Agile Data Virtualization in SAP BW with Open Operational DataStore Views
- by Christian Savelli, Senior Manager, COMERIT
- October 17, 2016
Open Operational DataStore (Open ODS) views are a new type of SAP BW modeling object. Instead of SAP BW InfoObjects, Open ODS views are defined with fields that are aligned to the datatypes of the external relational source they represent. Learn about the rationale behind developing these new types of metadata objects and the modeling simplification achieved with them. Walk through a step-by-step guide for configuring an Open ODS view via SAP HANA studio.
By reading this article, you will learn:
- What field-based modeling means within an SAP BW on SAP HANA context
- How Open Operational DataStore (Open ODS) views can enable agile data virtualization
- The steps for setting up an Open ODS view in SAP BW on SAP HANA
- How to enrich virtualized data with SAP BW content for report consumption
SAP BW has always been centered around the concept of integration prior to functionality. This means that any data being brought to an SAP BW application must first be mapped to InfoObjects before any SAP BW reporting functionality can make use of it. By applying the concept of field-based modeling, available via Open Operational DataStore (Open ODS) views, it is now possible to offer functionality prior to integration. This makes agile data virtualization in SAP BW a reality and allows SAP BW queries to report on data even with no association to SAP BW InfoObjects.
Data virtualization is the process of retrieving data stored in remote sources for report consumption without the need of data persistency within the reporting application. The SAP BW application has offered different options for enabling data virtualization over the years, ranging from virtual providers that rely on direct access data sources, to the more recent hybrid providers that allow composite views of virtualized and persistent data within SAP BW.
Until now, however, all the data virtualization methods available in SAP BW have relied on the concept of integration prior to functionality. Integration in the context of SAP BW can be understood as having to map inbound data to SAP InfoObjects by means of transformation rules. Functionality, on the other hand, can refer to all reporting capabilities provided via SAP BW queries, which have always made use of SAP InfoObjects as their building blocks. This meant that in order to offer reporting functionality to virtualized data, SAP BW had to first integrate external data via mapping to InfoObjects. The implication here was that data-virtualization scenarios often required the development of dedicated SAP elements, such as SAP InfoObjects and transformations, simply to address the integration requirements.
This may not be seen as a major inconvenience, especially when addressing reporting scenarios based on established processes that require repetitive retrieval of a constant remote data structure. Scenarios such as retrieval of exchange rates and stock prices, among others, fall into this category. On the opposite side of the spectrum, however, are cases of ad-hoc retrieval requirements. One-time requests for pulling remote data to SAP BW have always been challenging when it comes to being agile. This is mainly due to the burden of having to create a whole set of dummy InfoObjects simply for the sake of enabling temporary queries to report on virtualized content.
With the introduction of Open Operational DataStore (Open ODS) views, integration prior to functionality is no longer a prerequisite. Open ODS views are queryable structures modelled using field definitions strictly aligned to the datatypes defined at remote data sources. This modeling approach (where no InfoObjects are required) is known as field-based modeling and is available on SAP BW applications running on SAP HANA database from version 7.4 Support Package 5 onwards.
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