Skip to Content
Business Trends

What is #BW4HANA?

BW/4HANA is an evolution of BW that is completely optimized and tailored to SAP HANA. The BW/4HANA code can only run on SAP HANA as it is interwoven with SAP HANA engines and libraries. The ABAP part is several million lines of code smaller compared to BW-on-HANA. It is free of any burden to stay, e.g., within a certain, “common denominator scope” of SQL, like SQL92 or OpenSQL, but can go for any optimal combination with what the SAP HANA platform offers. The latter is especially important as it extends into the world of big data via SAP HANA VORA, an asset that will be heavily used by BW/4HANA.
So, what are BW/4HANA’s major selling points? What are the “themes” or “goals” that will drive the evolution of BW/4HANA? Here they are:
1. Simplicity
bw4hana_Less-Objecttypes_1Depending on how one counts, BW offers 10 to 15 different object types (building blocks like infocubes, multiproviders) to build a data warehouse. In BW/4HANA, there will be only 4 which are at least as expressive and powerful as the previous 15. BW/4HANA’s building blocks are more versatile. Data models can now be built with less buildings blocks w/o compromising expressiveness. They will, therefore, be easier to maintain, thus more flexible and less error-prone. Existing models can be enhanced, adjusted and, thus, be kept alive during a longer period that goes beyond an initial scope.
bw4hana_Data-Lifecycle_2Another great asset of BW/4HANA is that it knows what type of data sits in which table. From that information it can automatically derive which data needs to sit in the hot store (memory) and which data can be put into the warm store (disk or non-volatile RAM) to yield a more economic usage of the underlying hardware. This is unique to BW/4HANA compared to handcrafted data warehouses that require also a handcrafted, i.e. specifically implemented data life-cycle management.
2. Openness
bw4hana_SQL-Openness_3BW/4HANA – as BW – offers a managed approach to data warehousing. This means that prefabricated templates (building blocks) are offered for building a data warehouse in a standardized way. The latter provides huge opportunities to optimize the resulting models for SAP HANA regarding performance, footprint, data life-cycle. In contrast to classic BW, it is possible to deviate from this standard approach wherever needed and appropriate. On one hand, BW/4HANA models and data can be exposed as SAP HANA views that can be accessed via standard SQL. BW/4HANA’s security is thereby not compromised by part of those SAP HANA views. On the other hand, any type of SAP HANA table or view can be easily and directly incorporated into BW/4HANA. It is thereby not necessary to replicate data. Both capabilities mean that BW/4HANA combines with and complements any native SQL data warehousing approach. It can be regarded as a powerful suite of tools for architecting a data warehouse on SAP HANA with all the options to combine with other SQL-based tools.
3. Modern UIs
bw4hana_QueryDesigner_Preview_3BW/4HANA will offer modern UIs for data modeling, admin, monitoring that run in SAP HANA Studio or a browser. In the midterm, SAP GUI will become obsolete in that respect. Similarly, SAP’s Digital Boardroom, SAP BusinessObjects Cloud, Lumira, Analysis for Office and Design Studio will be the perfect match as analytic clients on top of BW/4HANA.
4. High Performance
bw4hana_Big-DW_5Excellent performance has been at the heart of BW since the advent of SAP HANA. As elaborated above, BW/4HANA will be free of any burdens and will leverage any optimal access to SAP HANA which will be especially interesting in the context of big data scenarios as SAP HANA VORA offers a highly optimized “bridge” between the worlds of SAP HANA (RDBMS) and Hadoop/SPARK (distributed processing on a file system). Most customers require to enhance and complement existing data warehouses with scenarios that address categories of data that go beyond traditional business process triggered (OLTP) data, namely machine generated data (IoT) and human sourced information (social networks).
The figure below summarizes the most important selling points. It is also available as a slide.




You can follow me on Twitter via @tfxz.

Follow the conversation on Twitter at #TheFutureOfDW #BW4HANA

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
    • Hi Greg, we will talk about this next week (Sep 7) at the BW/4HANA launch event (see and in future blogs. Clearly, there is a relationship. For now, I refer you to item 4. above and the related pic; here the enlarged version:

    • Hi There,

      Nice tutorial! Let's keep our fingers crossed that this works. I would like to put this all to rest.
      Using the SAP Web IDE for SAP HANA in an on-premise S/4 HANA system running HANA 2.0, how do I create a CDS view in my HDI container on top of a standard S/4 table, such as T001? My admin has already granted my ID access to the S/4 schema, so I can see the S/4 tables in the Database Explorer tool, but I am not sure what files I will need in my database module to reference S/4 tables.
      I have created one ADSO through SAP BW4HANA on SAP HANA edition 1. sps11 with SAP HANA Studio version been 2.3.32 and then created calculation view on top of the Hana view table for my ADSO.
      The view is active without any error, Checked SYS_BIC column views. but when I do Data preview I get error "View not found. Either the view is inactive or the selected attribute is not present in the active view.”
      I went through few discussion and it was noted that latest version of the HANA studio solved the issue but they did not precise what was their version and Environment details.
      Could you please help me out on what could be the reason for such error?
      Kindly help…
      Excellent tutorials - very easy to understand with all the details. I hope you will continue to provide more such tutorials.


  • Sorry for the hick-up with the pics. If you want them in better resolution then go to the SCN version of the blog:

    We will improve them here asap.

  • Thanks Thomas for the information. It seems evident that BW modelling capabilities will eventually become integral part HANA modelling making HANA as the future DW solution. You mentioned that administration and monitoring will also happen via HANA studio and or a browser. Does that mean that it will have capabilities equivalent to process chains and plethora of process types (I understand that is planned for Q4/2016)?

    Also, another question is regarding planning - BPC/Integrated Planning applications that require BW as of today. Is there a plan to introduce planning capabilities in HANA too?


  • Interesting article Thomas. Thanks. What are the major differences between B4HANA and BW 7.5? Is it just that 7.5 has the ability to run with legacy object types to allow for conversion, and B4HANA only works with new objects types, and hence the reduced code base? Are they any major functional improvements of B4HANA over BW7.5?

    • Hi Neil,
      I understand that many people look at the current state and - if put negatively - "small gap" between BW 7.5 and BW/4HANA. I do not follow for 3 reasons:
      1. There is already some fundamental element in BW/4HANA today that you do not find in BW-on-HANA, namely the the data flow modeling which can be regarded as a successor to the DW workbench as it has existed for 2 decades. It not only introduces a new, modern UI but a different paradigm on how to handle, model, manage your DW.
      2. The BW/4HANA roadmap for the next 12 months shows how the gap will open very quickly.
      3. In my other blog ("Why #BW4HANA -, I've outlined to motivation for creating this new product. It describes that it constitutes the foundation for many things to come, especially as data warehouses - in general - are more and more embedded into wider big data landscapes. SAP is very active here too and the combination between BW/4HANA, HANA, VORA and Hadoop (and the like) will be extremely powerful.

      I hope this helps.


      • Thomas,

        I have to agree with Neil that it doesn't seem like there's a lot of new functionality here compared with BW 7.5 on HANA (enterprise license). Other than 'data flow modeling' what capabilities does it have that are not possible to achieve in BW 7.5 on HANA?



  • it can automatically derive which data needs to sit in the hot store (memory) and which data can be put into the warm store (disk or non-volatile RAM) to yield a more economic usage of the underlying hardware.
    - it means is there any superior way to identify data and makes sit data into Hot or warm area ? if yes.. then that same can be applied on BW 7.4/7.5 on HANA too ?

  • What are the major differences between B4HANA and BW 7.5 - I agree the delta is very small.Here are
    >Scale BW4HANA using auto in-built data temp Mgt (Hot/Warm/Cold)
    >Better Hadoop and Vora integration
    >To bring BW on Cloud SAP simplified the product. I think SAP trying to make BW platform similar to S4HANA so that they can easily scale the BW product in terms of Hardware, S/W and technology and provide clear BW roadmap along with S4HANA including Cloud (HEC,AWS, Azure) and ON-Premise.
    Example SAP delivered HANA optimized BI content as part of BI content 7.57 realse. in this SAP released only BI objects like Adv DSO and Composite providers ..etc. but they didn't fine tune the extractors.
    BW4HANA road map Q4 2016 SAP will be releasing CDS based extractors for SAP all modules. if you look at S4HANA CDS views are semantic layer for all reporting both S4HANA inbuild tools example Query builder/KPI Moduler APP or BI suite tool for all operational reports.

  • Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for this article. I have few questions
    >What is Bex Strategy with BW4HANA, Is it dead.
    >Only Hierarchy scenarios we use MDX layer otherwise always use Native SQL layer. Why SAP is not bring the universe/IDT functionality into HANA Studio or at Cal view level like folder and sub folders etc. this helps to organise the objects and also business layer is diffent from object layer the impact will be minimal if the technology changes.


  • This one and few others have been the source and inspiration for my article - - which dives a little deeper on the technical side to answer the obvious questions...
    Few question remains open in my mind:
    1. Does the latest SUM tool is now capable1 to get us to BW/4HANA?
    2. Is a comprehensive document/conversion guide on the transfer tool availabe?


  • This is really good.
    Delta between BW 7.5 to BW4HANA is very minimal. Except it is light and available on Cloud and better interaction with Hadoop and IOT.
    Real time data source:
    BW4HANA support real time through data source ODP SLT but conditions applies.
    Another real time option is HANA data sorce through open DSO with real time replication.
    In short these options are available for real time extraction, only for specific use cases not for complete EDW and Also sap is not recommending for all data extraction through real time data extraction.

    By the by SAP is working and fine tuning all the business content data sources both ERP and S4HANA which is planned as part of Q4 2016 release I hope I.e. CDS based extractors Becz CDS single point of source for all operational and strategic reporting.

    Almost all modules BW HANA optimized business content I.e. Advanced DSO and composite providers are released as part of 7.5 BI content. But not extractors.


  • One year passed since this interesting discussion started where especially Neil Hookins, Edwin Ryan and Thomas Zurek discussed the differences. I am wondering what happened in the meantime with BW/4hana and the promises that SAP started to deliver Major new functionality in BW/4hana which are a significant benefit compared to the "old" 7.5 release.

    What new functionality has been delivered in the meantime?

    Any news on this?