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SAP HANA Data Strategy

Overview

As database and business analytics professionals we have always struggled with implementing the business’s conceptual data model and analytics strategy given the limitations of traditional database technologies.  We understand the data and the many attributes that allow us to view the data from many angles, but the traditional database technologies did not allow us to create very wide tables and limited the number of ways we could access the data.  These limitations then drove the models to have multiple copies of data summarized for specific use cases.  All of these traditional database limitations lead us to create very complex models for solving quite straight forward problems.  The complexity of the data models then created limited flexibility and tremendous latency.

I would equate this to an artist or a designer that have a big idea, but they are limited to using eight and half by eleven pieces of paper and then only allowed to show particular segments of their design like putting a limited number of well-designed empty toilet paper rolls on their designs for viewing.  They end up spending most of their time taping the pieces of paper together or moving the toilet rolls around and spend a small fraction of their time actually working on the art or design.

The beauty of working on a SAP HANA Data Strategy is it is like giving the same artist or designer a high-tech piece of paper that will automatically expand to any width or any length and allowing viewers to see everything all at once. In this way they can spend their entire time getting their ideas on the paper and knowing that the consumer of the art will be able to view the entire piece from any point of view or any angle they wish.

In this ongoing series of Blogs and videos we will be covering all aspects of SAP HANA Data Strategy including:

  • SAP HANA Virtual Data Modeling
  • SAP HANA Data Ingestion
  • SAP HANA Data Architecture
  • SAP HANA Data Consumption

We will also continuously add content to cover these concepts deeper and wider than ever before and we will strive to keep the content current by covering new features as releases of SAP HANA evolve. Throughout this series you will learn how easy it is to actually implement these concepts and discover what SAP means by “Run Simple”.

 

HANA Virtual Data Modeling

Product: SAP HANA 2.0 SP04

Feature: HANA Virtual Data Modeling

Why talk about HANA Virtual Data Modeling and why now???

  • It is what is driving real-time analytics while lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the solution
  • Customers need a deeper understanding of the newer HANA HDI features
  • There are no comprehensive HANA virtual modeling sources
  • Virtual modeling is at the heart of HANA Intelligent Digital Business Platform solution

Driving real-time analytics while lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the solution

Once customers begin to adopt all of the HANA virtual data modeling features, they will drive out all of the latency from their traditional approaches to analytics, creating a true real-time environment and at the same time significantly lower the TCO of the solution by eliminating the need for tradition ETL, change data capture, data streaming and modeling infrastructures.  The real-time aspect of this solution means that as soon as an event (order, meter reading, phone call) occurs anywhere in any system in a company’s enterprise, the HANA Intelligent Digital Business Platform will analyze and deliver insight based on that event to the business.

Customers need a deeper understanding of the HANA HDI feature

With many customers planning their HANA 1.0 to HANA 2.0 upgrades, some are uninformed on the topic of the newer HANA Deployment Infrastructure (HDI).  They need to understand that support for the original HANA schemas and calculation views now referred to as “HANA Classic” are still supported in HANA 2.0 SPS4 and the next release SPS05.  They also need a better understanding of exactly what HDI is, so they will have less fear about eventually migrating their existing DB artifacts to HDI and developing new DB artifacts in HDI to take advantage of the newer HANA features.

There are no comprehensive HANA virtual modeling sources

HANA data modeling is specifically referring to the modeling of any HANA artifacts that design:

  • Data,
  • Data access, and
  • Data ingestion into HANA.

Data artifacts such as tables and HANA CDS views.  Data access artifacts such as database views, calculation views, or stored procedures.  As well as HANA Enterprise Information Management (EIM) and HANA streaming artifacts such as Smart Data Access (SDA) virtual tables and Smart Data Integration (SDI) flow-graphs and SDI replication tasks and Smart Data Streaming (SDS) streaming jobs.

Many of these topics have been discussed but very seldom if ever are they all covered as the single comprehensive solution which the HANA Intelligent Digital Business Platform solution provides.

We are not covering any HANA application modeling such as JAVA, SAP UI5 and Fiori GUI front ends.

Virtual modeling is at the heart of HANA

HANA virtual data modeling as it is referred to here, is primarily HANA virtual calculation view (CV) modeling.  This database modeling is at the heart of the HANA real-time data analytics.  It is used on many layers of the data access structure performing tasks such as:

  • User created self-service reporting,
  • Business analytics,
  • Creation of business objects from standard application tables, and
  • Enterprise wide harmonization of data from different back-end silos

The fact that all these layers are virtual models is what gives HANA the ability to deliver real-time business analytics without incurring the tremendous latency created by traditional extract transform and load (ETL) processes.

HANA Virtual Data Modeling Detailed Overview

https://blogs.sap.com/2019/11/14/sap-hana-data-strategy-hana-data-modeling-a-detailed-overview/

 

HANA Data Ingestion

Product: SAP HANA 2.0 SP04

Feature: HANA EIM (SDA/SDI/SDQ), HANA SDS

HANA data ingestion can be accomplished by using multiple HANA technologies that are batch and real-time synchronization oriented that included advanced real-time database transaction replication, messaging and application level change data capture.  HANA data ingestion can also be accomplished by many other SAP and non-SAP technologies that are not covered in the BLOG link below.

  • Virtual data access
  • Batch data movement:
    • Batch data movement of applications, models, tables and data using HDI schema export/import
    • Batch data movement using Smart Data Access and SQL commands
    • Batch data movement and transformation using a HANA SDI Flowgraph
    • Batch load of external data lake data into the HANA Data Lake
    • New virtual table snapshot and virtual table replication features
  • Real-time data synchronization:
    • New virtual table snapshot and virtual table replication features
    • HANA SDI real-time database transaction replication using the classic workbench replication task tool
    • HANA SDI WebIDE HDI schema replication task and PowerDesigner demo
    • HANA SDI application level real-time replication using ABAP ODP/ODQ adapter with a WebIDE replication task
    • HANA Smart Data Streaming real-time message ingestion and analytics

HANA data ingestion includes many ways of accessing data virtually which allows simple and immediate access to data across the entire enterprise and internet.  HANA data ingestion also includes the ability to ingest part of a data set or the entire data set into the HANA data architecture for temporary or permanent access.  HANA data ingestion also includes real-time change data capture from database transactions, applications and streaming data.

HANA Data Strategy: Data Ingestion including Real-Time Change Data Capture

https://blogs.sap.com/2020/06/18/hana-data-strategy-data-ingestion-including-real-time-change-data-capture/?update=updated

Virtual Data Access

  • Immediate access to all the enterprise data,
  • Simple, easy and efficient harmonization of all enterprise data,
  • Secure and governed access to data,
  • Significant lower time to deliver new advanced insights to the business, and
  • Lower total cost of ownership of the entire solution.

 

 

https://blogs.sap.com/2020/03/09/hana-data-strategy-data-ingestion-virtualization/

 

HANA Data Architecture

Product: SAP HANA 2.0 SP04

Feature: HANA NSE, HANA Extension Nodes, HANA Dynamic Tiering, SAP IQ

The HANA data architecture is based on a pure columnar database architecture that allows customers to simply implement data models as wide and as deep as they need them to be.  Allowing many solutions to be derived from a single real-time but holistic view of the data while lowering the total cost of ownership of the solution.

  • Agile (time to deliver)
    • Technology supports the ability to quickly adapt to the needs of the business.
    • Respond to business requests in a timely fashion.
    • Days or hour not weeks or months.
  • One copy of the truth (minimize data duplication)
    • Store the seed level data and operate directly against it
    • Copies of data introduce risk and are prone to error
    • Aggregation of data reduces value as details are lost
  • Run-Live (real-time)
    • Data has a time-based value
    • Data loses value as time passes
    • Business gains agility by being able to respond to current data

 

HANA Data Architecture: HANA Data Tiering

https://blogs.sap.com/2020/02/12/hana-data-strategy-hana-data-tiering/

HANA Data Consumption

Product: SAP HANA 2.0 SP04

Feature: SAP Analytics Cloud

We will examine how to deliver the enterprise analytic models to visualization tools while doing all of the heavy lifting analytical processing of the data at the SAP Intelligent Digital Business Platform level.

 

In Conclusion

We have briefly covered the landscape of what we are calling the “HANA Data Strategy”.  In future blog posts will fill in the details for each of these sections with detailed presentations explaining each of these features with their business benefits and demos showing exact how to implement them.  Links to these additional blog posts will then be added to this blog post which will act as a table of contents to all of the material.

 

To start using SAP HANA today

Drop a question below if you want to learn more.

Want to start using SAP HANA today?

Check out SAP HANA Service homepage  on the SAP Cloud Platform site

Checkout our developer editions of SAP HANA, express edition at SAP or any major cloud environment:

SAP HANA, express edition | SAP Store

and contact your SAP Account Executive!

5 Comments
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  • Douglas,

    Great one-stop-shop resource to illustrate SAP’s data management strategy. Thank you for authoring.

    A consistent theme throughout this blog any many of the new SAP Cloud Platform offerings (HANA Cloud and Data Warehouse Cloud) in this space they rely heavily on federated data models. Either via Smart Data Integration (SDA) or Smart Data Integration (SDI). One challenge I see in adopting this strategic technology is securing these data models. Many times these rich data sources, like legacy BW systems, have a complex authorization models securing these data sets. If you decide to federate these data sets to a virtualized data model in something like HANA Cloud all that data is exposed via a single service account. This invalidates that rich authorization model in the source. You are then tasked with engineering a brand new authorization model in the new federated data management platform.

    QUESTION: Are there any plans to maintain that rich authorization model from the source in the new data model via a principal propagation mechanism?

     

  • Hi Scott

    Thanks for the thank you.  As I stress in most of my overviews, the HANA environment is a very secure and well governed environment.  In the SDA demo (https://video.sap.com/media/t/0_ybvhn6cp)  I cover the fact that when we access remote data we can do that multiple ways: a single technical user connect which can then be securely governed with analytic privileges at the HANA access level or through secondary credentials in which we map HANA users ids to remote user ids to maintain security.

    For your specific example, using the SAP applications like ECC, S4 or BW, those applications have the ability to generate HANA Analytic Privileges and User IDs to maintain their configured “complex authorization models” security even when users are accessing the data directly at the HANA level.

    From a best practices point of view we would never let “that data is exposed via a single service account”.  We would always maintain the applications security setup even at the database access level.

    You bring up a great point and I will add security models to my list of future Blogs. I have a few HANA Cloud and Data Warehouse Cloud specific topics and then I will have to update everything for SP05 also.

    Thanks again for the thank you.

    Doug Hoover

    • Douglas Hoover

      Can you point me to any reading material about that paragraph? I might need it in one of my next projects – A S/4Hana should be accessed via SQL. How to login to the S/4 underlying database with the same user as the ABAP system etc

      ECC, S4 or BW, those applications have the ability to generate HANA Analytic Privileges and User IDs to maintain their configured “complex authorization models” security even when users are accessing the data directly at the HANA level.

      Would appreciate any pointers, thanks!

    • Thank you for the response, Doug.

      “ability to generate HANA Analytic Privileges and User IDs” –

      While using SDA to connect to BW from the native HANA box how will we generate the HANA analytic privileges if both BW and Native HANA are independent systems? I believe this is possible only with if BW is running on the same HANA DB

      In our case, both BW and HANA are independent systems. As of now when we enable SDA connection there is open access to all tables/calc views. All this access is enabled for the SDA connection user.

    • Hello,

       

      Nice blogs, thanks for the global view

      Unfortunattely, the link to the video does not seem to be usable : we are redirected to a standard welcome SAP site.

      Could you please correct it ?

      Thanks

      Best regards

      Stephane Cottier