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Author's profile photo Elangovan Nagavel

Demystifying SAP S/4HANA Embedded BW

This blog post is a continuation of my previous blog post on Embedded analytics. Here I will explain about the Embedded BW with its architecture and use cases. There is a lot of misconceptions about the Embedded BW in S/4HANA. Many customers and non-BW consultants think that S4 Embedded BW could replace a standalone BW as an enterprise data warehouse solution. Though embedded BW supports all native functionalities of the BW system i.e. technically we can set up an enterprise data warehouse solution using Embedded BW, it is not recommended to use it as a full-blown EDW solution.

Embedded BW system was introduced in SAP ERP from NetWeaver 7.0 version to support operational reporting. So, this embedded BW can be found in all NetWeaver based systems like Solman, CRM systems. It’s one of the core components in Embedded Analytics. Below are some of the use cases of Embedded BW.

  1. Cross module operational reporting to support all day to day analytical needs of an organization.
  2. By architecture BPC need a BW managed schema to run, thus Embedded BW serves as the base for BPC Optimized for S4/HANA.
  3. Financial consolidation in S/4HANA is carried out through Real-Time Consolidation in older versions and Group Reporting in newer versions. These solutions run on top of Embedded BW.
  4. ETL Scenarios. These requests should be handled with great care since it is not recommended to use Embedded BW for data warehouse scenarios.

Reasons to not use Embedded BW for Enterprise Data Warehouse needs: (will add more as I come across)

  1. SAP Best practice is to not persist more than 20% of overall data volume in Embedded BW. The persisted data may include,
    1. Data from the planning application
    2. Data from own SAP applications.
    3. Data from external applications used for planning and consolidation
    4. Data from external applications for reporting purposes.
  2. Embedded BW is of version BW 7.5 powered by HANA and probably won’t be upgraded to BW/4HANA. Since all new innovations will be introduced in BW/4HANA only, it’s always better to maintain a separate Data Warehouse solution.
  3. OLTP(S/4HANA) systems are built with keeping Scale-up scenarios in mind. But the OLAP system should support scale-out to accommodate ever-growing data volume and processing needs.
  4. Apart from the scale-up / scale-out scenarios, there are a lot more characteristics disparities between the OLTP and OLAP systems as below.
    1. Resource management such as processes, background jobs, data tiering, etc
    2. Authorization concepts
    3. Backup and restore
    4. Frequency of upgrades and patches
    5. Maintenance activities
    6. Clustering mechanisms to support high availability and disaster recovery

License Information

  • Embedded BW component is shipped along with the S/4HANA application with no additional license cost. The BI contents can be activated like the standard BW activation.
  • However, the additional components like BPC Optimized for S/4HANA, RTC, Group reporting which uses Embedded BW needs a separate license.

Client settings for Embedded BW

Embedded BW can either be set up in the same client as S/4HANA or a separate client. This can be maintained in the RSADMINA table. Choosing between these options is based on the use cases of Embedded BW. When BPC / RTC / Consolidation is to be used, it is better to maintain the BW in separate client to avoid performance issues. Same way for ETL scenarios where the data is persisted in BW it is advisable to maintain BW in a different client. If the embedded BW is to be used only for the standard use case of Embedded analytics (operational reporting) without much data persistence, it can be maintained in the same client as S/4HANA.

 Embedded BW Architecture

In general, even though we are provided with a powerful data warehouse framework to build an EDW solution it is not advisable to do so. It is always beneficial to maintain a standalone data warehouse for enterprise analytics needs. In this way, we can house kind of future requirements without affecting the transaction system.

Kindly correct me if my understanding of these concepts is wrong and please add your points in the comments section.

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      16 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Stephanie Bobik
      Stephanie Bobik

      Can you please elaborate in what way Embedded BW is one of the core component of Embedded Analytics?

      Author's profile photo Willem Lourens
      Willem Lourens

      a well explained useful blog thanks.

      I activated Embedded BW in the same client as S/4HANA, but now need to do a local client copy of this client.  Is there extra steps involved due to the embedded BW activation, please help?

      Author's profile photo Elangovan Nagavel
      Elangovan Nagavel
      Blog Post Author

      Hi,

      Since these are all configurations activities, while you are doing the client copy the embedded BW configurations should also be moved to the new environment. Please update if that's not the case.

      Elango.

      Author's profile photo Baljinder Nagra
      Baljinder Nagra

      Thanks for the blog - I'm reading up on a lot of blogs/documentations right now trying to get a clear understanding on what is included and not included for "Embedded Analytics in S4".  My understanding is that "Embedded Analytics" is just a concept/toolset of enabling Real Time operational reporting in S4.  "Embedded BW" is one of the tools in the toolset that enables Embedded Analytics - but is not necessarily 1 equals the other.  Is that fair to say?

       

      Furthermore - and more specifically regarding Planning scenarios - if I want to take advantage of standard analytics apps for Embedded Analytics (leveraging Embedded BW objects) - if I dont want BPC Optimized for S4 HANA - but simply import Plan data for consumption in Embedded analytics apps - can I by-pass BPC optimized for S4HANA and import directly to ACDOCP table for example?  Or if I want plan data in standard operational reports apps I must activate a baseline version of BPC in my S4 instance?

       

      Thanks for any thoughts on above 2 - I am not reading anywhere exactly some of the phrasing above so I think it might help a lot of people out there....cheers!

       

      BJN

      Author's profile photo Elangovan Nagavel
      Elangovan Nagavel
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Nagra,

      Answer to your first query is, as said Embedded BW is one of the components to support Embedded Analytics. Embedded BW has a vast user case than just supporting embedded analytics. For example, in a recent Native HANA Modelling - BO project there was a requirement for a Payroll report that shows data similar to PC_PAYRESULT in S4. Since these data are stored in cluster table we had difficulty in replicating the same report using Native HANA modelling. As a workaround, we activated the payroll data source and loaded the payroll data on a periodic basis into a custom ADSO, which was used to build the report in ADSO.

      Regarding the second query, SAP has provided a set to analytical apps to analyse plan/actual data. These apps work on the BEX queries which is available in the BPC content bundle for S4. SAP has also provided a standard app to import the plan data directly in ACDOCP. So if you want to utilize the SAP's standard apps, the BPC components must be activated in the S4 system. If you are planning to create custom CDS views to access the ACDOCP table and call it in analytical apps, the BPC components can be ignored.

      Below are the links for apps related to planning.

      Import Financial Plan Data

      Analytical Apps for Management Accounting Use

       

      Elangovan

      Author's profile photo Michael Eidler
      Michael Eidler

      Hello,

       

      would anybody know, if embedded bw can be used with s4/hana 1809 and higher releases (always keeping in mind the 20 percent restriction)? The background of the question is, that with release 1809 the netweaver platform gets substituted by the abap platform and we are not sure if embedded bw will still work.

       

      Best regards

       

      Michael

      Author's profile photo Elangovan Nagavel
      Elangovan Nagavel
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Michael,

      Embedded BW is available in both S4 1909 and S4 2020.

       

      Regards,

      Elango

      Author's profile photo Michael Eidler
      Michael Eidler

      Thank you very much for your reply.

      I know that "Embedded BW" is available. But the question is, if it is just there to support certain S4-native processes like financial planning in S4 or can it still be used as data warehouse, keeping the 20% data volume rule in mind.

      One restriction I found out, if I got it right,, is that the Business Content can't be used anymore for the embedded BW.

      Does anybody use "Embedded BW" as a data warehouse in one of the versions (1909 or 2020)?

       

      Regards,

      Michael

      Author's profile photo Elangovan Nagavel
      Elangovan Nagavel
      Blog Post Author

      Yes, it supports both SFIN Planning and can be used as a data warehouse. Have tested it in 1909.

      But I had few issues in activating the SFIN contents in 2020 which I have raised to SAP for clarifications. However, a data warehouse use case can be implemented in 2020.

       

      Regards,

      Elango

      Author's profile photo Michael Eidler
      Michael Eidler

      Thank you very much for your answer, Elango!

       

      Regards,

       

      Michael

      Author's profile photo Sunil A
      Sunil A

      Nice Blog Elangovan Nagavel, for S/4 Hana Embedded BW.

      I have some query regarding Embedded BW and Standard data sources like 0FI_GL_14 or 2LIS_13_VDITM.

      We are using S/4 Hana system 1909. One of our old clients on ECC is now upgraded to S/4 Hana. My question is can we still use old data sources like 0FI_GL_14 or 2LIS_13_VDITM or any other data sources normally used in classic BW system in S/4 Hana system to make Cubes, DSO or queries on top of it.  As all the queries made in old system are base on these standard BW data sources.

      We do not have separate BW and S/4 Client.

      Regards
      Sunil

       

      Author's profile photo Elangovan Nagavel
      Elangovan Nagavel
      Blog Post Author

      Yes, you can create a source system in Embedded BW pointing to the S4 client and use the standard data sources to build a custom data flow. However please keep a check on the volume of data stored in the embedded BW.

      I have implemented the same scenario with payroll data sources in S4 1909.

       

      Regards,

      Elango

       

      Author's profile photo Sunil A
      Sunil A

      Thanks Elangovan.

      I was told that for that we need separate BW and S/4 Hana client.

      Also, read some where always better to maintain a separate Data Warehouse solution.

      In Source system connection we are using.

       

      De we need to connect to ODP-BW or any other source system

      Volume of data is high as it is for last 7 years since client is on ECC system.

      Author's profile photo Elangovan Nagavel
      Elangovan Nagavel
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Sunil,

      I would prefer not to store the 7 years of data in Embedded BW. Rather you can create new custom ABAP reports to replicate the old reports. Also, check on the query browser views which are part of Embedded analytics.

      But if the client still prefers to use the embedded BW, please create a new client for Embedded BW.

      You can create an ODP-SAP Source system for this.

      Author's profile photo Chun Him Koo
      Chun Him Koo

      Hi Elangovan,

      Thank You for the wonderful explanation.

      We have set up the Embedded BW in a separate client from S/4HANA. My question is: Can I still use the pre-delivered embedded analytics components like "SFIN Planning , /ERP/SFIN Queries" in the BW Client?

      Because those objects are virtually built on HANA views pointing to the underlying client. But in the BW client, I do not have any data. So I need to go back to the S/4HANA client to use those objects to generate reports? or there is any config that I can set to pointing the virtual objects in BW Client to the S/4HANA client?

      Thank You.

      Author's profile photo Kai Möller
      Kai Möller

      Hallo zusammen,

      kann mir jemand kurz erläutern, was es mit Berücksichtigung der 20% Datenvolumen-Regel auf sich hat?

      Geht man da von einem Durchschnittswert X und davon 20 % aus, 20 % von 10 TB ist ja was anderes als 20 % von 100 GB.

      Hat das Ganze lizenzrechtliche Bedeutung?

      Danke schon mal