve Lucas’ Article on What Oracle Won’t Tell Your About HANA. And once again, he makes the preposterous statement that SAP embraces Hadoop and Spark. SAP would have to wouldn’t they as Hadoop and Spark are the industry standard in Big Data and SAP is virtually nowhere with Big Data. And when Steve Lucas states that OLTP is brought together with them, it makes absolutely no sense.

OLTP has nothing to do with Big Data!

HANA is OLAP, not OLTP, so it is normally just a good practice to ignore Steve Lucas. Some people don’t really make any effort to learn the topic areas in which they work. And amazingly, Fortune simply allowed this statement to be published without questioning its obvious inaccuracy.

Vora Works With What?

Why the name? Vora was selected because it’s the Latin root for “voracious,” the implication being that Vora can consume large amounts of data, according to an SAP spokeswoman.

To be clear, the use of SAP HANA, the focal point of the company’s software push, is something SAP would recommend, but is not required. “We think Vora works well without HANA, but even better (natch!) with HANA, ” he said.

This is a strange statement. What else would Vora work with?

SAP’s Vora plugs into existing Apache Ambari console so developers can keep using their tools of choice.

SAP, a leader in enterprise software, is addressing a key need of big companies that want to query both their existing data warehouses and Hadoop data, ” said Nick Heudecker, research director at Gartner.

That is strange because that is not what Spark is used for.

The Problem with Vora and the Dominance of Open Source Big Data Products

“SAP was smart to build it on Spark which is the loudest parade in town right now and very programmer focused,” Neudecker added.

One potential downside to Vora is that lot of the programmers in this field have an affinity for open-source software and SAP, is definitively a commercial software company which means it likes to be paid for its software. It will make a free developer version of Vora available on Amazon (AMZN, +0.11%) Web Services, but it cannot be deployed in production. Otherwise, commercial-use Vora will be priced on a subscription model with an 18-month term.

Yes, that is a massive downside.

And an even bigger downside is that it is entirely unclear how Vora adds any value over Spark. And the Big Data market is dominated by open source databases and tools, which looks bad for SAP’s entry has SAP’s software cost and TCO is normally the highest in any application category in which SAP has an offering.

Making Hadoop a “Corporate Database”

IDC research vice president Carl Olofson said Vora will let companies optimize their Hortonworks (HDP, +0.83%) Hadoop and make it more like a corporate database in terms of queries and query performance.

That statement is illogical. Does Carl mean that it will make Hadoop more like an RDBMS? If so, that is not a desirable end state. I have never heard of the term corporate database before, and it is not a distinction I am aware of.

Other tech vendors are working on federated data query across different data platforms, but Olofson said the most direct competitors to Vora would be from data analytics companies like Platfora and Zaloni.

Conclusion

Fortune receives a score of 1 out of 10 on the article. Fortune simply allows representatives from SAP to say whatever they like. The article presents the fact that SAP is offering Vora, but does not analyze Vora or validate anything that SAP says. This article appears to be a paid placement and written by SAP.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

References

https://fortune.com/2015/09/01/sap-to-bridge-big-data-gap/?iid=sr-link8

https://aws.amazon.com/emr/details/spark/

https://aws.amazon.com/sap/solutions/saphana/

https://aws.amazon.com/marketplace/pp/B06XPRDWWK?ref_=%22hmpg_products_new%22_B06XPRDWWK_4

Risk Estimation and Calculation

Risk Estimation and Calculation

See our free project risk estimators that are available per application. The provide a method of risk analysis that is not available from other sources.

project_software_risk

How Accurate is SAP on Vora?

Executive Summary

  • HANA and SAP Big Data
  • SAP Vora Product Page Analysis

Introduction

SAP has been proposing HANA for a new purpose, namely to serve as the database for the customer’s SAP Big Data.

Is HANA a good choice for Big Data? That is it time for SAP Big Data? In this article, we analyze the accuracy of SAP’s Vora product page.

SAP’s Vora Quotes

“SAP Vora is an in-memory, distributed computing solution that helps organizations uncover actionable business insights from Big Data. Use it to run enriched, interactive analytics on both enterprise and Hadoop data, quickly and easily.”

Vora is designed for this purpose. Vora is essentially a connector between HANA and Hadoop.

“SAP Vora enables businesses to analyze all data on a distributed computing framework to readily deliver insights or applications that meet business needs. Use it to generate actionable insights from vast amounts of distributed data at the speed of business to drive innovation and competitive advantage.”

Yes, this describes what Vora does.

“Actionable insights from Big Data: Make decisions in near real time based on your entire set of data, even if it comes in different formats and from diverse sources.”

Decisions do not need to be made in real time. In fact, almost no decisions are. In fact, it is rare for companies to use HANA, or other in memory databases to connect them to Hadoop, as other factors are simply more important than what SAP proposes is important. Secondly, SAP is not well established in the Big Data space, so their views on the topic mean considerably less than companies that are better established as Big Data vendors.

  • “Simplified IT landscape: Reduce the complexity of working with Big Data using a single, unified platform with a simple-to-use Web interface that works for any use case.”

HANA and Vora do not simplify the IT landscape. Simplification has been a common trope used by SAP, but HANA is a complex and high maintenance database.

  • “Self-service Big Data computing: SAP Vora lets everyone from business analysts and data scientists to engineers and developers use familiar tools and programming languages to analyze huge amounts of data, quickly and efficiently.”

HANA is not a self-service database. This is entirely misleading. And SAP offers no differentiation regarding programming languages that any other vendors do not offer.

  •  In-memory, distributed computing engines –relational, time series, graph, and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) processing engines with specialized algorithms for respective data formats
  • SQL access to time series, graph, and JSON data
  • Web interface with  SQL editor, data browser, and drag-and-drop function
  • Seamless integration with the SAP HANA platform – which enables bi-directional data exchange between SAP HANA and Hadoop

SAP often declares that their integration is seamless. But other solutions offered by competitors have far more installs than does HANA or Vora. Therefore, they are far less risky.

Vora is based on Apache Spark, but is far less used than Apache Spark, and is far more expensive in both software cost as well as consulting cost.

“Disk-to-memory accelerator – which assures high performance even when dataset sizes exceed memory capacity

Enterprise-grade data security”

There is nothing on this list that a more proven offering also has.

Extend the functionality of SAP Vora

  • SAP HANA Platform – In-memory database and application platform
  • SAP IQ – Logical Big Data warehousing (OLAP)
  • SAP SQL Anywhere – For designing embedded database applications for mobile and remote environments
  • SAP Data Services – All types of data integration
  • SAP Lumira – Self-service data visualization for everyone

There is no such thing as SAP HANA Platform. HANA is a database. But it is not a database that is typically connected to Hadoop. SAP needs Hadoop, but no one outside of a controlled SAP customer would merely buy HANA to connect it to Hadoop. It just is not done.

SAP IQ is the old Sybase IQ, and it has difficulty in getting many sales. It is also not a “Big Data warehouse,” whatever that is. It is similar in design to HANA, although SAP primarily positions it as an archival system for HANA.

SAP SQL Anywhere could be used, but other alternatives are more prominent, and they are free.

SAP Data Services is a lagging set of integration adapters. There is no reason to use it.

Lumira is modeled after Tableau, and if you do not focus on the backend, it is impressively easy to use. But Lumira has few customers.

Conclusion

SAP did accurately describe what Vora is. But SAP seems to imply that because SAP has an entry, that it is necessarily a good solution to use. SAP fares very poorly against Big Data competitors and it very little Big Data business, which means that there is very little reason to use SAP for Big Data, and little reason to purchase Vora.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

References

https://www.sap.com/products/hana-vora-hadoop.related-products.html

The Risk Estimation Book

 

Software RiskRethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Better Managing Software Risk

The software implementation is risky business and success is not a certainty. But you can reduce risk with the strategies in this book. Undertaking software selection and implementation without approximating the project’s risk is a poor way to make decisions about either projects or software. But that’s the way many companies do business, even though 50 percent of IT implementations are deemed failures.

Finding What Works and What Doesn’t

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Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 3: The Basics of Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 4: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
Chapter 5: Software Sell-ability versus Implementability
Chapter 6: Selecting the Right IT Consultant
Chapter 7: How to Use the Reports of Analysts Like Gartner
Chapter 8: How to Interpret Vendor-Provided Information to Reduce Project Risk
Chapter 9: Evaluating Implementation Preparedness
Chapter 10: Using TCO for Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Software Decisions’ Risk Component Model

Risk Estimation and Calculation

Risk Estimation and Calculation

See our free project risk estimators that are available per application. The provide a method of risk analysis that is not available from other sources.

project_software_risk