(BIG) Data Warehousing

SAP BW “classic” (on xDB)

SAP BW is the most suitable toolkit to build an EDW if you are an SAP-centric customer and have the majority of your data coming from SAP source systems. Most crucial and re-usable component in SAP BW are the extractors that SAP delivers out of the box in the various application areas in the SAP source systems. This is a huge accelerator in extracting SAP source data instead of going to the (on average) 10.000 base tables that an average SAP system has.

What Just-BI offers in this area is expertise in the following areas which are crucial in a successful SAP BW implementation:

  • Functional knowledge of the various SAP Modules e.g. FInance, Controlling, Plant Maintenance etc.
  • Extensive knowledge of SAP extractors and underlying data model of the various Modules
  • Best practice BW modeling approach according to SAP’s LSA but in a pragmatic and less bloated form
  • Expert knowledge in ABAP for BW programming, which is still the language in SAP BW where you resort to when complex transformations need to be executed
  • Also in the twilight zone of BW Query design which sits between back-end and front-end, we have extensive knowledge. Although you might argue if Query Design is a back-end task, it certainly helps in effective BW back-end design if you are aware which reporting requirements are best handled persistently in the back-end model and which are best to resolve in Query designer
  • BW Performance tuning in all aspects

HANA

Since HANA has hit the market, Just-BI has been on top of it assessing its impact to doing data warehousing in an SAP context. What “vanilla BW-folks” do not always grasp is that when you decide to do native DWH with HANA as the underlying database, is that you’re going “back” to the classic methods and approaches when you custom build your data warehouse albeit on a superfast, in-memory columnar database with additional capabilities that go beyond your standard relational database management system.

This does however impact what kinds of skills you require in a native HANA environment. The complete set of skills and competencies to build a DWH in native HANA is what Just-BI has to offer:

  • Business Analysts to gather requirements as input for technical and logical DWH design
  • Data architects to create a sound logical and physical data model of the EDW
  • ETL Experts to design and create Transformation logic in the various ETL tools that can serve HANA:
    • Business Objects Data Services – most comprehensive ETL toolkit from SAP to extract data from a plethora of source systems, which fits the HANA DB as a target DB best
    • SLT – SAP’s replication technolgy that enables near-realtime scenario’s
    • SDI – HANA’s built-in data transformation capabilities introduced in SPS9 and matured in SPS10
  • Extensive knowledge of HANA View modeling capabilities and performance optimizations
  • In-depth SQL and SQL Script knowledge which is essential in data warehousing

BW on HANA  / BW/4HANA

With the latest announcement of the BW/4HANA product, SAP’s intentions are clearly to position BW/4HANA as THE EDW-toolkit enabling combination “best of both worlds”-functionalities, the “managed BW artefacts” and more flexible HANA Native modeling capabilities. BW/4HANA will form the core of the logical data warehouse enabling integration of persistent, streaming and big data sources.

This drastically changes the way modeling approaches in BW, infamously dubbed as LSA++ which actually should be LSA–: less persistent layers and enabling of much more Virtual Data models instead of physically persistent layers.