BW4HANA- the step in the right direction

August 31, 2016

Today, SAP unveiled new BW4HANA, where SAP states that today BW offers 10 to 15 different object types; remember the DSOs, the Infocubes, and the Multiproviders for building the data warehouse. In the new BW/4HANA, there will be only 4 which right now are not clear on what specific functions they would be responsible for, aggregation or summation, data cleaning, physical or logical storage. SAP also states that EDW will be pushed to HANA, but there is little information on this yet.

So we know that an InfoCube is a set of relational tables arranged according to the star schema: A large fact table in the middle surrounded by several dimension tables. InfoCubes are filled with data from one or more InfoSources or other InfoProviders. They are available as InfoProviders for analysis and reporting purposes. The data is stored physically in an InfoCube. It consists of a number of InfoObjects that are filled with data from staging.

A DataStore object (DSO) serves as a storage location for consolidated and cleansed transaction data or master data on a document (atomic) level. A DataStore object contains key fields (such as document number, document item) and data fields that, in addition to key figures, can also contain character fields (such as order status, customer). The data from a DataStore object can be updated with a delta update into InfoCubes (standard) and/or other DataStore objects or master data tables (attributes or texts) in the same system or across different systems.
Unlike multidimensional data storage using InfoCubes, the data in DataStore objects is stored in transparent, flat database tables. The system does not create fact tables or dimension tables.

A MultiProvider can consist of different combinations of the following InfoProviders: InfoCube, DataStore object, InfoObject, InfoSet, VirtualProvider, and aggregation level. MultiProviders only exist as a logical definition. The data continues to be stored in the InfoProviders on which the MultiProvider is based.
A query based on a MultiProvider is divided internally into subqueries. There is a subquery for each InfoProvider included in the MultiProvider. These subqueries are usually processed in parallel.

This is what SAP is proposing to change from the modeling perspective. MultiProvider, InfoSet, VirtualProvider will be Composite Provider in BW/4HANA. Operational Providers will become Open ODS Views. InfoObject will still be the building block and InfoCube, DSO and PSA will become DataStore Object. This means that Persistent storage is gone and hopefully data activation of DSO could be either eliminated completely or streamlined. We would be interested to see what functionality will be enhanced by using Composite Provider and other new HANA objects in the BW4HANA. SAP HANA Studio will be used for data modelling, admin, monitoring and query design.

In Conclusion, Lazar will be working with few clients that this roadmap may interest as well as SAP to complete POCs to test the new modelling and EDW functions that are coming in the near future.