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What is #BW4HANA?

New YorkBW/4HANA is an evolution of BW that is completely optimised and tailored to HANA. The BW/4HANA code can only run on HANA as it is interwoven with 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 HANA platform offers. The latter is especially important as it extends into the world of big data via 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

Less-ObjecttypesDepending 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 on 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.

Data-LifecycleAnother 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 lifecycle management.


2. Openness

SQL-OpennessBW/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 standardised way. The latter provides huge opportunities to optimise the resulting models for HANA regarding performance, footprint, data lifecycle. 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 HANA views that are can be accessed via standard SQL. BW/4HANA’s security is thereby not compromised but part of those HANA views. On the other hand, any type of 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 HANA with all the options to combine with other SQL-based tools.


3. Modern UIs

QueryDesigner_Preview_3 SAP Digital Boardroom BW/4HANA will offer modern UIs for data modeling, admin, monitoring that run in HANA Studio or a browser. In the midterm, SAPGUI will become obsolete in that respect. Similarly, SAP’s Digital Boardroom, Business Objects Cloud, Lumira, Analysis for Office and Design Studio will be the perfect match as analytic clients on top of BW/4HANA.


4. High Performance

Big-DWExcellent performance has been at the heart of BW since the advent of HANA. As elaborated above, BW/4HANA will be free of any burdens and will leverage any optimal access to HANA which will be especially interesting in the context of big data scenarios as HANA VORA offers a highly optimised “bridge” between the worlds of 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 summarises the most important selling points. It is also available as a slide.


Major BW/4HANA selling points.


This blog has been cross-published here and here. You can follow me on Twitter via @tfxz.


PS: In the meantime …

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  • 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?

    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?



    • Hi Gajendra,

      With BW4/HANA you should reconsider the complete way of thinking. You need to also the relationship to S4/HANA. BW4/HANA should carry solution that require a logical data warehouse and you would be different compared to the BW systems that are nowadays operational. Of course SAP will provide monitoring tools, using Fiori apps, for proces monitoring, but should keep in mind that BW4/HANA looks like the BW we know but in fact is really something new.

      Your 2nd question can be answered more easily. BPC models can be used as long these are embedded models.

      in the below SAP note you can read more.

      Regards JP Domen

  • Thanks Thomas for the overview. Seems like exciting times are ahead in the BW/HANA space.

    Regarding "#3. Modern UIs", will BW/4HANA require a dual installation of SAPGui and HANA Studio in version 1? Will it have a mixed implementation (HANA/ABAP) like BW 7.5?

    • Hi Hau,

      As Thomas was mentioning in his Blog SAP GUI will be obsolete for BW4/HANA. Understandable as you will only be able to use Advanced DSO's and HANA composite providers. Modeling and monitoring will use Eclipse and Fiori.

      Kind Regards

      JP Domen

  • Thanks Thomas For the Information.I have small query regarding where BW stands  in S/4 Hana.All SAP systems moved to  one data base(s/4 Hana) so  real time data avavailble always then what is the use of BW Loadings?

    • Hi Venkat,

      Partly I agree with your way of thinking, but there will still be business requirements that require a logical data warehouse. It would not advisable to use your S4/HANA system to meet these requirements. For example you can still have multiple source systems or you want to keep long term historic data on a aggregated level.

      Kind Regards,

      JP Domen

    • Hi Venkat,

      let me simply point you to this blog: S/4HANA and Data Warehousing. It describes the difference between operational analytics - as you can do it when you work on data from one single system only and, thus, can do it inside that system itself; se S/4 - and a data warehouse. BW/4HANA is a product for the latter case.



  • Thanks a lot for information . I have a query . when it is mentioned ABAP is several millions of lines of code smaller, does it mean , we are moving towards NO ABAP code base , SQL centric code base?

    • Hi Prasad,

      well, less ABAP is a consequence of the fact that more processing is moved from the application server (running ABAP code) to HANA (SQL, libs, engines). Another reason for less ABAP is the reduction of object types and that there is no code there any more for classic DBs and legacy stuff like BEx.

      It is not an ideologic move but a pragmatic one.



  • Hi,

    The official newsletter refers to cloud environments and even AWS as a vendor oftenly.

    I see this as a matter of strategy based on the trending concept of the market.

    It's not a must eventually. Always a good option but can not be evaluated as better than others or a must have.

    What do you think?

  • Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for sharing this very interesting new innovation in the analytics space.  I have two questions for you:

    1.  As part of the "Openness" described in Point 2 above, are there any plans to provide an open API to allow data access from BW/4HANA, for developing custom analytical apps that can take advantage of important BW-specific features such as hierarchies, variables, conditions and exceptions for example?

    2.  In Point 3 ("Modern UIs"), you have included Design Studio as one of the analytic clients that will be "a perfect match...on top of BW/4HANA".  While BW data sources are a strongly supported feature of Design Studio and the combination of BW with S4HANA is documented, will there be any new Design Studio features introduced in future that are specifically intended to take advantage of  BW/4HANA?



  • Hi,

    Another question related to the comparison with BW on HANA;

    I already use new modelling objects such as advanced DSO, composite provider, open ODS view etc. with BW on HANA 7.4 or 7.5. It also works in the manner of simplicity, openness, modern interface and high performance.

    What will BW/4HANA provide other then these new modelling concept in short term?

    I see that, future innovations will focus on BW/4HANA but what about the current status?


    • Hi Erdem,

      in the short term, you might want to look at BW/4HANA's data flow modeler which constitutes a new form of navigating through all your DW models (both, analytic and data management related). As such, it's more than a viable alternative to DW/admin workbench (RSA1) but a new paradigm.

      You are on the right course if you work with the new, modern object types only. Moving the DW/BW community towards that is one of the big goals of BW/4HANA. You seem to have done that step already. Great.



      • Hi Erdem

        this is a very good question "What will BW/4HANA provide other then these new modelling concept in short term?"

        I am still not getting the point of differences, for BW developers, between 7.5 and BW/4HANA. We are using BW7.5 powered by HANA, with ADSO etc. Eclipse etc.

        So what is now new / different? Link to ERP? Data sources ? Data Flow.

        Thomas, you mentioned the new data flow modeler. Can you provide some links / details.

        Would be great!


        • Hi Ralf,

          for the data flow modeler have a look at this blog "Data Modeling in #BW4HANA".

          Admittingly and today (comparing BW 7.5 SP4 and BW/4HANA 1.0 SP0), the biggest difference is the data flow modeler. However - and if you are set for a midterm vision and ambition - the biggest difference is the roadmap and the underlying foundation that has been created with BW/4HANA. A huge topic will be the integration of an RDBMS-based DW - like BW/4HANA - into a big data landscape with Hadoop, Spark, VORA etc.



        • 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.

  • Hi All,

    We need clarify on SAP Data extractor side both real time and batch process, In short one/two consistent approaches for all SAP products including S4HANA with BW4HANA which is missing. see the examples.

    • Transferring Data with an SAP HANA Source System
      • SDA
      • SDA with Smart Data Integrator for real time
    • Transferring Data Using Operational Data Provisioning

    ODP Options.PNG



    ODP Options.PNG
  • Hi,

    I want share BO point of view. S4HANA with Embedded Analytics has multiple options.

    CDS view's are common semantic Layer.

    S4HANA operational reporting options.

    • Fiori -> OData through SAP Gateway.
    • KPI Modeling App OData through SAP Gateway.
    • Multi Dimensional Analysis (0Analysis)  -> BICS i.e. SQLDB

    • Business Objects Suite the following tools use MDX Query. Internally S4HANA CDS views create Transit providers and Bex Queries in Embedded BW system.
      • Lumira
      • Design Studio
      • Analysis for office

    I think with BW4HANA SAP will be replacing the Transit provider with Composite providers and also releasing the common connector i.e. HTTP INA.

    Eventually SAP S4HANA/BW4HANA will be having two connector through Net-Weaver stack

    • OData that provides data in JSON file format through SAP Gateway (Fiori and Business Cook-pits)
    • HTTP INA i.e. XML for Analysis that provides multi dimensional data in XML format ( Business Objects Suite and OAnalysis ).

    HTTP INA  can be used on Net-weaver MDX or  Native HANA.

    BW4HANA - BEX Query/Composite Provider/Adv DSO data can be read through HTTP INA and also we can use same technology on top of Cal View and Analytical views.



  • Hi Thomas -

    Can you please point me to some specific documentation around BW4HANA and Big data ( Hadoop Integration ) does it there any step by step guide..right now most of the blogs just talk that this integration is much smoother and possible via DLM or SDI..but do we have some more detailed information ?


  • Hi all,
    There is confusion about BPC support for BW4HANA.

    Note 2189708 states clearly that:

    SAP BW/4HANA does not yet support planning functionality which is included in SAP BW as part of SAP NetWeaver (of course SAP plans to add this functionality later).

    Then it lists which add ons suported in which platform:

    Either in BW4HANA or in SAP BW/4HANA Starter Add-On (which is not BW4HANA, I think BW 7.5)

    For BPC, It says:
    SAP BPC 10.1 Planning embedded model is supported with SAP BW/4HANA Starter Ann-on after implementing SAP Note 2373204
    So I interpret that either embedded or standard model does not work with BW4HANA according to the  clear message at the begging of the note.

    Moreover, in roadmap slides, we can see that standar or/and embedde BPC support is in future plans.