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Near-line storage is a concept in the big data topic that many analysts are talking about. What is it? Near-line storage is the activity of storing data the organization is not continuously using, in an easily-accessible place that can quickly be made available to the user’s analytical tools—on demand—efficiently. While it is not real-time access—like with SAP HANA—it is near-line: near the tools, but not exactly “off-line.” Your data is within reach in the SAP NetWeaver BW Near-Line Storage and available in seconds.

October 1, SAP released the SAP NetWeaver BW Near-Line Storage rapid-deployment solution. Based on best practices, this rapid-deployment solution helps to implement the NLS solution in a really short timeframe. We’re talking about weeks.

 

Let me give you some background on the NLS solution and the rapid-deployment solution:

What´s the concept of the near-line storage solution and how fast is it?

The SAP NetWeaver BW Near-Line Storage solution helps to have huge amounts of data on hand – quickly. This is valid for both types of data, current or frequently used data held in memory as well as large volumes of rarely used data stored on disk.

 

With SAP NetWeaver BW Near-Line Storage, the users can access their data via SAP NetWeaver BW in almost real-time without any disruption in the look and feel of their reports.

 

“It feels like real time—that’s how fast it is.”

The NLS solution is a combination of the following main parts:

  

  • The native near-line storage connector in SAP NetWeaver BW. This connector enables organizations to manage, combine, and query data from online in-memory data from SAP HANA or disk-based data from SAP Sybase IQ. It allows archiving online data from the SAP NetWeaver BW system and storing it into SAP Sybase IQ as a near-line store.
  • The SAP HANA database (optional). This flexible in-memory database allows you to analyze SAP NetWeaver BW data in real-time, even at large volumes. Replacing the underlying database for SAP NetWeaver with SAP HANA gives you more speed, more flexibility and an easier way of maintaining your IT landscape.
  • The SAP Sybase IQ software that stores massive volumes of rarely used data, cost-effectively on disk. It has great data compression rates (70 % -90 % smaller than the original input data) which, by the way, will help to lower your TCO drastically, with reductions in data storage costs. Like SAP HANA, it is a column-oriented database management system, it stores and retrieves data by columns of attributes. This is a proven way to make data highly accessible for analysis.

As indicated with the word optional behind the SAP HANA database, the SAP NetWeaver BW Near-Line Storage solution can be implemented for traditional SAP NetWeaver BW (SAP BW) customers or for customers that are using SAP NetWeaver BW, powered by HANA (BW on HANA). In both cases, you will benefit from a leaner SAP BW system, which allocates less memory in your database. Considering this, you might lower the TCO for your SAP HANA database.

What are the benefits of this solution?

Besides achieving a complete data archiving strategy, you will

  • Gain a high-performance near-line storage with the functionalities of query and reporting.
  • Reduce your total cost of ownership for your BW on HANA system, by implementing a clear and scheduled data aging strategy (which reduces the storage on your HANA system)
  • Avoid further interfaces to near-line storage, as there is full access to data by SAP NetWeaver BW
  • Reduce maintenance efforts for SAP NetWeaver BW
  • Reduce system downtimes for SAP NetWeaver BW

  

How can SAP NetWeaver BW Near-Line Storage help you?

Are you wondering if NLS is the right solution for you? It´ll be the right solution if you can answer one or more of the following statements with yes.
Do you (or your customer) have…

  • Massive amounts of data in your SAP BW system combined with a high maintenance effort
  • Long downtimes for SAP BW system maintenance 
  • Need to transfer data into a new data archiving landscape
  • Intent to reduce the total cost of ownership of your SAP BW or BW on HANA system
  • Heterogeneous system landscapes including non-SAP near-line storage solutions
  • Need to have archived data still at hand.

If you feel nodding at one of these statements, NLS will be the right solution for you.

How can you implement the solution for your enterprise (or your customer)?

SAP offers the SAP NetWeaver BW Near-Line Storage rapid-deployment solution which can be implemented in a matter of weeks. This rapid-deployment solution delivers additional content and services that guide you safely through the implementation of your data archiving strategy. A detailed step-by-step-guide delivers all important assets and steps in a clear and understandable way. The rapid-deployment solution has the following main components:

 

  • Implementation of a data aging strategy – A document that guides through the process of setting up a data aging strategy, with an example of a data aging strategy for sample info cubes in SAP BW
  • SAP Sybase IQ general configuration – A configuration guide and templates for a fast and easier installation and configuration of SAP Sybase IQ software
  • Near-line storage configuration – A step-by-step guide that supports through the process of configuring the SAP BW application for near-line storage with SAP Sybase IQ.

Do you have the right skill set to implement the solution?

 

The typical skill set that is needed to implement the solution is SAP BW knowledge and knowledge on SAP Sybase IQ (Administration).

Where can you find further information on the solution?

 

Have a look at this nice video that explains the solution:

For customers and partners there is detailed information available on SAP Service Marketplace: https://service.sap.com/rds-nls

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