The key element we need to explore in order to see how we can migrate ERP data into HANA is a built-in feature of the SAP system called Smart Data Integration. Smart Data Integration is a feature of HANA that administrators can use to transfer data into the SAP install with relative ease. The details of the procedure may require some basic explanation, but the process itself is as simple as we can find in any sort of system as complex as SAP.
Why Move ERP Data into HANA?
The simplest explanation is that migration allows SAP unique access to the data in order to run it through applications and get results that can be used to make decisions. Even companies that don’t want to integrate their entire data set with HANA can run their ERP data side-loaded, alongside the SAP install, and bring in the pertinent data when required. This allows a company flexibility with their data, and not having to put all their proverbial eggs into a single basket. We’ve all seen how marketing companies have to deal with huge data loads, especially when it comes to customer analysis. To integrate these systems, we just need a single large server running the ERP install and a smaller one (even potentially an SAP Cloud Server) running the SAP install. From there, the next logical step is to locate and install an SAP integration agent from the downloads available in the Service Market Place.
RepTask UI and Simple Exact Copies
Replicating a data set 1:1 based on source data located within ERP can be done using RepTask UI in a matter of minutes. The RepTask UI allows a user to quickly load in data as an exact copy of the data stored on the server as well as define whether that data will only need to be copied once or if it will need to be dynamically updated to reflect changes on the server. It’s a very streamlined system since the user only needs to fill out the initial parameters and all the rest, from the actual copying to the changes that happen after the data is initially loaded, all of these things happen under the hood, away from the user’s interaction. The data brought in will be identical to the original data in every way possible.
Going One Step Further
One-to-one copies are easy, but what about something more complex? If you’re running a search engine optimization service, you are aware of the huge amounts of data a typical search bot has to crawl through. Many SEO experts will argue that, maybe processing the data before it loads into the system, or processing data entering HANA automatically? It’s a simple matter of adding the required logic into the calculation views assigned within HANA. Once those CalcViews are executed, the data they display will already have gone through processing. Alternatively, we can process the data coming into the HANA system automatically by including our processing logic in the data provisioning layer instead of the CalcView. This second method has technical advantages to the CalcView process and may lead to better overall performance of the SAP system. A similar system to RepTask called FlowGraph UI handles transformation of loaded data.
Virtualization of ERP Data
The question will always be raised about having redundant data on the system, since this redundant data could potentially impact the system negatively. Having a backup copy of the ERP data in our HANA server allows us to reduce the workload on the ERP server itself. Additionally, having the data readily available to HANA makes it much more efficient to run queries on that data and get results in real-time. The adapter contained for loading the data into the HANA server also creates a virtual table that the system uses to run its queries. This virtual table demonstrates all the characteristics of a regular table, except the data is pulled directly from the ERP data. This abstraction allows the virtual data to be manipulated by HANA in the same way that a local table might be.
Adapting to Challenges in Integration
The process for adapting the ERP data migration to a HANA Cloud instance is simply a matter of registering the adapter to the HANA Cloud system so that our system is aware of the adapter and its connected data. Adapters can also be used for a wide variety of tasks, ranging from Logreader Adapters for use with DB2, Oracle and SQL server, ABAP adapters for extraction and table creation and, in the future, SLT adapters which change based on incoming data. The wide availability of these systems makes running a HANA install alongside ERP data a breeze.