Article appears in SAP Startup Focus Newsletter – Issue 2
R is a free software environment for statistical analysis. R itself is distributed through a free GNU license and is completely separate from SAP HANA. HANA uses the external R environment to execute R code similar to native database operations like joins or aggregations. R and the R community have generated a massive library of statistical packages available to anyone.
The HANA platform leveraging R is very easy for developers and provides some interesting advantages.
HANA uses the external R environment to execute R code similar to native database operations like joins or aggregations. This allows the application developer to elegantly embed R function definitions and calls within SQLScript and submit the entire code as part of a query to the database An efficient data exchange mechanism supports the transfer of intermediate database tables directly into the vector oriented data structures of R. This offers a performance advantage compared to standard SQL interfaces, which are tuple-based and therefore require an additional data copy on the R side.
In working with startups we saw again and again that data scientists so critical to the success of Big Data startups were happy to be able to leverage R directly from SAP HANA.
If you would like to learn more about R, check out the HANA Guide for R. Also check out the SAP HANA Academy for general tutorials and tricks (http://www.saphana.com/community/resources/hana-academy).
David Sonnenschein is part of the SAP Startup Focus Program’s Development Accelerator, helping early stage companies adopt the SAP HANA Platform across a broad spectrum of domains.