First off, I have to say that if anyone can relate Benjamin Button, babies, Darwinism, and enterprise data platforms, it’s going to be Steve Lucas. He kicked off TechEd 2015 here in Las Vegas, and pretty much in line with everyone’s expectations, delivered it better than anyone else I could think of. In front of a live HANA cluster… and treadmills, and Amazon’s Alexa, it was the perfect backdrop upon which to talk about SAP’s strategy to tackle the challenges of the digital enterprise.
Be sure to watch the keynote online (http://events.sap.com/teched/en/session/22781) in case you missed it!
It was a great presentation, and there were a few key themes that Steve brought up which I think are important to keep in mind when looking at the data platform of the future. Here’s some food for thought.
The Connected World and the Internet of Things (Internet of Things Solutions | IoT Scenarios | SAP)
This is definitely going to be one of the big topics going forward for every industry out there. Whether you’re a retail bank, a farmer, a consumer products goods company, this is definitely something that is relevant to everyone. The reduction in cost for sensor devices means that everything has a series of sensors in it. Geolocation, fuel levels, temperature, humidity, you name it, we can get to it. This ability to embed sensors in large scale and at low cost means that there is a new untapped market for innovative use cases. Connected electric vehicle chargers to optimize power grid usage? Check. Drone based feedback for cattle and plant health monitoring? Check. Financial network analysis for fraud detection? Check. What this also means, though, is that a new data platform must be available to support these use cases since it is a fairly unprecedented access to data streams what we now have. The traditional row based data stores and the legacy overnight data bulk loading processes just won’t cut it anymore. In contrast, this is where things like the HANA in-memory data platform, the HANA Cloud Platform, and SAP’s real-time streaming capabilities come in to address these issues and overcome the limitations of legacy data technologies and to help customers and partners take advantage of these new use cases.
SAP HANA Vora (SAP HANA Vora | Hadoop In-Memory Query | SAP)
Hadoop, the elephant in the room (so to speak). It’s big, it’s powerful, it’s here to stay. It’s also not entirely without it’s constraints. There’s lots of differing opinions on this, but personally I would say that HDFS and the MapReduce framework (upon which other modules such as Hive and Impala are based off of) are very good at highly iterative processing of unstructured data. That being said, may companies are trying to use this technology to analyze structured operational data. SAP HANA Vora extends the capabilities of the Hadoop and Apache Spark framework to add OLTP, hierarchical, and other operational analytical capabilities directly into the Spark layer. Keep in mind that this is flexible enough to operate both with SAP HANA (to get that 1+1=3 situation) and without SAP HANA as well to allow for flexibility to have the business use case dictate the technical solution, not the other way around. This is an incredibly exciting technical innovation in the big data world and bolsters Hadoop’s and Spark’s capabilities with structured operational analytics expertise from SAP.
SAP Cloud for Analytics (SAP Cloud for Analytics)
This is very important to the strategy of analytics as a whole. One thing to note off the bat is that on-premise solutions will continue to be invested in and maintained. What we are seeing across the industry is a move to cloud based services for many things across the enterprise, and analytics is a big one that’s adapting with that trend. Who better to dive into that segment than the market leader for traditional analytics solutions, the market leader for in-memory technologies, as well as the developer for the best cloud data platform? When we put those three together we end up with SAP Cloud for Analytics which will be revealed in roughly half an hour from now. It’s the only platform available that is a true cloud based business facing offering for dashboards, predictive analytics, and everything in between.
It’s clear that there’s a lot going on with significant investments being made in the platform and analytics space, and it’s exciting to be right in the middle of it as it’s all unfolding. The goal is to create partnerships in order to enable organizations, both small and large, to innovate, and SAP’s got the toolkit to allow our customers to be the disruptors in their space. It’ll be an exciting TechEd 2015, we’re all looking forward to talking with everyone who came out!