Here is a brief interview with Alvaro Tejada Galindo aka Blag who is a developer working with SAP Hana and R at SAP Labs, Montreal. SAP Hana is SAP’s latest offering in BI , it’s also a database and a computing environment , and using R and HANA together on the cloud can give major productivity gains in terms of both speed and analytical ability, as per preliminary use cases.
Ajay- Describe how you got involved with databases and R language.
Blag- I used to work as an ABAP Consultant for 11 years, but also been involved with programming since the last 13 years, so I was in touch with SQLServer, Oracle, MySQL and SQLite. When I joined SAP, I heard that SAP HANA was going to use an statistical programming language called “R”. The next day I started my “R” learning.
Ajay- What made the R language a fit for SAP HANA. Did you consider other languages? What is your view on Julia/Python/SPSS/SAS/Matlab languages
Blag- I think “R” is a must for SAP HANA. As the fastest database in the market, we needed a language that could help us shape the data in the best possible way. “R” filled that purpose very well. Right now, “R” is not the only language as “L” can be used as well (http://wiki.tcl.tk/17068) …not forgetting “SQLScript” which is our own version of SQL (http://goo.gl/x3bwh) . I have to admit that I tried Julia, but couldn’t manage to make it work. Regarding Python, it’s an interesting question as I’m going to blog about Python and SAP HANA soon. About Matlab, SPSS and SAS I haven’t used them, so I got nothing to say there.
Ajay- What is your view on some of the limitations of R that can be overcome with using it with SAP HANA.
Blag- I think mostly the ability of SAP HANA to work with big data. Again, SAP HANA and “R” can work very nicely together and achieve things that weren’t possible before.
Ajay- Have you considered other vendors of R including working with RStudio, Revolution Analytics, and even Oracle R Enterprise.
Blag- I’m not really part of the SAP HANA or the R groups inside SAP, so I can’t really comment on that. I can only say that I use RStudio every time I need to do something with R. Regarding Oracle…I don’t think so…but they can use any of our products whenever they want.
Ajay- Do you have a case study on an actual usage of R with SAP HANA that led to great results.
Blag- Right now the use of “R” and SAP HANA is very preliminary, I don’t think many people has start working on it…but as an example that it works, you can check this awesome blog entry from my friend Jitender Aswani “Big Data, R and HANA: Analyze 200 Million Data Points and Later Visualize Using Google Maps “ (http://allthingsr.blogspot.com/#!/2012/04/big-data-r-and-hana-analyze-200-million.html)
Ajay- Does your group in SAP plan to give to the R ecosystem by attending conferences like UseR 2012, sponsoring meets, or package development etc
Blag- My group is in charge of everything developers, so sure, we’re planning to get more in touch with R developers and their ecosystem. Not sure how we’re going to deal with it, but at least I’m going to get myself involved in the Montreal R Group.
SAP HANA is SAP AG’s implementation of in-memory database technology. There are four components within the software group:
- SAP HANA DB (or HANA DB) refers to the database technology itself,
- SAP HANA Studio refers to the suite of tools provided by SAP for modeling,
- SAP HANA Appliance refers to HANA DB as delivered on partner certified hardware (see below) as anappliance. It also includes the modeling tools from HANA Studio as well replication and data transformation tools to move data into HANA DB,
- SAP HANA Application Cloud refers to the cloud based infrastructure for delivery of applications (typically existing SAP applications rewritten to run on HANA).
R is integrated in HANA DB via TCP/IP. HANA uses SQL-SHM, a shared memory-based data exchange to incorporate R’s vertical data structure. HANA also introduces R scripts equivalent to native database operations like join or aggregation. HANA developers can write R scripts in SQL and the types are automatically converted in HANA. R scripts can be invoked with HANA tables as both input and output in the SQLScript. R environments need to be deployed to use R within SQLScript
More blog posts on using SAP and R together
Dealing with R and HANA
R meets HANA
HANA meets R
When SAP HANA met R – First kiss
Using RODBC with SAP HANA DB-
SAP HANA: My experiences on using SAP HANA with R
and of course the blog that started it all-
Jitender Aswani’s http://allthingsr.blogspot.in/