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Author's profile photo Werner Daehn

The various Data Provisioning Options for Hana

An often asked question is how to get data into Hana as there are so many different options. Let me try to differentiate the various methods from a technical point of view.

Standalone products:

  • SAP Data Services
  • SAP LT Replication Server (SLT)
  • Sybase Replication Server (SRS)
  • Direct Extractor Connection (DXC)
  • SAP Process Orchestration/Integration (SAP PI, SAP XI)
  • SAP BW

and the Hana options:

  • Hana Smart Data Access (SDA)
  • Hana Smart Data Integration (SDI)
  • Hana Smart Data Streaming (SDS)

The first and most important point to consider here is the question itself: How to get data into Hana. If Hana is just one of many sources and targets or there is no Hana in the picture at all, then the standalone products do make more sense. Or to argue into the reverse direction, there are so many different options because of the non-Hana scenarios. Okay, it would be odd if the standalone solutions can load everything but Hana, hence they have that capability as well which creates that confusion.

Example: My task is to integrate various system, the sources are an SAP ERP system, 5 Oracle databases, flat files of various formats, SQL Server,… and to load that into Teradata, Oracle and BW on Hana.

So Hana plays no or a little role in it, sounds like a perfect SAP Data Services scenario. Many sources, many targets and Data Services in the middle.

Hana is the sole target

A few years ago, if a customer wanted to load e.g. flat files into Hana, he had to install Data Services. A full blown ETL tool just to load a few files from Mainframe (Cobol Copybook), CSV files with a non-default format and other sources. Only Data Services as an ETL tool provides reading capabilities of essentially every source system, allows the data to be transformed easily so it can be loaded into the target structures. An installation of a full blown ETL tool just for that.

If realtime is required as well, then SLT or SRS would have to be installed in addition.

In case the source data should be just made available and not copied – the federated/virtual data model use case – SDA would need to be configured as well.

So at the end, for an e.g. SQL Server database as source, three products are needed. All with their own install, with their own connector to the source, totally different look and feel and different capabilities.

  • Customer wants to perform Data Services like transformations in Realtime? Not possible.
  • Customer wants to perform Data Services like transformations in a CalcView for virtual data models? Not possible.
  • Customer wants to tryout one style, e.g. a virtual data model and then switch to batch data integration for performance reasons and then to realtime data integration for accuracy? No way.
  • Customer wants to administer, maintain and monitor all from Hana? No chance.
  • Customer wants to read from something less common, say MySQL? Only Data Services has that possibility.

For these reasons the Hana EIM Option Smart Data Integration was developed. Take the best concepts of all the products, merge those with existing Hana features and quickly you can develop the most powerful and easy to use product from ground up. Yes, SDI does not reuse any code from the old products.

see Playing Lego with SDI

Essentially, SDI is an extension of SDA which enhances it by

  • Adapters
    • Running outside of the Hana kernel – hence are not a stability threat for Hana
    • Provide an Adapter SDK to write new adapters easily – every customer has a few common sources SDI provides adapters for plus one exceptional. They can write a new adapter for that within hours/days.
    • Support onpremise and cloud deployments – a Hana cloud can read onpremise data as if it was local
  • Realtime Push
    • Adapters do support select and insert/update/delete but also a realtime push of change data
  • Transformations
    • All Data Services and Hana transformations are available in Hana natively
  • UIs
    • A Data Services like UI for the assembly of dataflows and the configuration of the individual transforms
    • Supports batch reading, realtime transformations and virtual data models
    • Hana Cockpit for monitoring and administration

The various SDI adapters

Ideally one source would have one adapter. One Twitter adapter to read Tweets. One Facebook adapter to read Facebook posts. One Oracle adapter to read Oracle data.

Some sources do provide different APIs to get data, especially when it comes to realtime. Take Oracle as a first example. To read from it executing SQL selects via JDBC is sufficient. But JDBC certainly does not support realtime. What are the realtime options for Oracle?

  • Adding triggers to the source tables manually
  • Oracle CDC API creating triggers internally
  • Oracle CDC API using streams technology
  • Oracle Streams used directly
  • Oracle GoldenGate
  • Oracle LogMiner

It does not make sense to have one adapter supporting all options or one adapter per realtime method. Hence the SDI OracleLogReader adapter is using the LogMiner technology for realtime plus the JDBC driver for normal reads.

Later we might add more adapters to support other realtime APIs as well, in case these are preferred by a customer.

SAP ERP is another example where multiple technologies could be used. There is certainly no JDBC driver for SAP ERP, so even reading tables is a challenge already.

  • ABAP Adapter: Reads SAP tables via ABAP, also can read from Extractors and call BAPIs.
  • ECCAdapter: This is a variant of a database adapter, so it does use the database transaction log to get the changes for realtime. But returns the data in the ABAP datatypes and deals with pool/cluster tables correctly.
  • SLT Adapter?? This one is missing as of today. Would totally make sense to utilize SLT and its trigger based realtime approach to get the changes from ABAP tables. see ideaplace to vote up if you agree.

What is the best method for loading Hana?

As the goal of SDI was to provide a one stop solution for all Data Integration problems with Hana, the correct answer should be SDI. Only SDI …

  • supports Batch and Realtime and Virtual access
  • is fully integrated with Hana development UIs
  • is integrated with Hana Monitoring Cockpit
  • allows virtual table access (SDA) to its sources
  • provides access to a large number of different sources, databases, SAP systems, applications, cloud apps, internet sources,…
  • supports cloud and onpremise deployment options without any compromise
  • does even support realtime transformations
  • simplifies delta loads thanks to the realtime push of change data
  • allows complex transformations to be performed easily (Data Services like)
  • is using Hana repo for moving-to-production

Also keep in mind, there are certain features missing as of today (SPS11), like Workflows. This is high on the priority list. The product was first delivered with Hana SPS09 which is relatively young compared to all others.

But again, SDI is the supposed optimal solution only because we have reduced the question to “loading into Hana”.

There are more than enough use cases, even in the Hana world where other tools have the edge.

SAP Data Services

For Data Integration from many to many systems with all the requirements related, Data Services is and will be a good choice. Its focus is on batch performance, transformations and connectivity to every possible source/target.


SAP LT Replication Server (SLT)

The product’s sweet spot is ABAP to ABAP realtime replication. Supported sources and targets are the databases ABAP runs on, Hana being one of them. Unlike the SDI ECCAdapter SLT is adding database triggers on the original source tables to capture the changes, which has downsides but also upsides.

For ABAP savvy users this is certainly the preferred option still. From a technical point of view 90% of the logic of SLT is what you would call an adapter in SDI. That is the reason why adding an SLT adapter to SDI would make so much sense.


Sybase Replication Server

Main use case for SRS is a multi source/target replication. Supports the most common databases only.

Direct Extractor Connection

Had been a simple method to consume Extractors from Hana, completely replaced by SDA ABAPAdapter.

SAP Process Orchestration (SAP PI)

This tool does actually play in another league, it is an Enterprise Application Integration tool, not a Data Integration tool. Of course the difference between the two types is often marginal, e.g. if a customer master record consists of a single row in the application, there is no difference if you move the record (=row) or if you move the master record object (=row). It gets interesting in the complex cases, where one business object consists of many different types of Information.



With SAP BW on Hana the user is in a very comfortable position. For SAP extractors for example SAP BW has native support, why go another route? Hana data can be read as well. And for none-Hana data BW is using the Hana virtual tables, the SDI solution hence.

Therefore BW should not be considered an alternative but instead BW can utilize all other loading options to take advantage of those.

Hana SDA

This feature enables the use of virtual tables in Hana. These are Hana objects that point to an external system to blend in the remote data in Hana. For example a SQL Server table CUSTOMER_MASTER can be blended in to Hana as virtual table V_CUSTOMER_MASTER. This virtual table is nothing else than a pointer to the remote table. So it does not store any data on the Hana side, all queries are forwarded to the remote system and the data retrieved.

SDA provides a set of adapters, all running in the Hana IndexServer and do use ODBC drivers. Nowadays the SDI provided adapters are used instead.


Hana SDI

This solution is a natural part of Hana and extends Hana SDA. Therefore all Hana products and applications can take full advantage of its capabilities just like SDI does utilize other Hana features.


Hana SDS

Hana Smart Data Streaming again does actually compare to the other Data Provisioning options. Although it has adapters as well, its main goal is to aggregate the incoming stream of data, mostly by time slices. A good example is the streaming of WebLog changes. Instead of storing the billions and billions of raw weblog information in Hana, it might make more sense to extract key information from the raw data and store this information instead. How many users have viewed a web page within 10 minutes intervals?

Therefore the SDS provided adapters are more focused on these kinds of source which produce millions of rows per second and not database sources. It does support reading from databases as well but just to lookup master data, not to subscribe to database changes.


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      Author's profile photo Sergio Guerrero
      Sergio Guerrero


      thank you for your share. Just to add to this great blog... there is one more option to bring data into HANA.. that is via the XS engine, where you can create APIs (using Server Side JavaScript) and open this as a web service.

      it requires custom Server side JavaScript, however, it is also another option.

      other than my addition.. i think you have explained very well.

      Author's profile photo Roberto Falk
      Roberto Falk


      sorry the dummy question, but which of these options are available on HCP?

      Best regards,

      Roberto Falk

      Author's profile photo Werner Daehn
      Werner Daehn
      Blog Post Author
      • SDI: yes, see Ben Hofman's blog post
      • SDA Adapters: no, would require installation of ODBC drivers
      • SDA with SDI Adapters: yes
      • SDS: yes
      • SLT: depends. Needs an ABAP server somewhere and Hana Cloud Connector for the network access.
      • PI: does not apply, no SOA services. If you write those, then yes.
      • Data Services: No, but there is HCI-DS, a small scale version of DS for Hana Cloud Integration. Its backend will be moved to SDI sooner or later, though.
      • SRS: you install SRS onpremise and using Hana Cloud Connector open up the network? Should work.
      • SAP BW: does not apply

      As you see Roberto, not a dumb question at all 🙂

      Author's profile photo ram nath
      ram nath

      Hi Werner,

      IS the HANA SDI has option to split the  column based on the two values is such kind of functionality is available similar to Data services.I like to know the options for splitting into two columns based on the values.

      Is it possible to write ifthenelse,Case statement functions in edit expression level.



      Author's profile photo Werner Daehn
      Werner Daehn
      Blog Post Author

      The task supports everything SQL supports and SQL has a CASE-WHEN expression. Use that as mapping expression.


      Author's profile photo chandan praharaj
      chandan praharaj

      Hi Werner,

      The document is quite informative, still I have 2 questions, please help me resolve this.

      1. SRS and SAP DS both are from many to many system, so can we use them alternately, or do they have separate use cases.

      2. You have covered one point regarding SLT adapters,
      so if SLT Adapters will be there in future, all the real time replication from ABAP based system can be made real time with SDI, right? So no additional licencing for SLT?

      Author's profile photo Werner Daehn
      Werner Daehn
      Blog Post Author

      ad 1) I would say the main difference is SRS=realtime and SAP DS=batch (plus a tiny little bit of realtime).

      ad 2) All the realtime from ABAP systems can be done with SDI today, even. The point I tried to make is a different one:

      SLT consists of Trigger based data capture + Loading

      SDI consists of adapters of different kind + transformation + loading + monitoring + ......

      As the trigger based capture is 90% of the code in SLT I would guess, wouldn't it make sense to add the option for SLT to be one of those many adapters? Then you get the advantages of SLT combined with the advantages of SDI. Anyway, just a personal opinion. Also depends on the market requirements.


      Author's profile photo chandan praharaj
      chandan praharaj

      yes , thanks for the clarifications Werner! 🙂

      Author's profile photo Christopher Buck
      Christopher Buck

      I have a client running SQL Server database as their target datasource from SAP Data Services and are looking to replace these with DBaaS running on HCP.  I see that we cannot load from SAP Data Services into HCP database which is unfortunate, will this connectivity come at a later date? At present I can advise them of the functionality of SDI but they would have to redevelop their DS jobs in SDI.  I know the goal will be to implement all the functionality of Data Services into SDI though if course it is not there yet.  Looking forward to your insightful comments 

      Author's profile photo Christopher Buck
      Christopher Buck

      After further investigation I have found I can load into HCP HANA DB using SAP Data Services on premise.  I have to download the SDK kit and run the command :

      neo open-db-tunnel -i schema -a s0011111111trial -h -u s00111111111
      This opens up the connection and then I can configure the HANA DB in Data Services and load data.  I am in the infancy of testing but just loaded from flat file to HCP HAN with temp table and it seems to work

      Author's profile photo Ajay Shirke
      Ajay Shirke

      Hi Werner

      We are using the MSSQL Log Reader Adapter for our SDI connection to pull data from MS SQL 2012 into HANA. The pull transaction is executed via a BW infopackage.

      We have selected the Data Capture Mode as "MS SQL CDC mode" in the settings , but the load is still pulling all the records each time, not just the changes.

      Can you please tell is what else we are missing. The help below says CDC does not need to be enabled.

      Any help will be greatly appreciated

      Ajay Shirke

      Author's profile photo Nitin Kumar
      Nitin Kumar

      Hello Werner,

      Thank you for your great post; it's really helpful.

      I have two questions, one in general and another specific to your post

      1. With ECC (not S/4 HANA) as "major" source and BW on HANA or BW4/HANA as target, for real time data, how does SDI fits into picture given BW extractors are not real time enabled. Is ECCAdapter of SDI the option (great to read it has support pool/cluster tables correctly).  Does it include payroll cluster ? What about ECC hierarchy ? What other options do we have ?
      2. In your BW section above, you say "Hana data can be read as well. And for none-Hana data BW is using the Hana virtual tables, the SDI solution hence." What are you trying to refer by HANA data ? I guess you are referring to any data sitting in HANA DB (loaded into it by any means).

      As I see, if one has HANA EDW in mind then SDI makes sense but EDW using BW in mind, then BW supported ETL/ELT is better. Only for data streaming, I see BW has missing piece which can covered by SDI or if streaming data is fed to Hadoop ecosystem.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Werner,

      very usefull !!!


      Abdel Kader.


      Author's profile photo Roberto Mariani
      Roberto Mariani

      Hi please,

      are there suggestions using SDI (1.0) to load  very very  big cluster tables   into Hana 1.0 rev 14 ?

      How we should do an efficent Task Partitioning for example for the KONV table ?

      best regards

      Author's profile photo Imran Kazi
      Imran Kazi

      For twitter data which data provisioning tools can be used?

      Author's profile photo Kingsley Ufumwen
      Kingsley Ufumwen

      I would suggest SAP Smart Data Streaming