As big data continues to flood into the enterprise, companies need to determine how to best control and use it. SAP has invested significantly in extending HANA's capabilities as the underlying database for processing big data, but actually using HANA as a big data platform is no simple project. You need to plan a big data strategy around HANA and tools, such as SAP HANA Vora, which the company believes can form the foundation of an enterprise big data platform.
To formulate a big data strategy around HANA, it's important to understand the tools you have at your disposal. First and foremost is SAP HANA Vora, an in-memory query engine that extends Apache Spark to integrate with data stored in Hadoop. CenterPoint Energy Inc., a Houston-based electric and natural gas utility is one of the first enterprises to use HANA as a big data platform. Data stored in Hadoop and SAP HANA Vora is the engine that analyzes and makes business sense of the data. Because CenterPoint Energy delivers power to more than 2.3 million consumers in six states, collecting electronic meter data every 15 minutes for energy use reporting, its data-storage costs are very high. To help address this, SAP and CenterPoint Energy built a testing environment that processed over 5 billion data records with Hadoop, HANA and SAP HANA Vora. This gives anyone planning a HANA-based big data strategy a good sense of the business value they can derive from SAP HANA Vora.
However, deploying and running HANA or HANA Vora is challenging, and it's good to understand some best practices for using them in big data projects. The first decision, for example, may be whether to deploy HANA on premises or in the cloud, and this usually depends on how companies treat their data. If security and data governance are serious concerns, it might be better to deploy HANA on premises. If a company is moving data from an older SAP system onto HANA, it makes sense to determine what data to move because HANA is a costly platform for data storage and not all data may be needed.