Skip to Content
Technical Articles
Author's profile photo Tim Huse

Overview of SAP HANA Operators in SAP Data Intelligence

 

Introduction

SAP Data Intelligence, as the data orchestration layer of the SAP Business Technology Platform, provides numerous integration scenarios for distributed data sets. Among others, the integration with SAP HANA is of great relevance. This blog post aims to provide an overview of the seamless integration of SAP HANA with SAP Data Intelligence (hereafter DI).

If you are a beginner in DI, this post is just right for you! 🙂 I hope this blog post eases you into modeling SAP HANA connections in DI and provides a comprehensive overview of integration scenarios (Basic knowledge about DI and operators is a prerequisite).

The remainder of this post is organized as follows: First, an overview of the various SAP HANA operators in DI is given. After that, different integration options are demonstrated with an example. Finally, a summary is provided.

 

Prerequisite

Your SAP HANA database must be connected to your DI system via the connection management of DI. A detailed guide on connecting to SAP HANA can be found here.

 

Agenda

  1. Standard SAP HANA operators in DI
  2. Examples
  3. Conclusion

 

1. Standard SAP HANA Operators in DI

The following section lists standard operators for integration with SAP HANA. The list is based on the categories in which the operators are grouped in DI. The focus is on the categories “Connectivity” and “SAP HANA“, as these are probably the most relevant for newcomer scenarios.

This listing is not intended to be a transcript of the documentation of the built-in DI operators, which  can be found here.

 

Connectivity

Connectors to various data sources are offered in the “Connectivity” category. With the “SAP HANA Monitor” and the “SAP HANA Client“, two operators for connecting to an SAP HANA database are provided.

  • “SAP HANA Monitor” operator: can be used to monitor an SAP HANA table and output its newly inserted rows in a defined poll period. If no new row was inserted to the SAP HANA table since the last query, no output is created. This operator does not require any input and has one output port “outResult” of type “message” which contains the new rows as an array.
  • “SAP HANA Client” operator: can be used to execute SQL statements (arbitrary SQL code or prepared statements) and to insert data (CSV or JSON) into an SAP HANA table. The operator can process SQL code (Input Port: “sql“, type: “message“) and CSV or JSON data (Input Port: “data“, type: “message“) as input and returns the result through the output port “result” of type “message”. Since the input ports work independently from each other, the execution of SQL statements and the insertion of data can be combined into more sophisticated scenarios. One simple use case is the creation of a new SAP HANA table and the ingestion of CSV data from a file within the data lake.

 

Connectivity (via Flowagent) / Structured Data Operators

The “Connectivity (via Flowagent)” category provides operators that run in the flowagent subengine of DI. The flowagent runs a lightweight version of SAP Data Services (Data Integration Platform) and enables the creation of pipelines for data transformation. The flowagent enables integration points to an SAP HANA database via the “HANA Table Consumer“, the “Flowagent Table Producer“, the “Flowagent File Producer” and the “Table Replicator” operator.

The category “Structured Data Operators” represents another very similar possibility to perform data transformations in pipelines. With Structured Data Operators, the new operator “Data Transform” can be utilized, which allows data transformations, such as projection, union, aggregation, and join to be modeled in a graphical interface. Structured Data Operators can connect to SAP HANA, SAP IQ, and SAP Vora.

Details about both categories “Connectivity (via Flowagent)” and “Structured Data Operators“, the idea to consolidate these categories in the future as well as interesting use cases can be read in this blog post by Jens Rannacher. The documentation for the flowagent subengine can be found here. The documentation on Structured Data Operators can be accessed here.

 

HANA Flowgraph

The flowgraph is an artifact in SAP HANA Smart Data Integration (SDI). Flowgraphs are graphical representations of a data provisioning job, consisting of a sequence of nodes and flow lines. A HANA flowgraph can be used to transform data from remote sources into SAP through batch or real-time processing.

In the category “Data Workflows“, the operator “HANA Flowgraph” is offered to execute an SAP HANA flowgraph in an SAP HANA system via DI. The operator “HANA Flowgraph” has one input port (Input Port: “input“, type: “string“) and two output ports (Output Ports: “output” and “error“, type: “string“). This operator can only be used in a graph that exclusively contains other data workflow operators.

For further information, access the help guide for the operator here.

 

SAP HANA

The “SAP HANA” category provides standard operators that are specific to connecting to an SAP HANA database. The operators are dedicated to individual single use cases (e.g. initialization of a table), which is a differentiation from the “HANA Client” operator.  There are many scenarios where these operators are used in combination, e.g. initializing a table and filling it with data.

  • “Write HANA Table” operator: can be used to ingest data into one or more tables on an SAP HANA database. The operator can run either in static (one defined target table) or in dynamic mode (target table name is obtained from input message). The operator takes one input (Input Port: “input“, type: “table“) and has two output ports either for a successful ingestion (Output Port: “success“, type: “message.table“) or in case of an error (Input Port: “error“, type: “message.error“).
  • “Run HANA SQL” operator: can be used to execute SQL statements on an SAP HANA database. The operator can run either in static (SQL command defined within the operator) or in dynamic mode (operator executes SQL statements from each input message). The operator can take one input (Input Port: “input“, type: “*“) and has two output ports either for a successful SQL execution (Output Port: “success“, type: “message.table“) or in case of an error (Input Port: “error“, type: “message.error“).
  • “Initialize HANA Table” operator: can be used to initialize one or more tables on an SAP HANA database. The operator can run either in static (initializes a table based on the configuration settings, no input message needed) or in dynamic mode (initializes the table(s) based on each input message). The operator can take one input (Input Port: “input“, type: “table“) and has two output ports either for a successful initialization (Output Port: “success“, type: “message.table“) or in case of an error (Input Port: “error“, type: “message.error“).
  • “Read HANA Table” operator: can be used to read data from a table in SAP HANA database. The operator can run either in static (reads the table based on the static configuration, no input message needed) or in dynamic mode (reads the table(s) based on each input message). The operator can take one input (Input Port: “input“, type: “table“) and has two output ports either for a successful query containing the queried rows (Output Port: “success“, type: “message.table“) or in case of an error (Input Port: “error“, type: “message.error“). If the operator is configured to static mode, the read mode can be set to “Once” (table is read once) or to “Poll” (operator periodically polls the table for data). Additionally, a batch mode can be configured, to define if the output is broken into separate messages.

 

SAP Machine Learning Core Operators

The category “SAP Machine Learning Core Operators” comprises modeler operators and graph templates that are required for creating machine learning pipelines in the ML Scenario Manager. The topic of Machine Learning will not be discussed in depth here. However, it should be mentioned that the operators “HANA ML Inference“, “HANA ML Forecast” and “HANA ML Training” connect to a HANA database and apply algorithms of the libraries SAP HANA Predictive Analytics Library (PAL) or the SAP HANA Automated Predictive Library (APL).

The documentation can be accessed here. Furthermore, I want to recommend two helpful blog posts on this topic that include interesting hands-on examples by Alessandro Parolin and by Andreas Forster.

 

2. Examples

This section will show simple examples of the SAP HANA integration for beginners. The first example shows how to create an SAP HANA table and fill it with data. The second example reads data from an SAP HANA table into DI.

NOTE: The following examples are demonstrated with the connection to an SAP Data Warehouse Cloud (DWC) instance. There are no specific DI operators for DWC so far. Most of the DI operators for SAP HANA shown here (especially those in the “Connectivity” and “SAP HANA” categories) can be used in exactly the same way for DWC connections. A comprehensive description of the connection to DWC can be found in this blog post by Yulia Reich.

 

Example 1: Create an SAP HANA table and ingest data

Our use case is to create a new table on an SAP HANA database, read a csv file and write the data from the csv file into the newly created SAP HANA table.

The graph will look like this:

Note: The “Terminal” operator is not mandatory. It is added to the “error” port of the “Write HANA Table” operator to output a possible error.

The “Initialize HANA Table” operator will be connected to the HANA database. In this example we create a static new column table “ZTEST_TABLE_WITH_PK_TH“.

 

 

The table has set the columns KUNNR, NAME1, LAND1 and ORT01 in the properties. The primary key property is set to the column KUNNR.

 

 

In the “Read File” operator a csv file path is set up. The file has matching column headers with the newly created HANA table.

In the next step, the “Write HANA Table” operator is set up. In this example the operator is set up statically. The table name must be entered in this style: “SCHEMA_NAME”.”TABLE_NAME”.

Now the operator can be executed. After that, we check how the table and the data will appear in the DWC schema.

You can see that the table has been created within DWC and the three rows of the csv file have been inserted into the table. Awesome!

Note: The same behavior could have been set up with a single “SAP HANA Client” operator instead of the “Initialize HANA Table” operator and the “Write HANA Table” operator.

 

Example 2: Read data from an SAP HANA table

Our use case is to read from an SAP HANA table in batches and to wiretap the connection.

The graph will simply look like this:

We will configure the “Read HANA Table” operator in a static way, so that no input message is required. We connect the operator to the SAP HANA (or here DWC) connection and enter the table name (incl. schema name), as well as the columns that we want to read. We set the “Read mode” to “Poll” and the “Poll period” to “50s“. This means we will continuously read from the table every 50 seconds. The “Batching” mode is set to “Fixed size” and the “Batch size (rows)” is set to “1“. This means that the table will be written to the output port “success” into batches of single rows.

Attention: With this set up the pipeline will run infinitely if you do not stop it manually.

Now let’s execute the graph and check the wiretap:

Et voilà! You can see that the rows are sent correctly in single batches and within a 50 second timeframe. Great job!

 

3. Conclusion

The idea of this post was not to duplicate information of the documentation or look at one specific topic in depth. The goal was to provide a simple entry point for newcomers to DI who are interested in integration to SAP HANA. Furthermore, it is intended to offer more in-depth links for topics beyond the scope of this post. I hope my post eases you into modeling SAP HANA connections in DI and provides a comprehensive overview of what integration scenarios are possible with DI.

It was shown that often there are multiple scenarios involving different operators in order to achieve the same goal. For example, the use of different operators in the “SAP HANA” category can have the same effect as the use of one comprehensive “SAP HANA Client” operator. Ultimately, this remains a question of individual design.

Thanks for reading! 🙂 I hope you find this post helpful. For any questions or feedback just leave a comment below this post.

Many thanks to Yuliya Reich for your support.

Best wishes,
Tim

 

Find more information and related blog posts on the topic page for SAP Data Intelligence.

If you have questions about SAP Data Intelligence you can submit them in the Q&A area for SAP Data Intelligence in the SAP Community.

Assigned Tags

      8 Comments
      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
      Author's profile photo Rolf Hoven
      Rolf Hoven

      Great blog !

      Let say you want to let different customers consume data from your ZTEST_TABLE_WITH_PK_TH table...

      How can I add Authorizations/Roles ?

      Can I create CDS Views and odata-services in SAP DI ?   ( is that best practise? )

      Best regards,

      Rolf

      Author's profile photo Tim Huse
      Tim Huse
      Blog Post Author

      Hello Rolf,

      thank you for your question and feedback.

       

      Regarding your first question: the authorization needs to be set up where the table is located (e.g. HANA, DWC, S/4 etc., in this example DWC) with the respective authorization concepts available. The table is accessed in DI via the user that was used to create the connection in Connection Management (usually a technical user). If this user has the authorization for the complete data, then the entire data of the table can also be accessed in DI.

      It should be noted here that the concrete implementation in DI and HANA in such a case depends very much on the requirements of how the customers should consume the data. The design of the pipelines in DI then also depends on this use case.

       

      Regarding your second question: CDS views and OData services can be consumed in DI (e.g. via the built-in operators "ABAP CDS Reader" and "OData Query Consumer"). However, CDS views and OData services are not created in DI, but in target systems such as S/4, which are connected to DI. The connection in DI is done via the connection types "ABAP" or "ODATA". The documentations can be accessed here and here respectively.

       

      In general, I would like to emphasize that SAP Data Intelligence is a data management and orchestration tool. It is not intended to take over DBMS tasks (like authorization) and data storage.

      I hope I could answer your questions to your satisfaction.

       

      Best wishes,

      Tim

      Author's profile photo Rolf Hoven
      Rolf Hoven

      Thanks for your detailed answer.

      Rolf

      Author's profile photo Jens Ihringer
      Jens Ihringer

      Hi Tim,

       

      Very helpful blog. Thanks for sharing!

       

      Best regards

      Jens

      Author's profile photo Bernd Kaufmann
      Bernd Kaufmann

      Hi Tim,

      thanks for sharing this great content!

      Best wishes

      Bernd

      Author's profile photo Martin Frick
      Martin Frick

      Hi Tim,

      thanks for sharing the information and all your effort!

      Awesome work!

      Martin

      Author's profile photo Ginger Gatling
      Ginger Gatling

      Awesome blog - thank you for sharing with such clarity!

      Author's profile photo Richard Herrmann
      Richard Herrmann

      Thanks for the concise overview on the DI operators & the working examples - great work, Tim!