A Guide for Using Embedded BW on SAP HANA If You Get Most of Your Data from ECC

  • by Ned Falk, Senior Education Consultant, SAP
  • January 13, 2016
Gain an overview and a use case for embedded BW, a little-known deployment option for SAP BW with an SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) implementation running on SAP HANA. Learn how SAP BW’s features can be deployed for a low cost and how these features help your SAP HANA implementation reach its full potential.
Learning Objectives

By reading this article, you will learn:

  • How to describe the features SAP BW brings to a company implementing SAP HANA with the SAP suite applications
  • The benefits of an embedded SAP BW implementation
  • The limitations of embedded SAP BW
Key Concept
Embedded BW is a full-blown SAP BW system, yet unlike the traditional SAP BW system, it is installed as a component on the same application servers as SAP ERP Central Component (ECC). For small-to-mid-sized companies running ECC on SAP HANA, this is a cost-effective solution for gaining the advantages of SAP BW on SAP HANA with very little effort. It is also appropriate for larger companies that get almost all their data from SAP ECC.

SAP BW is a three-tiered, state-of-the-art data warehousing toolset that brings added value over other analytical options such as traditional SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) ABAP-based  reporting, classic InfoSets, or even over native SAP HANA views. Traditionally, SAP BW is installed with its own application servers that can be run on a variety of databases, including SAP HANA. With SAP ECC running on SAP HANA and with SAP BW sharing the same application servers as ECC (embedded SAP BW), companies get 90 percent of the value of SAP BW with little or no additional cost. This is especially true when very little data that is supporting your analytic needs is residing outside of the SAP HANA database on which ECC is running.

SAP HANA is much more than a very fast in-memory database. It includes many features that extend its value more than a traditional database, such as a text search engine, a web server, and predictive and geospatial calculation tools that were previously deployed in an application server model running on some databases.

As a data warehouse, SAP BW has three main strengths:

  1. It homogenizes disparate data from various source systems into valid global data, thus making it meaningful company-wide.
  2. It restructures and summarizes data (e.g., aggregating data so that performance across large volumes of data can be acceptable)
  3. It provides data analysis tools

When an SAP ECC system runs on SAP HANA, there is no need to materialize aggregates. In addition, SAP HANA provides adequate analytical tools. This means that SAP BW’s role needs to be justified for two reasons—first, as a place to store globally homogenized data and, second, because the analytical tools available with SAP BW are better than SAP HANA’s without SAP BW on top (discussed below). When a company has most of its data just in SAP ECC running on SAP HANA (as many companies commonly do), the homogenizer role for SAP BW is also greatly reduced. So, for these companies, SAP BW is deployed primarily for its analytic tools. As a result, these companies often have to justify having SAP BW, because deploying SAP BW involves additional expense and complications. Therefore, the added benefits of SAP BW over those in native SAP HANA have to be evaluated carefully in light of these perceived drawbacks.

However, what if this cost were near zero—at least hardware-wise? In that case, then the benefits offered by SAP BW are more easily justified. Well, this near-zero added cost for having SAP BW is possible, and it’s called embedded BW.

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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