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Author's profile photo Dan Lahl

How SAP Sybase IQ speeds up Business Objects Queries and Reports; musings on rows, columns and data management

In Courtney Driscoll’s latest blog, she wrote about the affinity between and performance boosts gained using SAP Business Objects and SAP Sybase IQ together.   You can read that blog post here:

Let me quickly explain how a performance increase of 10-100x is possible without optimizing the BOBJ universe or massively tuning a dataset to the query and reports users want to run…  Handcrafted optimizing and tuning between BI Tools and Database is old news and it takes lots of time and lots of effort for lots of people to get analytics performance tuned…

What is new news is organizing your spreadsheet of data by columns and not by rows.  Think about it, in an ad hoc query or even standard report using one of the Business Objects tools, there may be 3-10 or maybe even 15 attributes accessed in a table of 100+ attributes.  In a traditional row based database this means you either have to make sure each of the accessed attributes is indexed (and maybe cubed for complex reports) – or you have to resort to a database table scan.  This can be painful for end users who have to wait for a 10 million row table to fully scan and return a result, and then painful for the people who administrate the Business Objects environment, because they receive the wrath of the Business Users for poor performance. And putting your database on an  EXA-machine for faster table scans is a brute force approach and not really the optimal answer for most analytical situations…

Instead, why not take a different approach to database organization for analytical workloads.  That is, organize the dataset by column (attribute) vs. rows.  That way, when 3-10 attributes (columns) are accessed in a table, the database only has to retrieve a small subset of the data (3-10 attributes) in a table  that may contain 200 or more columns/attributes.  Presto, your Business Objects performance is improved without any rework!  This is what a column database is all about, e.g., optimizing for select or read operations vs. optimizing for inserting transactions.  For you database geeks, you INSERT rows for transactions, but you SELECT columns for analytics – get it?  To put it another way, in a column based database your data is already indexed, so in essence you are reading just the indexes you need for every report and ad hoc query, not the whole table.  In reality there is a lot more to column based databases, but you get the point.

SAP gets the point too!  This is what SAP HANA is all about, columnar storage in memory for data management.  And because of the speed of memory, HANA can do transactions as well.  And Oracle has woken up too.  They have recently stated that column based data management is great for analytics and they will someday add a column based add on to Oracle 12 to that end.  Oracle has woken up, but not delivered anything yet…

That brings us to SAP Sybase IQ – the world’s FIRST column based database, with over 2500 customers and a boatload of patents in column based database.  In fact, at the last Sapphire in May 2013, Hasso Plattner pointed out that one of the benefits of SAP buying Sybase was for the IQ patents in columnar technology.  IQ has the benefit of over 17 years in the market and robust maturity through thousands of customer environment experiences.  AND we at SAP have been working hard to fully optimize IQ and Business Objects working together, in order that users can benefit from the combination of the best BI tools on the planet and the best column database on the planet.  For the end user they achieve the best analytics and reporting performance possible (10-100x improvement).  For the IT folks implementing the environment, they don’t have to work weekends tuning that new report the CMO wants anymore.  We have worked hard to optimize BOBJ universe creation for IQ as well as pushing as much of the query processing down to IQ as we can, including many OLAP functions that now run directly in IQ — all to achieve end user performance gain without tons of IT work.  There are more things we are doing, but again, you get the point…       

Why don’t you download a free trial version or a fully functioning express edition of IQ here and find out what performance gains you can achieve with Business Objects running together with SAP Sybase IQ:

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      HI Dan

      could you please provide more detailed information about exclusiveness to using Sybase IQ and  SAP BO as bundle, other than 3rd party BI, by example IBM Cognos or Microstrategy BI?

      Is there any special features for IQ-BO solution?