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Author's profile photo Frank Riesner

Run Modes of SAP BW Streaming Process Chains

Dear SAP BW enthusiasts!

Recently, one of my customers asked me for possible approaches to implement real-time reporting. During preparation my research also covered “Streaming Process Chains” with surprising results. For this reason I thought it would be a good idea to share “one of the best kept secrets of BW functionality” here in the SAP community.

This blog post will focus on the streaming process chain run modes and provides URLs to additional sources in the end. I use the general term “SAP BW” which refers to both SAP BW 7.5 and SAP BW/4HANA (any release).

 

In general, acquiring data as fast as possible should not be regarded as first choice. Instead, SAP recommends leveraging virtualization and data federation wherever possible. In combination with SAP HANA, BW provides multiple suitable modeling options, mainly based on SAP HANA integration services (SDA, SDI), SAP HANA modeling options (Calculation Views), and Open ODS Views or CompositeProviders as virtual InfoProviders on the BW application side.

Only if these approaches do not meet your business requirements, loading data in “real-time” into SAP BW should be evaluated as a serious alternative. Introduced long ago in 2006 with NetWeaver 7.0, “Real-Time Data Acquisition (RDA)” was the related concept for InfoCubes and DSOs (classic). However, with the introduction of ADSOs, SAP decided to retire RDA and to enhance the existing framework of process chains instead.

Streaming is an operation mode of BW process chains which can be set in the properties of each process chain. When a process chain is running, each step takes a certain amount of time; the interesting question is what actually happens, when the chain is started again -maybe even several times- during this period, and the execution reaches the process which is already active from a previous execution:

  • A classic process chain is scheduled in the background. Then the second execution waits 10 minutes for the previous execution to complete. If the previous run is not completed within this period, the second execution is canceled, the process chain is interrupted and fails with an error.
  • A process chain in streaming mode is executed using a new Queued Task Manager Framework. This enables a flexible number of “worker” jobs that get the next process from a queue. If a second, third, and further execution reaches the current active process, these requests to start this process once more are written to a queue only. No more resources are used, and the system does not wait. As soon as the current process is finished, the worker job receives all of these start requests for a given process and restarts the process just once: It takes the most recent chain execution from the queue and executes it. This means that the second and third chain executions are dropped, and only the most recent chain execution is continued.

In a nutshell, the main value-added the Streaming mode is that it facilitates the frequent data transfer from a source system to SAP BW without scheduling errors and without unreasonable waste of resources. As a result, data can be acquired in SAP BW in almost real-time. It is not 100% real-time, because the realistic latency is measured in minutes in the best case. So do not expect latency times of milliseconds to seconds which are common in SAP SLT replication scenarios for example.

In general, there are different run modes to be distinguished: A Push and two Pull run modes. The main difference between them is whether the consuming system or the source system is triggering the data transfer.

A) The PUSH Run Mode

Main Characteristics:
SAP BW receives a trigger from a so-called ODP Daemon in the source system if a new record is generated there. This event starts the immediate execution of the process chain which transfers the new data to the SAP BW InfoProvider.
This is the preferred mode for ODP sources, because the process chain runs only when new data is available in the source. The process chain is scheduled once in streaming mode, the definition of periodic repetitions is not required.
The daemon has to be scheduled as regular job ODQ_DAEMON_CLIENT_xxx in the SAP source system (tr. ODQMON, GoTo/Real-Time Daemon…). By default scheduling, It checks all 15 sec for updates and sends an event to BW if there are any.

Preconditions:

  1. This mode is only available for ODP DataSources of types SAP Extractors, ABAP CDS Views, BW InfoProviders and SLT.
  2. Another precondition is that DataSources are Delta-capable:
    • ODP_SAP or ODP_CDS: The delta-capability is dependent on the implementation.
    • ODP_BW: The delta-capability depends on the source InfoProvider. Supported sources are DSOs (classic), InfoCubes and ADSOs.
    • ODP_SLT: All DataSources are delta-capable in general.
  3. Finally, the DataSources need to support Streaming (“Streaming can be triggered by this DataSoure“):
      • ODP_CDS, ODP_BW, ODP_SLT: All delta-capable DataSources support this property by default.
      • ODP_SAP: This property depends on the individual implementation of the extractor. For example, LO Cockpit DataSources (2LIS_*) are generally not streaming-enabled due to their complexity (e.g. due to the queued delta), but other SAP delivered DataSources might support this feature. However, most of the SAP delivered DataSources are not streaming-enabled in the delivered version. There are some corrections provided (see SAP notes 1692484, 1780297, 1782173), but in most of the cases so-called Realtime-flag has to be set manually in the SAP source system (e.g. by a customer report updating ROOSOURCE-REALTIME to value ‘X’, see also SAP note 905089, which is not released currently and so SAP internal only). However, consider that this makes only sense for DataSources which are able to provide new data in real time, which means a delta is available at every point of time.
        Customer developed DataSources do not have this property initially as well. It must be enabled explicitly in the DataSource definition (Tr. RSO2). The corresponding property is called Real-Time enabled and is available in the customizing settings for the Delta mode.Note: In some BW 7.5 systems the parameter might have a different name due to the reference to RDA. But from the a BW Streaming Process Chain perspective the same is meant by “Realtime” – “Realtime Data Acquisition Supported“.

B) The Intelligent PULL Run Mode

Main Characteristics:
SAP BW checks very frequently (each 60 seconds) if a new record is generated in the source. If this check is successful, the process chain is started immediately to transfer the new data to the target InfoProvider. The process chain is scheduled once in streaming mode, the definition of periodic repetitions is not required.
This is the preferred mode for HANA sources, because the process chain runs only when new data is available in the source system.

Preconditions:

  1. This mode is available for HANA DataSources only.
  2. The DataSources need to be Delta-capable.
  3. If the source system type is HANA_LOCAL or HANA_MDC (BW/4HANA) / HANA with connection type “Local SAP HANA Database Schema” (BW 7.5), check additional requirements in SAP note 2372534.
  4. If the source system type is HANA_SDA (BW/4HANA) / HANA with connection type “SAP HANA Smart Data Access” (BW 7.5), it is important which type of remote connection is in use:
    • SAP HANA Smart Data Access (SDA) does not support this run mode in general.
    • SAP HANA Smart Data Integration (SDI): The intelligent PULL mode is available only for adapters which support “Real-time Change Data Capture” as documented in the PAM functional overview of SAP HANA SDI 2.0 (pages 20-22). Currently those are: ASEAdapter, ASEECCAdapter, DB2ECCAdapter, DB2ECCLogReaderAdapter, MssqlECCAdapter, MssqlLogReaderAdapter, OracleECCAdapter, OracleLogReaderAdapter, PostgresSQLLogReaderAdapter, HanaAdapter, TeradataAdapter, AbapAdapter, CloudDataIntegrationAdapter and TwitterAdapter.

In a nutshell, the SDI adapter replicates each change to a generated BW table (/BIC/CMT*) in real-time. You can identify this table in the BW DataSource definition, there is a button called SAP HANA objects. This is the location the streaming process chain checks for new data regularly.

Note: For BW DataSources related to source system HANA_* the Streaming property is always off (“Streaming cannot be triggered by this DataSource“). Do not be confused – I was confused myself quite a long time…it seems like this property only refers to the PUSH mode and thus to ODP sources.

C) The Scheduled PULL Run Mode
Main Characteristics:
SAP BW executes a process chain which leverages the streaming framework, no matter if there are new data in the source or not.  The Streaming process chain is scheduled as a periodic job and it can be executed very frequently if required (up to each minute). If there are updates available, they will be loaded immediately to SAP BW. On the other hand, if there is no new data, then an empty request is created in the target InfoProvider.
This is the preferred mode, if the source is receiving streaming data, e.g. a record each second. In this case the PUSH or intelligent PULL would not be able to process the new data in the same speed toward SAP BW. So this simple frequent scheduling could be most efficient approach.

 

Preconditions:

  1. This mode is available for ODP DataSources which are not streaming-enabled.
  2. This mode is also available for HANA DataSources which rely on SAP HANA SDA, or they are based on SAP HANA SDI connections which do not support “Real-time Change Data Capture” (all adapters which are not listed above).
  3. Another precondition is that the DataSource is Delta-capable.

Note: The fact that the preconditions the PUSH mode (A) or the Intelligent PULL mode (B) are not met, does not mean, that you cannot run process chains in streaming mode. You can still leverage the queued task manager framework to run them with high frequency for Delta-capable DataSources. In this case, the process chain needs to be scheduled as a periodic job to pull data from the source in up to 1 minute frequency, instead of the process chain being triggered only when new source data is available.

D) Appendix: Special Mode for Write Interface-enabled ADSOs 


Main Characteristics:
As described in my separate blog, there is a new SAP BW/4HANA write interface which enables SAP and non-SAP tools to provision data directly into an ADSO comparable the web service source system in BW 7.x . Technically, the data is pushed into the ADSO inbound table and the data can be processed from there by BW/4HANA standard means.
If this ADSO requires an activation process, this activity can be triggered automatically by means of a Process Chain in ‘Streaming’ mode, because this process chain can be triggered (started) as soon as a request in the inbound queue is closed.

 

Preconditions:

  1. Release SAP BW/4HANA 2.0 or higher
  2. ADSO with modeling property Write interface-enabled
  3. Process Chain in Streaming mode containing a process variant ‘Activate DSO Data’ specifying the ADSO name

 

Summary

The Streaming property is a really cool enhancement of the process chain concept in SAP BW. It provides a flexible toolset, if you really have to load data as fast as possible into a BW InfoProvider. The preferred run modes are the PUSH mode and the Intelligent PULL mode, as they only trigger the DTP execution if new source data is generated.

I recommend following SAP Education offerings if you are eager to learn more about this topic and much much more. We have prepared a sophisticated scenario based on SDI HanaAdapter where you can explore streaming process chains hands-on. Both trainings are currently upgraded to SAP BW/4HANA 2.0 SP07 with more details about streaming process chains. Availability of this latest version expected by mid-2021.

  1. BW462 – SAP BW/4HANA: Delta from BW classic
  2. BW450 – SAP BW/4HANA Data Acquisition

 

References

There are some interesting blog posts in this community which provide use cases for the run modes introduced above:

  1. Streaming Process Chains – Scheduled PULL via ODP_SAP and PUSH via ODP_SLT
    https://blogs.sap.com/2017/02/28/streaming-process-chains/
  2. Streaming Process Chains – PUSH via ODP_CDS
    https://blogs.sap.com/2018/02/04/delta-extraction-and-real-time-streaming-odp-cds-to-bw/
  3. Streaming Process Chains – PUSH via ODP_SLT (1)
    https://blogs.sap.com/2017/09/26/slt-odp-real-time-data-replication-from-sap-source-to-bw-adso/
    Streaming Process Chains – PUSH via ODP_SLT (2)
    https://blogs.sap.com/2017/10/13/slt-odp-real-time-data-replication-from-non-sapmssql-to-bw-adso/

For additional details refer to the SAP help portal or following SAP notes:

  • SAP BW/4HANA help about Process Chains for Streaming
  • SAP note 2844555: Corrections for Streaming Process Chains (BW Note Analyzer)
  • SAP note 2372534: Streaming data from local SAP HANA schema to SAP BW
  • SAP note 2447916: How to transfer RDA to Streaming Process Chains
  • SAP note 2865995: How to check if an ODP DataSource supports PUSH Streaming or not
Thanks to Waldemar, Dirk, Nicola, Thomas, Deniz, Tobias, Jens, Alex, Andreas, Luiz, Paul and others who provided valuable input for this blog post!

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      19 Comments
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      Author's profile photo Deniz Osoy
      Deniz Osoy

      Great blog Frank! Thank you very much. Very valuable and innovative for BW customers.

      Author's profile photo Philipp Nell
      Philipp Nell

      Hi Frank, thanks for this interesting blog. The pull mode was new to me and can be of interest for many scenarios. A problem I found when testing streaming process chain was to skip a record in case a record produces an error. SDI based remote subscriptions offer such a functionality. My test was to send two number from the source and then do a division as a logic in the transformation between DS and target. When I sent a 0 for the divisor I got as expected a div by 0 shortdump. But couldn't figure out how to skip this record in the the processing so that the stream returned to be operative again. Any hints on that? Take care Philipp

      Author's profile photo Frank Riesner
      Frank Riesner
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Philipp,
      was machst Du nur für Sachen... 🙂
      Well, I don´t know the exact answer how to skip a record with errors and fix the stream. But in general I think, there should not be any logic in the TRFN from DataSource to the ADSO for exactly the case you describe: To avoid any errors or delays on the BW target side. Here the focus is on the near-real-time transfer of data and any logic will put a danger there. At least the monitoring effort would increase.

      Viele Grüsse, Frank

      Author's profile photo Vijayananda Putcha
      Vijayananda Putcha

      Hi Frank, Thanks for your information, very useful.

      Author's profile photo Abhishek Hazra
      Abhishek Hazra

      Good one Frank! This blog covers a lot of unexplored areas of process chain streaming feature that BW techies were looking out for 🙂

      Thanks,
      Abhi

      Author's profile photo Paul Vatter
      Paul Vatter

      Thanks for summarizing and sharing this detailed information, Frank! Best regards Paul

      Author's profile photo Markus Ganser
      Markus Ganser

      Great stuff, very usefull! Thanks and best regards, Markus

      Author's profile photo Mark Green
      Mark Green

      Frank, once again an excellent blog from you covering a topic that is often asked about, but few are able to explain in detail. Thanks for sharing the findings of your research.

      Author's profile photo Ibrahim Bayraktar
      Ibrahim Bayraktar

      Great explanation! Thank you.

      Best Regards.

      Author's profile photo Claudia Fiess
      Claudia Fiess

      Excellent blog Frank! So valuable - especially as more customers asking for "real-time" or "near real-time" options when looking at data loads into BW. Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Author's profile photo Andrei Dorfman
      Andrei Dorfman

      Before this post, I thought the "push" mode is for ODP-SLT only, and the "pull" mode is for ODP-SAPI. Apparently, SLT always supports push, but ODP only sometimes does. Now it's clear that even if a data source doesn't support streaming (RSOOSOURCE-REALTIME flag is not set) and it says so, we shouldn't give up, because BW will use its own streaming, which is the "pull" mode. One way or another. Makes sense now.

      Thanks,

      Andrew

      Author's profile photo Alex Neary
      Alex Neary

      Hi Frank,

      I am unable to get the The PUSH Run Mode working on SAP BW 7.5 SP17.  It seems that the extraction properties are not available in the SAP GUI.  It looks like your screen-shots were taken from HANA Studio.  Can you please confirm you were able see "Streaming can be Triggered by this Datasource" option in SAP BW 7.5, you said "(any release)" at the beginning of your blog.

      Best Regards,

      Alex

      Author's profile photo Frank Riesner
      Frank Riesner
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Alex,

      yes my screenshots are from BW Modeling Tools, but the same can be found in the SAP GUI.

      First of all, your ODP_SAP data source needs to be streaming enabled. Check in your source system if this is the case, e.g. in table ROOSOURCE-REALTIME = X or Tr. RSO2/RSA2.

      When you replicate this object to BW, the same field REALTIME = X is in table RSDS or in the Extraction tab of Tr. RSDS (DataSource Maintenance).

      Regards,

      Frank

      Author's profile photo Alex Neary
      Alex Neary

      Greetings Frank,

      I naturally checked all my configuration before I asked this question.  All my configuration settings are and have been as you outlined in your reply.  There is simply no option in RSDS for "Streaming can be Triggered by this Datasource" the way it looks to me.  Also, if you have access to OSS, I have filed the a message with SAP detailing the issue with screen-shots.  Please reference Incident 279621/2021.

      RSDS%20with%20no%20Streaming%20Config%20Line

      RSDS with no Streaming Config Line

      Best Regards,

      Alex

      Author's profile photo Frank Riesner
      Frank Riesner
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Alex,

      good point, but easy resolution. In 7.5 systems the UI might have a different naming:

      Title: "Realtime" instead of "Streaming"
      Value: "Realtime Data Acquisition Supported" instead of "Streaming can be triggered by this DataSource".

      However, it is the very same feature.
      In the backend  his setting is managed in a field called "REALTIME" for historic reasons, because RDA was the prior concept.

      In BW 7.5 you still can choose between RDA and Streaming PCs, while in BW/4HANA RDA has be decommissioned. I think this is the reason of the renaming in BW/4HANA.

      So your DataSource above is fine for the PUSH mode from my perspective. If you have issues, then I suggest to check your source system with the BW Note Analyzer and input from SAP note 2844555 and SAP_BW_ODPODQStreaming_<Date>.xml if all notes are up-to-date.
      And check your BW system with SAP_BW_ProcessChainStreaming_<Date>.xml as well.

      Regards, Frank

      Author's profile photo Alex Neary
      Alex Neary

      Greetings Frank,

      Thank you for the quick response and clarity on this.  From my experiences, and I have tested a lot of scenarios in my present release, the method you describe actually does not start a process chain for streaming.  It uses RDA, to your point, but it runs the event through the Daemon process using T-Code RSRDA, you can see this.  You also have to insert your data into a classic DSO to make it function.  I was actually hoping to use a triggered streaming chain because I could insert to an ADSO.

      My conclusion is for BW 7.5, Option A is simply not available, not in the way you describe at least.  You're right, it functions the same, it triggers the event to load, but you have to understand you will not get the benefits of running any of the other Process Chain steps.  The only thing triggering the DTP via RDA does is insert the records into the Classic DSO and Activates.   Option C is our only choice for ECC extraction, we have to "pull" the data to use the process chain streaming.

      Please correct me if I am misstating the facts.

      Best Regards,

      Alex

      Author's profile photo Frank Riesner
      Frank Riesner
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Alex,

      the concepts I described have nothing to do with RDA (except outdated naming of the ODP_SAP DataSource maybe). Streaming PCs and ODP are available a long time and as such option A is a valid option for BW 7.5 systems in general as well. It is not any RDA process which starts the process chain but the trigger event from the ODP daemon in the SAP source which is able to execute the BW process chain if it is in streaming mode.

      Regards, Frank

      Author's profile photo Alvaro Gutierrez
      Alvaro Gutierrez

      Excellent blog Frank!

       

      We're setting up a Streaming process chain and we are here in scenario C - Scheduled PULL mode as we mainly need 2LIS* data sources updating a BW 7.50 SP20 on HANA

      We scheduled the PC about every 5 minutes and at each PC exaction i.e ( 10:05, 10:10. 10:15...) always come two additional executions (one after the other) just after the scheduled process was executed.

      Is this an expected behaviour ? -  We're not interested in such a feature as no data will be retrieved as our V3 collector jobs run also every 5 minutes

       

      Regards,

      Álvaro

       

      Author's profile photo Frank Riesner
      Frank Riesner
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Alvaro,

      no, this is not the expected behavior I think. These additional executions will not bring any new data,right? So they will only consume system resources and bring additional monitoring efforts.

      I recommend to open an incident with SAP and ask for guidance.

      Before make sure, you are up-to-date regarding correction provided in SAP note 2844555 (Note Analyzer and highlight this in your incident description as well).

      Regards - Frank