What is SAP HANA Vora and what can it do for your business?

1 September 2015

Brenton O'Callaghan

Brenton O'Callaghan

Global Head of SAP Leonardo

SAP has just announced SAP HANA Vora. I’m sure you’re wondering what it is and what it can do for your business. So let me tell you.

But before I get into SAP Vora, I’ll give you a bit of context. So let me take a take a step back and mention the different types of data and data temperatures. For the purposes of this post I’ll cover hot and cold data. At a high level, hot data is data which is accessed frequently within the business such as recent transactional data, perhaps coming from an ERP system. Cold data is data which is accessed much less frequently and mostly used to provide context when doing an in-depth analysis such as historical sales data for the last X years.

One of the challenges we all face is combining these two types of data in a meaningful and coherent way without a huge amount of investment from a monetary and time and infrastructure perspective. This is the issue that SAP HANA Vora addresses.

So what is SAP HANA Vora?

SAP HANA Vora is an In-Memory, massively distributed data processing engine for Hadoop. It facilitates the integration of SAP data with distributed data lakes and brings together all types of data (hot, cold, warm, etc.) through one access point.

How is it achieved?

It is achieved through a performance booster add-on for Apache Spark which facilitates HANA connectivity to Hadoop clusters without any data replication. It also supports interactive SQL on Hadoop data and Enterprise Analytics including:

  • Hierarchy support
  • Units of Measurement (UOM) support
  • On the fly currency conversion support

SAP HANA Vora allows us to take real-time hot data from something like SAP HANA and combine it with not-so-hot data in Hadoop clusters through a single entry point.

Crucially this allows data scientists to gain amazing insight through the combining of all these types of data. Imagine being able to query your real-time data and complete complex analytics influenced by massive amounts of historical cold data all through one single entry point.

And technically…

SAP HANA Vora is a plugin for Apache Spark. It sits on top of Hadoop clusters facilitating a wide range of new features:

  • OLAP on Hadoop, providing the ability to do hierarchies, drilldowns and conversions
  • Compiled Queries improving the performance of queries in Apache Spark/Hadoop
  • Parallel Access giving increased performance between SAP HANA and Apache Spark
  • Rule-based DLM allowing Apache Spark/Hadoop systems to participate in dynamic data tiering
  • Unified Admin via the SAP HANA Cockpit
  • Open Programming language support such as Scala, Java, Python or R.

So there you have it. With SAP HANA Vora you can combine hot and cold data stores together to achieve a new level of insight without a massive investment from the business.

View comments


  • mustafa - 18 Jul 2017, 13:43:27
    Great article.
    I am looking for any scientific papers on SAP HANA Vora because I am doing master in this topic and I want to understand more about it. Kindly assist

About the author

Brenton O'Callaghan

Global Head of SAP Leonardo

Enterprise technology consultant & emerging technology evangelist

To date I've focussed on emerging technologies in the SAP space from in-memory with SAP HANA since 2011 to SAP Leonardo released in 2017.  I've led award winning projects using these technologies including one of the first SAP Fiori implementations globally for Bluefin.

All of my focus currently is on introducing my Fortune 250 clients to the SAP Leonardo Innovation process, helping them kick-start a program of digital innovation using the SAP Cloud Platform.  I also work closely with SAP's Leonardo and HANA product teams to help them develop roadmaps and bring customer feedback closer to these products.

Outside of work you'll likely find me kicking back with a Guinness or watching some sort of sport (either Munster Rugby or the Red Sox).


Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race