Infor's Big Data Cloud in the Sky

At the recently held Inforum 2013 conference, many ears pricked up at the announcement of Infor Sky Vault, a big data initiative that leverages Infor’s ION middleware, micro-vertical expertise, and visually appealing dashboards developed by Infor ION business intelligence (BI) experts and designed by Hook & Loop, Infor's recently incubated Manhattan-based in-house design agency. Infor Sky Vault is planned to launch in the second half of 2013 with predefined content for sales finance, and production. Additional functional areas and industries will be added in subsequent iterations.

As with many recent initiatives and releases at Infor, the workhorse will be the ION middleware framework and its components. Pre-built, domain-specific business analytics, reporting, and dashboards with the Infor ION workflow and integration platform will support application interoperability and data transition between on-premises and cloud solutions. In addition, it will be powered by the ION BI stack, incorporating industry and role best practices built on Infor ION Business Vault—a repository of standard business documents and transactional data that is exchanged between multiple enterprise systems.

Corporate data is all too often fragmented across diverse commercial, legacy, and custom applications. Using ION, customers can extract transactions formatted in XML documents and send that normalized data to the cloud repository for further analytics, helping them obtain meaningful insight. To this end, Infor will be using Amazon Web Services (AWS) to enable customers to accelerate time to insight from various transactional data streams. Cloud-optimized data repository will be powered by Amazon Redshift, a fast and economically priced petabyte-scale data warehouse service in the cloud, to scale as data volumes grow.

To help get customers started, Infor will offer assessment services in conjunction with Sky Vault to determine how fast customers can go from data to insights. Packaged services will also be available to integrate additional third-party and custom applications. Professional services from Infor Consulting Services will tackle XML-enablement of applications via the ION Factory.

Sky Vault seems to be a low-cost alternative compared with, say, SAP HANA, which demands special hardware expenditures (in addition to software licenses). On the other hand, HANA is of great strategic importance to SAP and can do much more than quickly produce big data insights.
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