If you throw away another piece of data, you’re fired.

No, the IT Director who uttered those words wasn’t imitating Donald Trump during his days on the Apprentice and we don’t think he was actually going to hand anyone a pink slip either.

But he did want to impart to his staff how valuable data is — it’s the new oil, the new gold, the scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream on a hot summer day.

Not everyone understands this because we’re still failing to leverage our data stores and data streams.

“Many end users aren’t reaping rewards from big data,” said Steve Lucas, President of SAP Platform Solutions. “They can’t do OLAP analytics on Hadoop. They can’t extract value from both Hadoop and business data. There’s no context.”

SAP's New Solution

This afternoon SAP will unveil a first-of-its kind technology that aims to change that.

It’s called SAP HANA Vora but you don’t necessarily need SAP HANA to leverage it.

Instead, Vora is a new in-memory query engine which plugs into the Apache Spark execution framework to provide enriched interactive analytics on Hadoop. In other words, it brings business process awareness across enterprise apps, analytics, big data and IoT sources.

“It dramatically changes what Spark can do,” said Lucas.

Vora’s experience is SAP HANA-like because it allows OLAP-like analytics and the business semantics of data to be brought in and around the Hadoop ecosystem.

“Vora is a standalone technology. It’s a major step-change in our strategy,” said Lucas.

You should be able to take Vora off of the shelf, embed it into Spark and connect to a visualization tool like Lumira, “and you’re off to the races. This isn’t just for advanced business users, but for everyone,” he added.

Changing Perspective

Aside from an interesting technology, Vora represents SAP's a new worldview.

“SAP wants to participate it the digital economy. We’re (no longer) saying it must be all SAP,” added Lucas.

This isn’t an admission of SAP and HANA not being enough, which Lucas clearly doesn’t believe that this is the case. Rather, it's an acknowledgement of a more heterogeneous world where playing nicely with others may win more marketshare than insisting on being all things to all enterprises.

That being said, Lucas isn’t shy about blowing SAP’s horn. “No one else has an in-memory engine (like Vora) that works with Spark. Not Oracle Not Microsoft.”

Learning Opportunities

A cloud trial of SAP HANA Vora with Hadoop will be available.

That Ain’t All She Wrote

The SAP team will also introduce an update to the SAP Hana Cloud Platform today. The Hana Cloud Platform (HCP), for anyone who isn’t familiar with it, is SAP’s Business Platform as a Service (BPaaS). It’s here that Enterprise developers can come to build Enterprise apps.

And you don’t have to be an SAP customer to use it.

“You don’t have to buy intergalactic HANA,” said Lucas.

Though Lucas didn’t specifically call out any other PaaS providers (like Amazon), he did say this: “We’re not trying to find the next game guy to build the next Flappy Bird on HCP.” HCP has Enterprise creds.

Lucas said there are more than 2,000 customers live on HCP. They are using it to do things like create mashups between Success Factors and LinkedIn data and to build things like Commerce as a Service, Product Content Management, Loyalty Management-as-a-Service and Tax-as-a-Service solutions.

It’s worth noting that this HCP update bodes especially well for developers who may want to do things like bridge the World of Things to the Enterprise.

All developers’ licenses on the service are free.

SAP, to its credit, is becoming more and more open. While it probably won’t turn its proprietary, market making business solutions into Apache projects, it’s already going big on Spark and Cloud Foundry.

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Title image by Blake Richard Verdoorn.