BW path to the Data Warehouse plus the role of New Technologies
There are many threads in the latest blog “Business Warehouse” by our SDN fellow Bala Prabahar. It might not be possible to touch all of the threads, so let me try to elaborate at least on some, especially those related to my previous posts.
1/ DW REALITY
Definition of the Data Warehouse from 90th – “Data warehouse is a subject-oriented, integrated, time-variant and non-volatile collection of data in support of management’s decision making process” is good enough, but cannot be used as an axiom today.
a) Subject Oriented – with the introduction of Enterprise Data Warehousing there is an expectation that we have multiple subjects blended together, that would allow “single version of the truth” no matter if you are getting let’s say financial numbers from finance, HR or Supply Chain report. Unfortunately I see exaggeration into the other side: putting everything into a single “EDW” making it not a data warehouse, but data waste container.
b) Integrated – one of the key words missing in many BW implementations resulting in blaming Is your BW the Data Warehouse, anyway?. What I mean is that there are lots of installations where BW has one single source system, most often SAP ERP and most often just few modules of ERP. Then someone looks at the implementation, and asks “Why did we need BW? What is its value?” Well, if they have one source system, if they are not running complex time-to-time comparisons, and if the load generated by reporting would not have sufficient impact at ERP, then the answer might be “Right, you did not need BW at all, and BW does not deliver you a value”.
c) Non-volatile – from today’s perspective even with Petabyte sized systems it does not make sense to store all the history with all details. Therefore it is acceptable to have volatile collection of data in the DW, where data older then age threshold is aggregated, archived or simply deleted.
2/ NEW TECHNOLOGIES
I completely agree with Bala that current “innovation buzz” is a smoke and mirror, behind which we often do not see the real matter. I am very glad that BO+BW integration is getting real shape with coming releases of BO Enterprise BI 4.0 and BW 7.3 and that after 2 years of marketing pitch it is moving from the area of “new technologies” into “daily reality”. But now we got new subjects in the form of inMemory and Sybase.
a) It just happens that “new technologies” are more appealing than “daily reality”. In 2008 at NetWeaver BW/Portal conference I presented the session on performance of BW reporting. The section of my presentation discussed the impact of infrastructure on BW reporting, what Bala brings in his post. The feedback I got after my sessions is that it was “too technical”. It was just boring to most of the participants.
b1) It does not change the fact that some of the innovations are delivering breakthrough change. One example – memristor – is blowing my mind. Another example – BW Accelerator. I do not know who first looked at TREX (indexing of unstructured data) and saw how this can be applied to indexing of structured BW data, by calling table records “documents”, and table columns “document attributes”. But this person deserves a true innovation and out-of-the-box thinking award!
b2) The result of the aforementioned innovation is what was called HPA, then BIA, is now called BWA, and will be called HANA soon. The fact is it does deliver 10-200 faster navigation steps in BEx queries, and if someone is telling me that he can get the same improvement just by using conventional methods – I doubt.
c) Chasing innovation is becoming everything, and is becoming … annoying (please have a look as well at #2 in my Outlook of 2010: Speculations for SAP BI Professionals). With all due huge respect for SAP CTO Vishal Sikka calling every single thing developed or to be developed “an innovation” does not change my perception of SAP being more innovative, but changing my perception of the word “innovation” like not bringing something breakthrough, but as like something just being new. It is like every day of my life is innovative now, because it is a new day when I wake up, if you understand what I mean.
d) “Everything New Is Actually Well-Forgotten Old” is very often in my mind when I listen to Vital View: SAP Announcement of Analytics Solutions.
PS. Let’s discuss this during TechEd
I welcome those of you attending TechEd USA this year to join me during discussions on the topics presented above. In my role of the speaker I am very much committed to listening as well!
ASUG Educational Sessions: “Look at new EDW features of BW” http://www.sapteched.com/usa/edu_sessions/session.htm?id=864
- “Building BW for future expansion” http://www.sapteched.com/usa/activities/session.htm?id=396
- “HP BW Assessments Top 10 tips for high performing environments” http://www.sapteched.com/usa/activities/session.htm?id=433
- “Keys to successful BWA 7.0 implementation” http://www.sapteched.com/usa/activities/session.htm?id=395