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BPC on HANA – true innovation without disruption

BPC on HANA was launched at SAP Financials in Vegas on March 13, 2012 – and you could test drive it right after the keynote in the EPM labs.

A recording of Sanjay Poonen’s keynote can be found here:

As of March 30, 2012 BPC on HANA is available to our customers.

This blog provides you some background on BPC on HANA.

*** Be sure to join us on May 13th at SAPPHIRE for a Deep Dive into SAP Planning and Consolidation – Including BPC Powered by HANA full-day seminar *** Register Today

Also there are 3 recordings of a BPC on HANA webinar, including a demo (S-user required) and there is the BPC on HANA interview with John Reed:

What is BPC on HANA?

As you may know, BPC 10.0 NW sits on top of BW 7.3. BW 7.3 can run on HANA – SAP’s in-memory database.

Figure 1: Putting SAP BW onto HANA

So, as opposed to running BW on a regular database, we use HANA as its database – easy.

Thus, it’s only logical that BPC 10.0 moves onto HANA as well – since the underlying BW 7.3 system moves onto HANA. With Service Pack 6 of BPC 10.0 NW we will officially “certify” that BPC 10.0 does indeed work on top of BW 7.3 running on HANA. The beautiful part is that you don’t have to re-implement BPC. The application and front-end layers stay the same – your BPC environments, script logic, ABAP code, Business Process Flows, reports etc stay intact without you having to migrate them.

This is what the BPC on HANA stack looks like:

Figure 2: BPC on HANA stack

This stack has some inherent benefits. For example BPC environments are now in-memory optimized:

Figure 3: BPC Planning cube – in-memory optimized

That means that the cube structure is much simpler compared to a conventional BW where cubes have a “snowflaked starschema” with 2 fact-tables (E and F), dimension IDs tables etc.

Figure 4: with HANA we move from a complex cube structure to a simpler schema

An in-memory optimized cube has far fewer tables than a traditional cube:

Figure 5: in-memory optimized BPC cubes have simple table structures

In short, BPC on HANA is like traditional BPC – but on simple, in-memory optimized cubes. And that yields faster performance for loading and reporting.

But this is where the comparison ends… Slow processes running on the application server will not be affected by a switch of the database to HANA. Single threaded code will still be single threaded. This is, unless we push these processes down into HANA to take full advantage of HANA.

Pushing BPC functions into HANA

In order to take full advantage of HANA’s strength – highly parallelize processing on in-memory tables – we will have to shift calculations from the application server into the HANA database.

Figure 6: HANA highly parallelized processing on tables stored in-memory

That means that rather than moving raw data from the database to the application server to calculate results there, we will push calculations down into the HANA engine (similar to a “stored procedure”), execute them highly parallelized in-memory and transfer only the end-results back to the application server.

Figure 7: Moving the work load from the app-server to HANA

The beautiful thing is that SAP will rewrite the internal BPC functions to run on HANA without disrupting your existing BPC implementation. For example, at the EPM labs at SAP Financials you can test-drive a large variety of BPC functionality on HANA including

–          Excel and Web reporting

–          Business process flows

–          Drill-thru

–          Data loading and copying

–          Controls and consolidations

–          Journal entries

–          Books publishing

–          Etc

We didn’t have to rewrite all this content for BPC on HANA. We simply leveraged our existing BPC 10.0 NW MEGA Elite Enablement exercises and swapped the database out underneath them and put in HANA.

Back to the rewrite of internal BPC functions: this will happen over time. The first big function we tackled is reporting – that is coming in SP6. So, rather than calling the BW MDX engine, we will be calling the HANA TREX engine to execute most of our reports (reports with dimension member formulas, custom measures and on year-to-date applications are still following the traditional BW MDX path – for now).

For BPC on HANA customers we do have a new add-on called HANABPC in addition the regular BPC add-on CPMBPC:

Figure 8: BW on HANA with the BPC add-on and the HANABPC add-on

This add-on is installed at BPC on HANA customers only and contains the new HANA enabled BPC functions – such as the report acceleration we deliver in SP6.

Figure 9: The new HANABPC addin with HANA optimized functions in the BW backend

Performance Benefits

So what does this all mean for performance? As we discussed in the first part, there are some inherent benefits of putting BPC on top of a BW on HANA. The graph below shows the performance lab results for a report with 500,000 rows selected from a BPC cube with 1 billion records along a dimension with 1 million master data members. The blue bar is the original result on BPC on Oracle. The red bar shows the runtime of the same report on BPC on HANA – but without pushing the report execution into the HANA TREX engine. The purple bar is the same report executed on BPC on HANA where the execution is pushed into HANA via the new add-on HANABPC.

Figure 10: inherent benefits of HANA in red, optimized results in purple

As you can see putting BPC on HANA makes the 500,000 row report run about 1.7 times faster compared to an Oracle DB. But the real performance gain is achieved when we push the execution from the BW appserver down to HANA’s TREX engine:

That makes the backend processing of the data selection and aggregation for this large report 21x faster!

Over time, more and more BPC functions such as write-back, distribution, currency conversion, consolidations etc are planned to be pushed into the HANA engine.

Benefits of BPC on HANA

So, why should you go to BPC on HANA?

First of all: it’s faster. Performance is a big topic for users and slow response times lead to un-productive users in the best case. Worst case users get so frustrated that they stop using the system and start building their own spreadsheets and “shadow”-IT – rendering your IT investments useless. The performance topic also grows in importance as data volumes not only grow but explode. So, you want to be on a platform built to handle “big data”. You want to be on HANA.

Secondly, HANA is the platform of the future. New features such as automated variance analysis or sophisticated scenario planning are considered for BPC on HANA – so we can take advantage of the blazing speed and enable scenarios that are not possible on conventional databases. So, BPC on HANA gears you up for the future.

More and more BPC functions will be accelerated and if you don’t move to BPC on HANA you will miss out.

Thirdly – Mobility: Mobile users are impatient users. Desktop or laptop users might be willing to wait several minutes for a complex report to refresh, but a mobile user won’t.  After a couple of seconds, mobile users will navigate away and check their emails or latest sports scores. If your company is going mobile, then you want to be on BPC on HANA.

Installation of BPC on HANA

The high level installation steps are:

–          Get a HANA appliance on certified HANA hardware

–          Install BW 7.3 SP 6 on HANA

–          Install BPC and its new HANABPC add-on

–          Turn the add-on on in transaction SPRO

You can also migrate your existing BPC instance from a regular database to HANA. This is a great option if your BPC 10.0 NW system is installed on a separate BW instance. See Installation Options for Business Objects Planning and Consolidation 10.0, version for Netweaver for more details on separate vs. shared BW instances for BPC

Check out Note 1676242 – Installing HANABPC 800 on SAP NW 730

How to get your hands on BPC on HANA

There are 3 simple options:

–          Install your own BPC on HANA server

–          Visit the EPM labs at SAP Financials

–          Check as we are looking to make BPC on HANA available

One more thing… BPC goes mobile!

The iPad app for BPC is coming…

Figure 11: BPC mobile app – lab preview, subject to change

For more BPC info, references and demos check out:Looking for BPC demos, customer references, roadmaps, performance and sizing information, training, documentation or tips & tricks?

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  • Thanks for another informative blog, Jens.

    Question - when you refer to the "HANABPC add-in", is that a replacement of the EPM Excel add-in or is this something on the back-end that would be 'hidden' from the users?  If it is a replacement of the EPM Excel add-in, how does this affect reporting off of non-BPC EPM solutions (i.e. can the HANABPC add-in be utilized for non-BPC products or do I need both HANABPC and EPM Excel add-ins)?  If it is something in the back-end hidden from users, is it a particular version of the EPM Excel add-in that would need to be utilized in order to 'talk to' the HANABPC add-in on the back-end?

    Jim Link

    • Hi Jim,

      it's a backend add-in in BW - simlar to the CPMBPC add-in. Figure 9 show both add-ins.
      It has nothing to do with the EPM10 Excel Add-in for reporting - that stays as is. so, all good 🙂

      • Hi Jens,

        Does a BW 7.3 customer running HANA and already using SAP BPC need additional licensing to get the HANABPC add-in?



        • Hi Bhanu,

          you don't need an additional BPC license to run BPC on HANA. your existing BPC license is sufficient and the integration comes with SP6.

          But of course you will need to have a license for BW on HANA.

          For more details, make sure to check with the SAP account executive.

          Hope this helps


    • Hi Jim,

      it's a backend add-in in BW - simlar to the CPMBPC add-in. Figure 9 show both add-ins.
      It has nothing to do with the EPM10 Excel Add-in for reporting - that stays as is. so, all good 🙂


  • Thanks Jens. Very informative blog. Report acceleration is a major requirement expected in most of the BPC implementations. Once Write-back function is also moved to HANA engine, performance of most of the complex planning layouts will be improved. BPC on NW has many inherit benefits which moved BPC to next orbit. Now with HANA, BPC will be  the preferred choice (over Hyperion) for BPF & Consolidation requirements.
  • Hi Jens,

    Very good blog, simple to understand for our BPC community.

    As we awaiting the official launch and the benchmark results, i liked your graph. Offcourse i would have preferred a "Blue" graph for HANA and "red" one for Oracle 🙂



  • Good to know. However, it important to understand that moving to HANA is not easy and economical. You have to think about a solid Business case to justify the heavy Cost of HANA. IP is also on HANA. There still is confusion among SAP customers with CRM and Planning needs, what’s the SAP's direction for "A" Integrated Planning solution. Is SAP recommending both IP and BPC or are they merging? Why the customers have to maintain two “SAP planning tools” and two sets of skilled resources? SAP still doesn’t have a clear direction or roadmap. It’s loosing Market with Essbase or Hyperion in the confusion and complexity. Just thought I could give a honest practical feedback here.


  • Nice blog Jens, you missed off the bit on how to activate the HANABPC component! Not sure if that was deliberate, I can't find it elsewhere on SCN or OSS.

    As you kindly told me, you go to Set Global Parameters and set parameter ENABLE_ACCELERATOR to Y.

  • You can also migrate your existing BPC instance from a regular database to HANA. This is a great option if your BPC 10.0 NW system is installed on a separate BW instance.

    I also wanted to pick up on this point. I totally agree with you but it does require some context. It is particularly beneficial if you have a separate BPC instance for a few reasons:

    • There is no business change management around the shared BW instance and so it is easier to move.
    • It is smaller and therefore less costly to buy HANA.
    • There are fewer scenarios on a standalone instance and therefore there is less risk.
  • Following SAP document says that BPC planning functions are excluded from BPC HANA.

    "Planning functions (comment by the author of this document: excludes SAP Planning applications like  IP Integrated Planning and BPC),"

    While following SAP wiki on sap website highlights limitation of BPC on HANA including missing allocations while most value to customers with very large reports only.

    "Allocations ( Currently the allocations are still being performed on the application server, and have not been pushed down to the HANA database server for execution)"

  • Hello,

    First of all thanks for your post.

    Anyone knows if the currency conversion and consolidation functionality (FX Restatement and  legal consolidation packages) has been improved also with HANA in terms of performance?

    What percentage of time reduction can be obtained?

    Thanks in advance,

  • Hi,

    Can you elaborate on "That means that rather than moving raw data from the database to the application server to calculate results there, we will push calculations down into the HANA engine (similar to a “stored procedure”), execute them highly parallelized in-memory and transfer only the end-results back to the application server."

    Is it possible to take data from a BPC input form, process it in HANA using stored procedure and return the results back to BPC? Please advice