With all the press about SAP HANA in the last six months, its been easy to forget about the past successes and maturity of SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator. As I travel from customer to customer or conference to conference, BWA is consistently a topic of conversation. Whether there are compare and contrast BWA and HANA discussions, BWA roadmap questions or general questions regarding functionality, its important to realize that BWA is still an active play for many customers.
Yes, BW 7.30 Powered by HANA is the newest in-memory solution and yes, there will be no further development beyond the BWA 7.20 release, but BWA is NOT dead. In fact, it is just the opposite. A significant amount of new functionality for BWA was delivered with the BW 7.30 and BWA 7.20 releases. For the thousands of customers using BW 7.0 or 7.01, this means there is still a great deal of value to be harnessed from BWA. For those customers who are less likely to live on the “bleeding edge” and choose not to participate in BW 7.30 Powered by HANA until the solution moves along within the lifecylce of the product, there is plenty of new functionality to consider.
In addition to all the performance gains BWA has provided BW with since 2006, a number of new ones will further enhance the usability for BW. So as you lay out your project plans for your BW 7.30 upgrade, keep in mind further gains can be reached as more functionality was pulled from the OLAP engine and placed in BWA 7.20. Items like F4-Value help and exception aggregation (min, max, count distinct, etc) will be beneficial in making the “wait” time for queries further diminish.
In regard to data latency, a number of new features will lessen your nightly load window. With the creation of BWA based infocubes, the data no longer needs to persist in an Infocube as it had in the past. This will certainly cut down on DASD requirements and remove time from data load processes. The ability to also create an index for a DSO is now available. Both of these features should provide flexibility from a modeling perspective, provide for more efficient data loads and lessen the impact on storage.
Also an area that has gotten early praise from customers is BW Workspaces. Workspaces provide a dedicated area in a BW system where new models can be created based on central BW and local data (flat files, query results, etc.) within minutes or hours. Workspaces are maintained and controlled by IT and used by local departments to react quickly to new and changing requirements. In essence, they will help bridge the gap between central governance requirements and local flexibility needs. The workspaces are a quick way for IT to provide great value to the business without the need of the business user’s request landing at the bottom of IT’s “to do” list.
The intent of this blog was not to steer you away from HANA or BW 7.30 Powered by HANA. Both solutions are providing incredible value to our customers and the performance statistics being realized are truly unbelievable. My point was to make you aware BW Accelerator still has a tremendous amount of value to add and will be supported for many years to come.