SAP and Intel collaborated to co-develop the BI accelerator, an innovative analytical engine within SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence that crunches through terabytes of data in seconds, without specialty hardware or the need for dedicated and costly system tuning. The announcement was made at SAPPHIRE ’06, SAP’s international customer conference, being held in Orlando, Florida, May 16-18. The BI accelerator effectively resolves the traditional tradeoff between speed and flexibility, enabling faster business insights and intelligent process innovation. Shipped as an appliance, pre-installed on 64-bit Intel Xeon processor-based blade servers from IBM and HP, the BI accelerator measurably simplifies an organization’s IT infrastructure with outstanding reliability and performance.
Early customers already are calculating dramatic enhancements in BI query response times, empowering information workers to become more effective and productive while freeing up IT departments from routine maintenance tasks – generating performance enhancements plus cost savings. Particularly for large organizations managing high volumes of data, the ability to extend and maximize existing IT investments can translate to millions of dollars in annual savings in hardware and other database-related costs while improved productivity and process agility can translate to millions of dollars in annual revenue growth.
Even as data volumes continue to grow dramatically, organizations are striving to deliver faster insights with analytics to every business user within the context of the business process. Until now however, managing large volumes of data often meant sacrificing performance or process agility, or both. With BI accelerator, SAP and Intel collaborated to deliver a new level of high-performance in an analytical engine, scanning billions of transaction records in seconds and enabling a new breed of highly flexible and process-embedded analytics applications – combining transactional and analytical capabilities into a single process.
Implementing SAP xApp composite applications for analytics, companies can take full advantage of the BI accelerator, merging insights with actions across organizational and functional boundaries. Information workers can now gain rapid answers to key business questions – such as sales performance, customer buying habits or channel profitability – where and when the information is needed, to immediately take the right action regardless of underlying data sources or data volumes. From a technical standpoint, SAP NetWeaver and the BI accelerator further demonstrate SAP’s focus on delivering business value to customers through innovative technology. In-memory processing, smart compression and search engine-based parallel processing are some of the key technical advancements behind BI accelerator that enable increased speed and flexibility.
Customers measuring success
In October 2005, SAP started shipping BI accelerator to 30 first customers, enabling them to deploy BI accelerator and measure the positive impact on their organizations. Across those 30 exclusive-access customers, query times were reported at 20 to 200 times faster than previously experienced. SAP is announcing general availability of BI accelerator to the broader market.
“BP constantly looks for innovative and progressive ways to enhance our business, and when we learned SAP and Intel were developing a new tool to analyze massive amounts of data that could provide near real-time management information on sales, pricing and financial data, we wanted to know more about it,” said Suzanne Dubois, information director for Financial Control and Accounting, BP. “We’re currently running a pilot of BI accelerator and are finding that it is able to dramatically speed up analysis and access to information. BP handles tens of millions of customer transactions a day across 100 countries and this tool has the potential for our business to take faster decisions that increase revenue opportunities and reduce costs.”
In April 2006, WinterCorp – a research and consulting firm focused on helping organizations successfully deploy large-scale enterprise information management solutions – actively participated in testing the BI accelerator under demanding lab conditions, and independently analyzed and validated performance results. Specifically, query performance, scalability and data load performance were tested. WinterCorp found the response times to be highly consistent and fast, even as query workloads increased. WinterCorp also noted that the appliance nature of BI accelerator promises to be a low cost, easily deployed approach to increasing performance without sacrificing flexibility.
“Possessing rapid and flexible control over the explosion of data they are facing, and turning that data into actionable information, is essential for enterprises to gain a competitive advantage,” said Renee James, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Software and Solutions Group. “Using advanced platform features and technology optimizations to maximize performance and scalability on the 64-bit Intel Xeon processor-based platform, Intel and SAP are enabling customers to save valuable time and resources through optimal data analysis.”
“Leveraging the BI accelerator functionality within SAP NetWeaver will enable organizations to gain maximum performance while driving down costs,” said Klaus Kreplin, executive vice president, SAP NetWeaver, Product and Technology Group, SAP. “Working closely with Intel’s technical software experts, SAP has delivered on its promise to supercharge business intelligence and enable an entirely new way of accessing and leveraging critical business information.”