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SAP HANA and Hadoop – complementary or competitive?

In my last blog post, we learned about SAP HANA… or as I called it, “a database on steroids”. Here is what SAP former CTO and Executive Board Member, Vishal Sikka, told InformationWeek:

SAP HANA and Hadoop – complementary or competitive?“Hana is a full, ACID-compliant database, and not just a cache or accelerator. All the operations happen in memory, but every transaction is committed, stored, and persisted.”

In the same InformationWeek article you can read of how SAP is committed to become the #2 database vendor by 2015.

So, even if HANA is a new technology, it looks like SAP has pretty much bet its future on it. Soon, SAP customers may have SAP ERP, SAP NetWeaver BW, and their entire SAP system landscape sitting on a HANA database.

But if HANA is such a great database, you may wonder, why would SAP HANA need a partnership with Hadoop, or be integrated with Hadoop at all? Can HANA really integrate with Hadoop seamlessly? And, most importantly, are HANA and Hadoop complementary or competitive?

Well, in October 2012, SAP announced the integration of Hadoop into its data warehousing family – why?

The composite answer, in brief, is:

  1. tighter integration – SAP, Hadoop, Cloudera, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, and IBM are all brought together in order to address the ever-growing demands in the Big Data space
  2. analytics scenarios – in order to build more complex and mature analytics scenarios, HANA can be integrated with Hadoop via SAP Sybase IQ, SAP Data Services, or R queries, and include structured AND unstructured Big Data with prior integration and consolidation by Hadoop
  3. in-memory capabilities – some organizations already have existing Hadoop strategies or solutions but cannot do in-memory Big Data without HANA
  4. tailored solutions – by bringing together speed, scale and flexibility, SAP enables customers to integrate Hadoop into their existing BI and Data Warehousing environments in multiple ways, so as to tailor the integration to their very specific needs
  5. transparency for end-users – SAP BusinessObjects Data Integrator allows organizations to read data from Hadoop Distributed File Systems (HDFS) or Hive, and load the desired data very rapidly into SAP HANA or SAP Sybase IQ, helping ensure that SAP BusinessObjects BI users can continue to use their existing reporting and analytics tools
  6. queries federation – customers can federate queries across an SAP Sybase IQ MPP environment using built-in functionality
  7. direct exploration – SAP BusinessObjects BI users can query Hive environments giving business analysts the ability to directly explore Hadoop environments

In short, SAP is looking at a co-exist strategy with Hadoop… NOT a competitive one.

In the next blog post, we’ll look at Hadoop and its position in the Big Data landscape… stay tuned.

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