Data lakes are considered to be a one-stop solution to any issues faced by an organization related to computing power and data storage capabilities. Before going into the intricacies of SAP data lake, an understanding of the concept of data lake per se is required to know the many benefits it brings to the table.
A data lake is a repository of all types of data regardless of whether it is unstructured, semi-structured, or structured. Data in any form can be easily accessed for analytics and processing and for taking critical business decisions. However, this is just the basics, and a highly optimized modern data lake like the SAP data lake is capable of much more. If you deploy a modern data lake into your IT infrastructure there are multiple rewards to be had like improved performance, lower costs, and seamless access to data.
Generally, people tend to talk about a data lake and a data warehouse in the same breath but there is a subtle difference between the two, and one is not a substitute for the other. While a data lake permits you to store data in a raw form, only data that has been cleaned, structured, and processed can be stored in a data warehouse.
Also, data lakes are not standardized and the generic architecture and designs vary depending on the type of your business and how you use it. For example, even though both can be classified as data lakes, the setup and architecture of Snowflake data lake are quite different from that of the SAP data lake.
The Function of the Cloud-based SAP HANA Data Lake
April 2020 saw the launch of HDL (HANA Data Lake) by SAP as a part of its affordable cloud-based services. It has cost-effective storage systems including the native extension of SAP HANA along with an in-built SAP data lake.The critical advantage here is that you can storevital data that is used daily (hot data) in high-priced memory slots that allow real-time processing while shifting data not used daily (warm data) to the lesser-priced SAP HANA Native Storage Extension (NSE). Again, data that is rarely used but important to the business may be shifted to the HANA Data Lake (IQ) to be used whenever required.
The SAP IQ database is based in the cloud and offers users all the cutting-edge features common to cloud providers like Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Service. The excellent data compression facility of SAP data lake, almost 10x, ensures that you get substantial savings in storage costs.
As in most data lakes, the SAP data lake can store both unstructured and structured data and it can be enabled in a new HANA Cloud instance or the existing one. In both cases, storage resources are flexible and can be added at any time. Other advanced capabilities of the SAP data lake are high security and safety through data encryption, audit logging, and monitoring data access.
As seen in a nutshell before, the architecture of the SAP data lake can be visualized as a data silo in the form of a pyramid.
At the peak is the storage space where data that is most critical to the business and which is accessed all the timeis stored. This data is most valuable operationally and hence, the cost of storage is the highest.
The middle of this pyramid houses the data that in the past would be typically treated as cold storage. But the perception has changed with the SAP data lake as this relational database structure maximizes the speed and simplification of data analysis, allowing you to quickly access massive volumes of data. Storage costs are lower than those in the top portion.
Finally, at the bottom of the pyramid is the raw data that is not used much and which in the olden days would have been deleted to free up storage space. Even though this data cannot be as easily and quickly accessed as the other two, the trade-off is that large volumes of data can be stored at very affordable rates without being deleted.
The advantage here is that in this tiered pyramid structure, costs can be kept under control as you can choose which spaces to store your data based on the frequency of needing it.
Features of SAP Data Lake
Several high-performing features of SAP Data Lake have given a huge boost to the organizations that are largely data-driven.
- SAP Data Lake is based on SAP IQ technology and works independently of HANA DB. It is highly flexible and versatile and can scale storage capabilities quickly to petabytes of data whenever required. Hence, you do not have to invest in additional hardware and software whenever faced with a spike in demand for data storage.
- Being based in the cloud, SAP Data Lake offers seamless access to other cloud storage providers like Amazon Web Service S3 and Google Cloud Platform Cloud Storage.
- TheSAP data lakehas all the features associated with the cloudsuch as high-performing data analysis, automatic provisioning to be complemented and administered with the HANA Cloud along with optimized speed ingestion.
If you are using SAP HANA on-premises you can still choose to be on this platform by selecting HANA Cloud as a hybrid option since SAP data lake provides affordable data lake solutions.