The Future of SAP BW: SAP BW 7.5, Edition for SAP HANA

  • by Ned Falk, Senior Education Consultant, SAP
  • March 15, 2016
Learn about the newest SAP Business Warehouse (BW), SAP BW 7.5, edition for SAP HANA, and the differences between it and a normal SAP BW-powered by SAP HANA system or SAP BW running on any other database.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article, you will learn how to:

  • Describe the changing environment for SAP data warehousing in general, and  SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) specifically
  • Quickly describe the advantages for SAP BW powered by SAP HANA and SAP BW running in the same database as your operational SAP ERP suite versus SAP BW on another database
  • Understand the motivation for and overview the benefits of deploying SAP BW 7.5, edition for SAP HANA, versus the previous version, SAP BW powered by SAP HANA
Key Concept

The newest version of SAP BW, BW 7.5, edition for SAP HANA, is slightly different than the older SAP BW powered by SAP HANA version. One improvement is that it limits your choices for creating new InfoProviders to just the newest ones and not the older ones that are relatively inefficient as compared to the new ones.

Business Warehouse (BW) is SAP’s data warehousing application; it uses an SAP NetWeaver application server, but can run on many different databases. Improvements come with each version of SAP BW, but a really big jump in functionality comes when SAP BW is installed on the SAP HANA database. Now, there are two flavors of SAP BW powered by SAP HANA: SAP BW powered by SAP HANA and SAP BW 7.5, edition for SAP HANA.

Regardless of the brand, data warehouses traditionally have had three purposes:

  1. Consolidating data from disparate systems into homogeneous objects designed with online analytical processing (OLAP) in mind.
  2. Ensuring that the OLAP workload would not interfere with SAP ERP’s job of executing business transactions (to do this, BW and ERP typically ran on separated databases with their own application servers).
  3. Ensuring that response times would be reasonable (to achieve this, traditional data warehouses store data in aggregated forms).

With the advent of SAP HANA as the underlying database, two of these three purposes became obsolete. This is because the in-memory, columnar-stored, and highly partitioned data in SAP HANA allows for super-fast processing. As a result, the need to put OLAP (data-warehouse type) processing on a different database than online transaction-based processing (OLTP) is null and void (number two, above). This is possible because SAP HANA allows both to happen with power leftover for even legacy applications or web sites. In addition, if properly sized, purpose number three (above)—physically aggregating data—is no longer needed as billons of detailed transaction-level records can be processed in seconds.

So, with two out of these three attributes out the window when SAP HANA is the database, you are left with an SAP BW system whose main duty is to consolidate disparate data running from your company’s applications and make it available for analysis and planning.

If your company is considering getting rid of SAP BW, I have written a few articles on why that may not, in most cases, be a good idea. SAP BW has features that are required if your company needs to homogenize data from non-SAP systems, and it is needed even when the SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) system is running directly on SAP HANA alongside SAP BW (the preferred option). For more details about this subject, read my two BI Expert articles, “Do You Still Need SAP BW If You Have SAP HANA?” and “A Guide for Using Embedded SAP BW on SAP HANA If You Get Most of Your Data from ECC.”

Ned Falk

Ned Falk is a senior education consultant at SAP. In prior positions, he implemented many ERP solutions, including SAP R/3. While at SAP, he initially focused on logistics. Now he focuses on SAP HANA, SAP BW (formerly SAP NetWeaver BW), SAP CRM, and the integration of SAP BW and SAP BusinessObjects tools. You can meet him in person when he teaches SAP HANA, SAP BW, or SAP CRM classes from the Atlanta SAP office, or in a virtual training class over the web. If you need an SAP education plan for SAP HANA, SAP BW, BusinessObjects, or SAP CRM, you may contact Ned via email.

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