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Scaling up Business Warehouse with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud

With the SAP’s response to new data warehousing requirements in cloud world, we have a new good to look forward to!

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, as the name suggests, is an end-to-end warehouse solutioning in the cloud platform that is built on the powerful SAP HANA and is, together with SAP Analytics Cloud, forms part of SAP HANA Cloud Services.

Image source: https://www.sap.com/india/products/data-warehouse-cloud.html

In this blog post, we will follow the old school approach of question and answer format to understand what extra functionality this will add to our existing plate of base warehouse solution.

 

Even though there’s the possibility of B4 on cloud, why altogether a new warehouse on cloud?

Being a web-based SaaS product, it follows “pay-per-use for storage & computation”, requiring not to pay for the whole infrastructure. We would be getting all the latest updates on new releases in the news portal “SAP Data Warehouse Cloud Resources” readily available on the welcome screen. Business teams will not need to delegate tasks to IT as often but will be able to collaborate better

 

What is the hybrid potential of the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud coupled with Cross-application Analytics?

The concept of Cross-Application warehousing uses data federation as the base and helps to gain the flexibility of bringing different data sources in different formats from different applications, in the same data warehouse. It gives the flexibility to virtually connect to a variety of different source systems (SAP and non-SAP) and model data flows.

In SDWC, on top of the combined data, we can build an analytic consumption model, e.g. in SAP Analytics Cloud. Once the model is created, we can add to the Business Catalogue, refine information in the Semantic Modeler and link to existing objects. We can also set up simple tables which are then generated into the free accessible SQL schema to allow data loads by third-party ETL tools.

This way it fulfils the aim of maintaining data consistency and manage the dataset complexity all-in-one.

 

What are the different connection types available in SAP Data Warehouse Cloud?

Managed from the ‘Connections’ option available on the screen, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud has three options to support the connectivity to a variety of sources

  1. SAP HANA: Retrieves data from a remote SAP HANA database (on-premise). This connection type is enabled by SAP HANA Smart Data Integration (SDI) and its Data Provisioning Agent, which can be handled from the administration screen
  2. SAP ABAP: Retrieves data from virtual tables through RFC for ODP extractors from SAP ABAP systems (on-premise). This connection type is also enabled by SAP HANA Smart Data Integration (SDI) and its Data Provisioning Agent
  3. Generic OData: Retrieves data from an OData service

 

How does SAP Warehouse Cloud support Data Integration?

The modelling tools in the Data Builder such as the Graphical View, or the SQL View help us to combine the multiple source connections with any data source combination. If we are using remote source tables in any view, that will also be visible in the repository tab. It also supports connecting different fact or dimension views to create new models.

It can also access to third-party tools, for example via JDBC by creating an open SQL schema. Under E/R model, we can design the entities, attributes and relationships and can get the data sets associated.

Although, the DWC schema can use the open SQL schema objects but vice versa is not possible as of now.

 

What is the concept of Spaces in SAP Data Warehouse Cloud?

With the concept of Spaces, SAP has tried to combine flexibility and agility for the business while preserving the integrity of the central repository and making governance easy.

Each space tile gives information about the amount of established connections, number of members and amount of data models created in the particular space.

The virtual workspaces can be handled as independent data mart which makes space monitoring and audit logging easy with the audit view enablement option available under Administration screen

 

How are we dealing with data replication in SAP Data Warehouse Cloud while supporting federated data models?

In SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, although the query computation happens at the source level, the data can be loaded from the source and into the Hana database by turning on the ‘Use Cache’ flag under properties for the tables. Once data is copied, the queries can be executed against the local Data Warehouse Cloud Hana tables.

 

How are we keeping the cached data up to date?

The HANA Smart Data Integration feature supports real time cache update with a flowgraph. When the SDI is activated, a FlowGraph object is generated to execute the data movement. The FlowGraph also helps in performing the initial load of the data in multiple parallel chunks, move transformations and complex calculations to the views.

Although, the virtual tables cannot be cached without real-time data.

 

What are the types of access for each of the roles available for the users?

The available roles for users across the organisation can be seen under the security section. With the admin role, users can be granted roles for Story, Data Builder, Space and Connection based on the specific requirements.

 

Points to Ponder:

  • Once the connections are set up, a simple graphical data builder interface allows users to model and create their visual data flow forming the basic data layer leveraging the in-memory technique
  • The logical UI and integrated Web IDE typically simplifies the learning curve and helps the end users to bridge the gap between business and technology

With SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, we are taking the self-service analytics to a higher level without any dramatic changes in the operational analytics. A combination of SQL processing power and BW’s data governance makes it a lucrative option to explore, and experience further to gain the expertise!

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