SAP BW Bridge: Just a SAP BW/4HANA in SAP Datasphere?
In 2021, SAP has published the SAP BW Birdge. Is it a SAP BW/4 HANA in the Business Technology Platform? Does this give the SAP BW a cloud SaaS perspective?
What is the BW Bridge?
There are already many blogposts and information material on the subject, so I’ll treat the topic only briefly here.
The BW Bridge is first of all a service that can be booked in the SAP Datasphere. By booking the service, an SAP BW/4HANA environment is provided on the basis of the Business Technology Platform (BW Bridge). The core application of Datasphere accesses the data models of the BW Bridge via an automatically generated space “BW Bridge Space”. The figure below outlines this relationship:
The functional scope of the BW Bridge is limited to data management and data integration of SAP systems. Analytical functionalities such as a query are not possible. SAP Note 3117800 provides detailed information on the supported functions. Another important limitation is the restriction to SAP ODP extractors. The connection of files or Smart Data Access sources is not possible.
Is this the end of SAP BW?
Strategically, SAP is focusing primarily on SAP Datasphere, as the following figure illustrates:
Is this the end of SAP BW? No, not (yet). Although SAP’s focus is very clearly concentrated on SAP Datasphere, SAP BW/4HANA can still be the answer for customers who do not (yet) want to move into the public cloud. In addition, SAP BW/4HANA is very proven and can be the basis of large and complex enterprise data warehouse solutions. SAP has also given BW/4HANA a perspective until 2040. This provides a certain investment security.
Perspectives for SAP BW customers
With the SAP BW Bridge, SAP BW customers are given the option to migrate parts of SAP BW to the BW Bridge and thus have a way to preserve their past investments. This gives customers more flexibility as they can move to the public cloud at their own pace.
Technically, the migration in BW Bridge works similarly to a technical migration of an SAP BW system to BW/4HANA – remote and/or shell conversion are possible. Customers should not expect a full migration of a complex SAP BW system. Not all objects can be migrated, and for some data models there is no way around a new build.
What does the BW Bridge mean for SAP Datasphere?
The BW Bridge offers advantages not only from the perspective of SAP BW customers. Via the BW Bridge, the Datasphere gains access to a BI content of SAP BW that has been proven over many years. As a result, SAP ERP-centric data models are built very quickly and the BW Bridge takes on the role of an integration layer.
In the future, the BW Bridge will also be able to access data models of Datasphere. This enables significantly more migration scenarios, because inbound ADSO from nonSAP systems can be migrated in principle and receive their source connection via Datasphere.
Update 2023-04-26 More detailed illustration for this scenario
The BW Bridge is primarily an opportunity to migrate SAP BW systems completely or in parts to Datsphere. If SAP expands the functional scope even more (as planned), it offers a lot of potential. At the same time, customers should not expect to be able to technically migrate their complete systems including mixed scenarios with HANA Calculation Views. It will not work without manual rework.
Thank you for giving a more clearer picture of what BW Bridge is and what it could be in the future.
I do not understand the need for BW Bridge to access Datasphere models, since BW would not have any reporting capabilities. Can you elaborate a bit more on this?
I added another illustration to the blogpost to make that point clearer.
If you have a BW system with non ABAP based source systems like an SQL Server, you can migrate your BW datamodel to BW Bridge and still use logic on top of the RAW (= Ingest) Layer in BW. The RAW aDSO of such source systems would then get their data from Datasphere.
With the roadmap item more migration scenarios will be possible since the most customers not only have a SAP abap source system as a source. However, keep in mind that - until now - it is an outlook and not possible by now.
Another interesting discussion is, if a migration of very old SAP BW systems really make sense or if it is besser to make a clear cut with a new architecture. Old wine in new bottles isn't always the best way to go but must be decided for every situation.
it is good to see that SAP remembered their long-time BW customers again, with the BW Bridge.
But still it seems SAP is not aware of the efforts and costs which many BW customers invested throughout all the years! First into Bex Web, then Design Studio, then into Lumira and since the end of BI Platform has been announced, many probably already have started to switch to SAC, before the Bridge appeared on the horizon.
Now, while Queries just don't exist in the Bridge (and esp. those with 2 structures, cell-based, don't exist in Datasphere, nor SAC) you have to start all over again to renew your reporting landscape one more time 🙁
The empathy for that is lacking over all the "new cool features".
many thank's for your input.
As you know, we presented our new product strategy with SAP Datasphere on March 8th as part of the Data Unleashed event.
One of the elementary features is the new Analytic Model, which is our new strategic artefact in SAP Datasphere for reporting functionalities.
Let me quickly explain you why queries in SAP BW bridge not exist.
SAP Datasphere is our semantic layer combining data from several sources and layers. Enabling the BW OLAP engine for consumption in the Bridge would manifest a parallel Bridge-only reporting option and
we would have always a gap between both (OLAP in BW and MDS in SAP Datasphere).
Instead we want to and will put all our focus on enabling the essential missing features of the SAP BW OLAP engine in the Analytic Model as fast as possible and of course we will also enhance our Model Import for SAP BW/4HANA and SAP BW bridge.
The corresponding main features will be put on the roadmap in a timely manner.
The general conversion in the import into the Analytic Model will be rolled out in a few weeks.
Is the data from BW bridge into Data Sphere only present as remote table ( federated ) , but can it be persisted in Datasphere?
The data can be accessed virtually or it is persisted in Datasphere again.
However, I don't know if it makes sense to store data which is persisted in BW Bridge again 1:1 in Datasphere.
Thanks for the reply , but here is what that does not make sense to me ( but perhaps I am missing something) .
HANA was a hit because it moved data off hard drive to memory ( along with being columnar etc. ) , so access to data was fastest . Federated data is slow , now its not only not on RAM or even hard drive , but on another system where it has to come via unpredictable network latency.
if one has to just report on BW data , then its better to just expose it directly to SAC rather than federating via DWC and then to SAC. Why bring it in DWC even ?
or if the other plausible scenario, data from BW bride is federated into DWC and then merged with other data ( like a true data-warehouse solution unlike CDS embedded analytics ) . But then the reports would be bogged down with delay of its slowest federated data. Then persisting the BW data in DWC and merged with other persisted data in DWC would bring satisfactory results.
Basically, I can not confirm that virtual access is generally slow.
In my last project, Datasphere was used as a platform for virtual access to more than 20 source systems (all based on HANA). The amount of data was sometimes very high (up to 16 billion data records in one table). The datasphere works here as a federation platform and tries to delegate as many statements as possible to the data source. This works particularly well with the Cloud Connector. We didn't have any network latency problems.
However it can be a challenge if, for example, a complex SQL statement is executed virtually on more than one source system. There will be cases in which the HANA Cloud optimizer cannot send cross-source system statements completely to the source systems - because it simply does not always work because, for example, a join between tables of several source systems is carried out via the document number.
Regardless, there is an option to store data in SAP Datasphere to solve any problems with complex statements.
On the subject of BW Bridge: The bridge is an option for customers to bring their BW systems into the BTP. The alternative would be that customers would have to build their SAP BW from scratch in Datasphere. Therefore, SAP offers here - especially in the outlook - an option to retain investments made. This is where I see the strength of BW Bridge.
Access from SAC to Datasphere and, if applicable, data in BW Bridge should work smoothly. All solutions are based on the BTP. I'm not aware of any problems here.
It is certainly interesting how it behaves when complex queries are made about stored data in BW Bridge on the one hand and Datasphere on the other. So far I haven't had any problems here and have therefore not analyzed it in more detail. But it would be interesting to see whether the HANA Cloud Optimizer can execute such statements directly within HANA Cloud of your Datasphere Tenant or whether it pulls the data from the BW Bridge to Datasphere and then executes the statement within SAP Datasphere.