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Information Design Tool in SAP Business Objects XI 4.0


SAP Business Objects Information Design Tool in XI 4.0


Business Objects XI 4.0 is a new offering from SAP. This is a new product with the new architecture and capabilities. This product consists of new tools and new functionality in the SAP Business Objects area. In This Blog will go you through to the new Universe Design Tool in SAP Business Objects XI 4.0.


Universe always works a backbone for SAP Business Objects and putting this consideration in mind the universe layer will remain there in SAP Business Objects XI 4.0 but with the new look and new architecture. Let’s go through the new architecture of Universe and its usefulness in Business.


SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool is a new name of Universe Designer in SAP Business Objects XI 4.0. It has new architecture and functionality as compare to previous Universe Designer.


As a Definition – The information design tool is a modeling design tool that enables to extract, define, and manipulate metadata from data source to create and deploy SAP BusinessObjects universes.


Architecture – The new Semantic layer or SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool has been broken down in different focus area as shown below in diagram.

 Information Design tool

The different components of SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool are

 – Query and Calculation Engine

– Business Layer

– Data Foundation

– Data Federation Engine



Query and Calculation Engine – Query and Calculation Engine works at the query Run time. A query is a set of objects that define a request to the database for data.This Engine will enhance the query reading performance and to also will do some calculation on dataset if defined by any business logic.



Business layer – Business layer is based on Data foundation, The Business layer is mapped to the tables and columns in data foundation and contains a collection of classes and objects that represent what end user needs.


For relational sources you can choose the objects in the business layer for all data in foundation structures or selected columns which need to be mapped as objects.


If relational business layer has multiple data sources then the business layer must be based on a multi-source-enabled data foundation. There is more information on multi-source enabled data foundation below.




Data Foundation – Data Foundation contains the universe structure of tables and joins, once you connected to any data source you can extract the relevant tables from the data source and insert the appropriate join. Data foundation can be based on one or more relational connections.


For a single-source universe, you start with a one connection identifying the database source and can extract the relevant tables and apply the joins as per logic.


You can also build a data foundation on multiple connections, so the universe can access multiple data sources. In this case we need to create a multisource-enabled data foundation.


There is no need to create a data foundation for a universe based on an OLAP connection.

For OLAP sources the connection is directly referenced by business layer and no data foundation is required for this. The metadata objects are available directly from the cube/Bex Query and no mapping layer is required to build the business layer




 Data Federation Engine – Data Federation Engine allow data access from multiple data sources at the same time. Data federation Engine provides the virtual data access from these sources.


What does mean by Virtual data access – you can point out the data source at the design time and the actual integration of data will happen at the on real time when the job will get executed. So if you have more then one data source then Data federation engine point the data source and data integration will happen at the query run time. So data physically will remain store in their data sources and there are no changes or ETL or business logic applied to that data at their source.

Tables from Diffrent Data Sources


The tables from the different data sources have different colorings scheme by this you can differentiate the table from different sources to built the data federation multi source universe data access. There will be a heterogeneous joins between the tables coming from different sources.


Advantages of having new Integrated structure of SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool –


–         It provides the single development environment for BI Solutions and Data Federation jobs for multi source universe data access.

–         As data federator is a kind of an entry point for all the data sources hence it can be used to leverage common security and Administration.

–         Performance for query reading has been enhanced.

–         Provides the consistency in the universe designer as because of data federator.

–         It provides the Heterogeneous access over all sources.

–         It provides the multiple source access.


Limitation in previous Version – In the previous versions of Business Objects (Before SAP Business Objects XI 4.0), one connection can be associated only with one universe.

Let’s realize a Business Problem because of  this limitation.


Solution for a Business Situation – Lets take an example that Business needs a report where they need a data from two data sources, For Example Oracle and My SQL. In this situation what will be the proposed solution by the solution designer.

There will be two solutions for this requirement Lets consider both the solutions one by one.


1st Solution – With SAP Business Objects previous versions – If we consider the solution with the previous versions of Business Objects then You need to create  two separate connections one with Oracle and one with My SQL and then will create two  different universes based on these connections, Then to suffice the reporting requirement need to create two separate queries based on each universe and then get the data in one Web Intelligence document by executing both the queries and then will merge in data in one report based on business logic.


2nd – Better Solution with SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool – As shown in diagram above SAP Business Objects Information designer has a capabilities to create a once universe on multiple data sources, Hence in this business case we will create two connection , One for Oracle and one for MySQL database. Then we will create a data foundation based on multiple data sources and then will create a business layer.

Now this business layer will have theobjects from both the data sources in one universe and we could create a Webi report based on this multi-source Universe. In this way only one universe will suffice this requirement.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hey Ashwani,
      We can also leverage the concept of linked universe right ?
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Here we are talking about to make one universe from mulitiple sources.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Suppose I have a universe with more than 1 connection. Suppose I have a query with webi richt client have a million records in 1 query.
      How does that perform using this Federation option?
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Ton - Federation will work while making your data foundation layer. You will need to design the schema accordingly.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Does the new tool support connecting to multiple SAP BW Queries/Cubes in a single universe?
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      pawan - Bex Query is still the best method to create a universe. I didn't understand the logic to conenct the multiple bex queries in one universe.