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Mission Corner

Posted by SAP NS2 Editorial Team, September 17, 2014

Mission professionals can leverage in-memory computing to unlock insight from massive data sets

Binary

In today's increasingly interconnected world, challenges and threats are proliferating, along with the number of open source data sources and types of information available to analysts. Some of the most worrisome threats come from globally networked actors who aren't susceptible to traditional mission work. National security organizations are looking for ways to access information on open networks and understand so-called patterns of life and human geography.

Technology and solution providers such as SAP NS2 have responded to the challenge with cost-effective solutions that can reduce the time spent ingesting data and increase the time spent analyzing it.

SAP NS2's HANA in-memory Real Time Data Platform offers text analysis capabilities that use Natural Language Processing to analyze text in open sources of information to discover actionable insights in more than 30 languages.

These tools equip analysts to find patterns and insights from multiple data and information streams including open-data sources such as Twitter and other social media. The tremendous speed of in-memory processing in the HANA platform means that unprecedented amounts of open-source text information can be ingested in a very quick cycle, so that analysts can stay on top of events.

The SAP text-analytics engine can create an information architecture that incorporates raw data with other tools such as libraries to comb through the noise and flag potential problems before they happen. All of these capabilities are embedded in the SAP NS2 HANA Real Time Data Platform.

Bob Palmer

"This is the innovation story at SAP," said Bob Palmer, senior director of strategy and innovation at SAP NS2. "It's a simpler, more agile, high-performance computing platform for the national security mission."

At its core, SAP HANA is an in-memory database and an alternative to the practice of managing data in separate platforms, which can be costly and time-consuming for customers. It is also so much more. In addition to text analysis, HANA combines multiple types of analysis that can amplify the value of information by fusing multiple INT types for a new analytical perspective. It combines quantitative anticipatory analysis, geo-spatial analysis and graph-engine link analysis along with the Natural Language Processing text analysis, all in the same in-memory server.

"Using SAP HANA, mission professionals can produce high-level geo-spatial maps with granular details, render and store relationship graphs prior to analysis, perform clustering, regression and anomaly detection, manipulate data locally without disrupting baseline intelligence and support multiple front-end analysis capabilities in a single repository. Multi-INT data fusion capabilities are possible all with one unified in-memory platform, HANA," said Palmer.

Providing lighting-fast analytics is just one of the ways the SAP HANA in-memory platform, delivered by SAP NS2, helps national security organizations run better. HANA supports operational and analytical initiatives with a single, interoperable solution for data integration, data quality, and data profiling. HANA enables mission organizations to integrate, transform and improve data to support key mission processes.

HANA offers potential cost savings to mission organizations

SAP's HANA platform "eliminates the current need for our clients to transport data to several different processing environments, which introduces extract and load complexity, time delays and potential errors," said Palmer. "Not having to transport the data also eliminates a lot of operation and maintenance spend on multiple separate platforms."

SAP HANA

According to a study produced by Forrester Consulting, the SAP HANA platform provides significant cost savings through simplification. It can help save costs for hardware and software, as well as reduce labor required for administration and development needs. Drawing on the experiences of HANA customers, as well as Forrester's expertise, Forrester constructed a financial model to represent the potential savings associated with using the SAP HANA platform as a replacement for a traditional database platform in several different ways.

Forrester's model shows the HANA platform can save an organization approximately 37 percent across hardware, software, and labor costs, depending on various factors.

"The overhead is hugely reduced through automation, integrated appliance, and common data platform," one respondent in the report noted.

Here is a breakdown of the projected savings:

  • 70 percent or more on software
  • 15 percent or more on hardware
  • 20 percent or more on administration and development labor

The cost saving projection is based on actual customer interviews conducted independently by Forrester. For access to the full report, visit http://fm.sap.com/hana_cost_analysis

Real-world applications

The power of SAP HANA goes beyond its in-memory database, which itself is best in class. What sets this computing paradigm apart are the engines contained within that enable U.S. national security professionals to advance the mission.

Graph engine
Capabilities: Visualize relationships
Use case: Two non-state actors who are trafficking persons sharing information across social media would be shown as connected in a graph visualizing relationships within data

Text analysis
Capabilities: Analyze unstructured text
Use case: Absorb unstructured text from things such as emails, text messages and Twitter feeds to derive meaning and free up the analyst's time to understand the deep context of the data and information

Geospatial query
Capabilities: Visualize data in space and time
Use case: Represent data as it moves through geographic regions and cross reference it with human geography data and static data points, as an analyst might describe an approaching storm's relationship to local hospitals.

Anticipatory analysis
Capabilities: Analyze quantitative event information
Use case: Draw patterns and trends from machine-generated data and streaming data entering the environment in huge volumes, in order to discover root causes, predict trends, anticipate probabilities, and understand anomalous behavior in any environment, such as in network systems or in communities.

Read more about SAP HANA and its relevance to national security missions in our White Papers and Video section.