In-memory technology is a success story within SAP NetWeaver BW for many years. The introduction of SAP NetWeaver BW accelerator provided a new level of reporting performance and became role model for others. Since then there was a strong desire to significantly accelerate planning use-cases with this technology, too. The value proposition can be summarized to:

  • Improved plan quality (allow more simulations cycles)
  • Improved user experience (provide better response time)
  • Improved plan accuracy (process higher data volume) 

In general it is the mass data operations that benefit the most from in-memory technology: in reporting it naturally is the aggregation, in planning the disaggregation. But within planning there are much more mass data operations and every planning function is a candidate.

However for a significant performance benefit, mass data operations need to stay within the data layer completely, including data read, calculations and write-back.  BWA did not provide the durability of an acid-compliant database and as such was a secondary store which could not manage written-back data. With SAP HANA the same technology becomes available now with full acid-compliance.

To understand what it means to have the complete operations in HANA, let us look at the processing on a classical database (the width of the arrows describe the volume of data transferred):

First the data is read into a local cache in the application tier. There it is exposed into the plan session which is used to feed both, the BEx query for the end-user and the calculations in planning functions or disaggregation in the query. The calculations are tightly bound to different other components: the metadata of the plan application, constraints like characteristic combinations that the calculations must not violate and the delta buffer that contains the pending changes. These buffered deltas together with the locally cached data feed again the plan session. Finally the deltas in the buffer are written back to the database upon a save-command. All this is handled in the application tier for classical databases.

With HANA optimized planning all steps, data read, calculations and write-back, are done in HANA completely. The components remain the same: 

The plan session orchestrates the data flow between the physical data indexes and the consuming BEX query, the calculations in planning functions or disaggregation in the query. The data is read via projections into the level of aggregation demanded. The calculations are applied and the result written back into a delta buffer within HANA which is subject of further data requests. With this all mass data operations remain within HANA and only query relevant data and meta-data is exchanged between the application tier and HANA leading to significant reduction of IO-costs. In addition the columnar storage and parallel processing provide superior performance.

As a great benefit of this design the complete user experience remains untouched. This is true for the end-user clients (e.g. BEx suite, Advanced analysis for office) as well as for the modeling UI (ABAP planning modeler) and all existing BW-IP models. I.e. there is no need to migrate BW-IP scenarios to run on HANA. Adjustments might be considered though to optimize the HANA usage since not the complete BW-IP feature set can be executed in HANA today (see note 1637199). The other way around, all capabilities offered in HANA are available in the ABAP runtime as well. This allows to toggle between two operation modes of BW integrated planning on HANA:

 Coming from an existing BW 7.x installation (A), the upgrade comprises a simple upgrade to BW 7.30 SP5 on the existing database and a subsequent database migration to HANA. Here BW-IP leverages the SQL-interface of HANA leading to superior read performance. Plan calculations are executed in ABAP (B), still. Their execution in HANA can be enabled by activation of the planning applications kit, activated by flipping a switch (see note 1637199) (C). The planning applications kit leverages the calculation and planning engines build into HANA to process the plan calculations in the best possible performance.  This way the planning applications kit combines the feature-rich capabilities of BW-IP with the superior performance of SAP HANA.

Finally let me summarize the relation between BW-IP and the planning applications kit (PAK).

 

BW-IP

Planning applications kit (PAK)

End user UI

identical

Modeling tools

identical

Feature set

identical

Full HANA optimized

no

partially 1)

Further investment

no

Yes

License

no

yes 2)

 

1) SAP Netweaver BW 7.30 SP5
2) License required for SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation, Version for SAP NetWeaver’

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17 Comments

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  1. Ethan Jewett
    This blog was really clear and helpful, but it ends with a bombshell. Am I reading this right? If you want to use the “in-memory” planning engine for BW IP you need to purchase a license for BPC version for Netweaver?
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    1. Henrique Pinto
      Yeah, the text is ambiguous. “License for BPC” can be interpreted as:

      1) you need to license BPC in order to use PAK;

      2) you need to license BPC if PAK is going to be used for BPC frontend.

      2) is highly unlikely, though, since BPC frontend is not mentioned anywhere in the blog, and the existing communication talk about BPC over HANA only on early 2013.

      Additionally, if you read the aforementioned note (https://service.sap.com/sap/support/notes/1637199), it states:

      “Use of the ABAP Planning Applications Kit requires a license for the following SAP functionality: ‘SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation, version for SAP NetWeaver’.”

      which could also be interpreted either as 1) or 2) above.

      As mentioned, I personally interpreted it as 1).

      BR,
      Henrique.

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            1. Uwe Fischer Post author
              Hi Oliver,

              the note is work in progress. It will be refined all through the ramp-up process. Thus it might be unavailable temporarily. Sorry for this inconvenience.

              Best,
              Uwe

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  2. David Williams
    To clarify a couple points/questions here:
    Uwe’s scenario “B” – “Standard with in-memory” above does not require a planning license. A customer with BW that is licensed for SAP HANA (as well as Analysis for Office if they wish to use), can use BW-IP with SAP HANA; however it is not “optimized” for deep in-memory integration. Optimized in-memory planning on SAP HANA is based on a “planning framework” which today includes SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation, version for SAP NetWeaver (BPC NW) and the planning applications kit (PAK) ie scenario “C” – “Deep in-memory integration” in Uwe’s blog. Any customer that is already licensed for planning on BPC NW (and is licensed on SAP HANA) has access to the planning framework and hence can deploy BPC NW or PAK. This was done so that existing BPC NW customers don’t have to purchase another planning license for PAK and allows customers that haven’t purchased a planning license to have access to the planning framework (ie BPC NW and PAK) by licensing BPC NW. BPC 10 NW is planned to support SAP HANA with SP 6 (targeted for first half of 2012).
    (0) 
    1. Ethan Jewett
      Hi David,

      Thanks for weighing in. That was quite a helpful explanation.

      What I see as concerning (and maybe I wasn’t completely clear about this in my previous comment) is the statement above that there will be no further investment in BW-IP, only in PAK. I guess there are two ways this could be interpreted:

      1. No further investment in *anything* BW-IP-related, including the planning engine, the BEx integration, or the presentation layer (BEx/AAO).

      2. No further investment in the BW-IP planning engine, but continued investment in the BEx/AAO presentation layer that is shared between BW-IP and the PAK.

      Obviously the 2nd would be a much easier pill to swallow for customers using BW-IP and not BPC. Can you explain the future investment scenario a bit further?

      Cheers,
      Ethan

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      1. Uwe Fischer Post author
        Hi Ethan,
        no worries, we surely continue with planning in BW. In the comparison table between BW-IP and PAK you see that UI and modeling remain the same. And looking at the component diagram the UI strategy remains untouched. It is only the server component that is replaced, which is your 2nd interpretation.
        With SAP HANA we are in a position to think about new calculations beyond the pure port that we have done so far. The investment statement is to emphasize that new calculations might only be offered in HANA. From other investments, BW-IP might benefit as well. But focus is on PAK.
        Best,
        Uwe
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      2. Chris Pauxtis
        Hey Ethan,

        The answer to your question is #2. BW-IP may may see some improvements however all the focus will be on PAK.  Investments in the presentation layer would likely apply to both BW-IP and PAK.

        Cheers

        PS – Congrats again on getting married!

        (0) 
          1. Uwe Fischer Post author
            Hi Henrique,

            PAK includes a new infrastructure for HANA-optimized data management. Also SAP HANA will allow new calculations that go beyond the pure port that we have done so far. Finally PAK does not provide all calculations in HANA yet. Those
            are the focus areas for future investments. BW-IP will not benefit from those.
            However all UI-related enhancements for PAK will also be available in BW-IP.

            Best,
            Uwe

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              1. Uwe Fischer Post author
                Hi Henrique,

                ok, you refer to custom build content investments rather that SAP technology investments? Yes, investing into PAK content equals investing into BW-IP as both sit on the same meta-data. All solutions sitting on BW-IP (meta-data) today can use PAK as well.
                By the way, it is not that BW-IP uses PAK but rather that they share the same meta-data. Both provide fully functional planning runtimes.

                Best,
                Uwe

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  3. Amy Stine
    Can anyone provide clarification on how the BPC roadmap/strategy and the IP/PAK roadmap/strategy fit together?  Both in terms of a) will there be a common underlying technology platform (i.e. what pieces of PAK and the HANA planning & calculation engines will BPC leverage, as well as shared UI options?) and b) will the overall strategic roadmap continue with two overlapping  tools?   
    As stated in the other comments, the predominant messaging is very BPC centric, but every once in a while, information on IP developements surface, as in this great blog, ending in a fair amount of confusion as to what direction SAP is headed.  Especially when you layer on top the perplexing licensing requirments for PAK. 

    Thanks,
    Amy

    (0) 

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