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Why BW4HANA is still required even after Embedded BW on SAP4HANA

As a part of SAP BW team of one of the world’s largest Investment Banking organization, while designing a Flexible Real Estate Solution I had a good discussion on why do we need B4HANA. And as an outcome of those discussions we found that even after having Embedded BW in S4HANA we can’t do away with EDW.

Most of us would have for sure thought for once that Embedded BW on S4HANA would replace BW as whole and would not need BW in future. Which is kind of myth looking at the basic nature and capabilities of the EDW(Enterprise Data Warehouse). Its correct the Embedded BW can be used to support certain business processes on SAP Business Suite and S4HANA like BPC optimized. However there are many other reasons why we can’t use Embedded BW for all the EDW needs. Based on many documents and notes following are the major reasons for which it becomes obvious to use SAP BW4HANA :-

  1. As per SAP Best Practice, Embedded BW on S4HANA can’t have more than 20% of total volume of the system which in many cases defeat the purpose of EDW (Enterprise Data Warehouse).
  2. SAP does not recommend Enterprise Data Warehouse on Embedded BW considering multiple SAP applications on SAP HANA in productive environments due to expected technical issues regarding :-
    1. Upgrades & Patches
    2. Resource Allocation and capacity Planning
    3. System Management, Workload Management and Monitoring
    4. Backup & Recovery
    5. Lifecycle Management
    6. High Availability & Disaster Recovery
    7. Security
    8. Production Support Systems (Break Fix Systems) and Quality Assurance Systems
  3. Version of Embedded BW in S4HANA is SAP BW7.5 (BW on HANA) which does not cover all the innovation code line and improvements done in B4HANA. (Details covered in SAP Note 1661202)
  4. Analytic Reporting and Predictions.


Suggested Architecture looks like as follows in case we want to have Strategic as well as Operational Reporting:-

Hence, its very important to understand the need of the business and analyze properly if there is anything needed from the above mentioned points or not. In case its needed we need to go for B4HANA. If the solution is straight forward and we don’t need Analytic/Strategic reporting requirement we can go ahead with Embedded solution on S4HANA.

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      Author's profile photo Ankush Hallan
      Ankush Hallan

      Not only as an EDW , BW4HANA should be used for any analytical reporting . Embedded analytics is good for operational reporting but if you need to get conclusions on trends etc and have a big data set S4HANA embedded analytics is not recommended . I think there is more SAP needs to do on the messaging to the clients when they talk about embedded analytics .

      Author's profile photo Kuldeep Jain
      Kuldeep Jain

      Good discussion Navesh,

      At least now we have something on SAP community site from where we can start our discussion instead baseless arguments.

      Even my thoughts say Embedded analytics will mostly be good for day to day reporting. BW4/HANA will come up with lot more advantages like BPC, individual server capacity planning and many others which you mentioned in your blog, For data transformation, we can have layered architecture for functional and performance advantage. In case If S/4 HANA needs archiving of certain data, they need not depend on BW retention need.

      Author's profile photo Meiyalagan Kulandaivelu
      Meiyalagan Kulandaivelu


      Thanks for the blog and it does summarize the need for EDW. Also one thought, when we talk about embedded BW then BW & S/4 HANA share the same DB ( though both sit in different client in the application side) so cant we virtualize the S4 HANA data and add only the enrichment or data from others systems needed in the BW layer? Is it not the right approach instead of duplicating data again in EDW but with following assumptions,

      1. S4 HANA is the source of data for 70 - 80% of Reporting requirements

      2. Use HANA modeling objects to consolidate data between S4 HANA and any other system

      3. Historical reporting follows the data retention policy of S4 HANA

      4. BO used for reporting & dashboards





      Author's profile photo Marcelo Morais
      Marcelo Morais

      It would be a good idea to correct the text 'B4HANA' with 'BW/4HANA'.