SAP acquires big data startup Altiscale

Big Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS) solution provider Altiscale is the latest company to be acquired by SAP.

Named a leading provider of BDaaS by Forrester Research, Altiscale will “operate as a focused and integrated BDaaS offering from SAP to help accelerate operationalise big data deployment in the enterprise”.

According to a statement by Ken Tsai, vice president and head of cloud platform and data management, product marketing, SAP, the company’s decision to acquire Altiscale was driven by a number of factors, including that they have complementary approaches to implementing enterprise big data solutions, and share an overall focus on helping enterprises derive business value from data and successfully leverage big data.

“Since Altiscale is a leader in Big-Data-as-a-Service based on Hadoop and Spark, it enables SAP to drive end-to-end value in Big Data across the technology, data platform, PaaS, analytics, and application stack,” Tsai said.

According to Tsai,  through its initial foray into big data processing with SAP HANA Vora, SAP saw challenges faced by businesses in the provisioning, scaling and operation of Hadoop in a production environment.

“Altiscale directly addresses these challenges, providing the customer with full-service Hadoop and Spark in the cloud to boost performance, eliminate roadblocks, and accelerate customer go-live. The combination of Altiscale and SAP HANA Vora will enable SAP to provide a holistic and accelerated big data solution, allowing businesses to quickly achieve positive business impact from big data,” said Tsai.

Altiscale’s Hadoop-as-a-Service (HaaS) capabilities will also enable SAP to offer a more comprehensive and robust enterprise solution.

Altiscale’s use cases cover a range of industries, including financial services, media, ad tech and marketing analytics, pharmaceutical and telecommunications, for applications such as advertising optimisation, drug research, churn analysis, fraud detection, and supply chain optimisation.

SAP and Altiscale are now working together to synchronise both companies’ technology, products and market perspectives, and will work towards integrating the Altiscale Data Cloud into the SAP portfolio.

Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst, Constellation Research, has given his take on the announcement here, and says the acquisition is a good move by SAP, as it needed to have native Hadoop, HDD-based big data capabilities to operate use case where in-memory was either commercially or not even technically feasible.

“With Altiscale, SAP now only addresses this part – but also the know-how challenge that is surrounding big data. At Constellation, we see more than 66 per cent of big data projects that are live and delivering value seeing interruption because of know-how issues, vendor changes, new software, new consultants etc. So SAP gains both product capabilities and services capabilities; the combination is crucial,” said Mueller.

However, he said SAP has taken a long time to get to this place and now needs to move fast.

“Clarity on where data resides, which IaaS platforms will be supported, etc needs to come soon, as enterprises make decisions on the providers and platforms for their next generation applications. SAP is always in the picture for ERP content; how much SAP can be in the picture for more of the next generation applications business will be determined by speed and clarity on moving to full Hadoop support.”