SAP’s Lori Vanourek gave an ASUG webcast SAP Hana Information Composer. I got to thinking about it since one of the hands-on sessions for this tool is already FULL at SAP TechEd Las Vegas. This tells me that for sure SAP TechEd is not just for the technical people.
The usual disclaimer applies that things discussed in the future are subject to change.
Here was the abstract for the webcast:
SAP HANA Information Composer (new with SAP HANA 1.0 SP03) is a modeling tool developed specifically for the needs of non-technical users. From installation through end-user experience, you will leave this session with a comprehensive understanding of this modeling environment and how it fits in to your modeling options. You will also learn how more advanced data architects and centralized IT can benefit from and extend scenarios initiated by non-technical users in the SAP HANA Information Composer via the SAP HANA Modeler.
- User Experience
- Installation & Admin
Figure 1: Source: SAP
Figure 1 shows the broader picture of SAP Hana, looking at main flow & architecture
3 key layers:
1) Movement of data into hana
2) Management & modeling of data
3) Consumption layer
Composer comes in Modeling layer with 2 tools:
1) Hana Modeling studio
2) Information Composer
Figure 2: Source: SAP
Modeler is an Eclipse based tool
The Hana modeler is the primary modeler
You can generate time records, different layers, attribute views for descriptive data, analytic view modeling including measures and facts
It uses the multi-dimensional star schema model
Figure 3: Source: SAP
Information Composer has two main functions as shown in Figure 3 – acquires data and simple data modeling
Focused on non-technical user to allow them to quickly take information, such as a spreadsheet or clipboard and create their own data in Hana and combine with central models from IT.
It is a step-through wizard type environment
Figure 4: Source: SAP
Figure 4 shows the comparison of the Hana Modeler versus the Information Composer.
Info composer user may not know concept of joins/union or understand but do know what want to accomplish – know their data itself
Workspaces are kept private for their own use and shared for other users
Figure 5: Source: SAP
Figure 5 shows the business and IT benefits. “Bending and not breaking IT” is what Lori said.
Artifacts created are stored in the repository – same as the Hana modeler. It provides transparency and authorizations intact. Same authorization roles & management
It is not a separate authorization concept itself. Avoid loop holes, says Lori.
It is business by design as an end user has something to create, a blend of 2 different data models, may be something to push out and then hands over to the architect who continues to take to another level.
Figure 6: Source: SAP
Hana Information Composer has URL based interface; give users URL and get welcome screens
Lori then showed some demos on SAP Hana Information Composer – please see http://www.experiencesaphana.com/videos/1234
The views are published to HANA and then are visible to the HANA front end.
Figure 7: Source: SAP
Figure 7 shows the upload features. IT may be concerned about loads of large amounts of data so there is a restriction of 5 million cells – it is not a technical restriction. A request has been made to make this a configurable value.
Installation & Administration
Figure 8: Source: SAP
It is on SMP via ZIP file and will install a lean Java server with a Silverlight UI on the front end. You choose http or https configuration. Port defaults 8080; if you have tomcat you want to make sure the port for Information Composer is unique.
Figure 9: Source: SAP
Figure 9 shows the installation steps and the system configuration. It creates the IC_TABLES schema tables.
Figure 10: Source: SAP
Figure 10 shows two new roles after installation – IC_MODELER (to use Information Composer) and IC_PUBLIC (authorized to use tables)
Question & Answer Session
Q: Can information composer copy data models from Erwin or other data modeling tools?
A: No it is not designed for that. It is designed for user to access models in Hana
Q: Does “Cleanse Data” uses the same data cleanse packages used in BO Data Services data cleansing?
A: Common question, but answer is no.
Q: Can we create calculations like ‘restricted key figures’ in addition to the ‘calculated key figure’ types of calculations in your demo?
A: No – you need to create a new one and this is not supported and will be noted
Q: Can Information Composer can be used on BW on top of HANA? If so can it combine data from multiple Cubes/ DSO?
A: Complementary to BW – not something supported
Q: How can you organize IC_ series tables? Everything in one folder could be confusing.
A: It is in one folder now and looking at future release for future options
Q: Can I import data from access db?
A: Can bring in flat files and clipboard – other sources not supported
Q: Are you planning on changing the Silverlight UI, since Microsoft is not supporting it in Windows 8?
A: Yes, in the roadmap discussion piece for that; considering HTML5 but not final. Will not be on Silverlight for long term.
Q: Is Information Composer a separate license, or does it come included with a HANA system?
A: It is included with HANA system and no separate license fee.
Q: Can we use SAP J2EE as webserver or We have to use Tomcat for IC?
A: Installs a lean java server directly; some uses install against separate server but not a supported model.
Q: Will this run on ERP ver 4.6 and up?
A: No dependency on ERP versions as it goes against HANA
Q: Does the Lean Java get installed as part of HANA, or does that only get installed if you are using Information Composer?
A: Only installed if using IC
Q: After data is uploaded and published, Will it create only calculation views on hana db, When it will create other set of views, hierarchies
A: Only creates calc views in background
Q: Are we restricted to only XLS or CSV? What about XML or other formats
A: XLS CSV are supported
Q: Once we create an Information View, how do we reuse it with a new XLS file
A: Right click export to Excel
Q: can we combine XLS data with a Analytic data source
A: Yes you can
Q: Can you leverage a corporate LDAP server for authentication, or is it using a database logon?
A: It is using the same authorization concept that HANA uses – such as Kerberos, etc.
Q: for the upload DQ cleans remediation, will it save those rules if you upload the same or updated data the next week?
A: Not rules you are writing – when refresh data next data, and not memorize
Q: What kind of BO reporting tool can be used on top of a combined model?
A: You can use tools reading against Hana already
Q: How to practice IC in sandbox trial? Is there any URL to call?
A: Go to developer.sap.com for info on Hana trial versions
Q: Is the Information Composer roadmap published anywhere?
A: All official roadmaps are at service.sap.com/roadmap – including HANA under Database & Technology
Q: How do we refresh the Information view with new data. How do we repeat the Indexing?
A: Not doing indexing – refreshing will be through DQ/SLT, Data Services
Q: Will the uploaded data be purged after a set period of time? Can administrators set the purge date?
A: 5M cell max; request from customers to make that configurable – consumption is a bigger question beyond IC
Q: We are asking about a timeframe not a size limit?
A: Administrator can do that
Q: Can you use Single Sign-On?
A: It supports same authorization as Hana so if you have SSO for HANA backend you would have it for IC – may not be in current patch
Q: Is IC uses ODBC/JDBC/ODBO for connectivity?
A: It is going through Java SDK for creation and it has user ID logon passed back – JDBC
Q: Is there a tutorial on the product somewhere on the SAP website?
A: Go to http://scn.sap.com/community/hana-in-memory > Content > Documents
Back to TechEd – please see Jon Reed’s 2010 Youtube where he makes the case for TechEd for business users – still relevant for today, especially with Hana Information Composer