SAP builds next-gen data warehouse for the cloud

SAP BW/4HANA is a new data warehouse service for the real-time enterprise, designed for both on-premises and cloud deployments.

cloud data warehouse

With an eye on the need for more scalable, real-time analytics, SAP today unveiled SAP BW/4HANA, its next-generation data warehouse product for the real-time digital enterprise.

BW/4HANA will support on-premises deployments, but will also be available on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC), says Neil McGovern, senior director, Product Marketing, SAP Data Warehousing.

"We're trying to give our customers some options," he says. "AWS is infrastructure as a service (IaaS) — you can provision very quickly and inexpensively. With HEC, it's far more of a complete, turnkey solution — more platform as a service (PaaS)."

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SAP’s next-generation data warehouse service, SAP BW/4HANA, provides interactivity with historical and live data whether that data lives inside or outside the enterprise. (Click for larger image.)

You can expect BW/4HANA to become available in other cloud environments as well, McGovern says.

[ Related: SAP's HANA Vora bridges divide between enterprise and Hadoop data ]

"More and more organizations are looking to the cloud in the future as being the primary location for their decision-making system," he says.

A logical approach to data wareshousing

SAP sees BW/4HANA as the new foundation for logical data warehousing that provides interactivity with historical and live data whether that data lives inside or outside the enterprise. SAP's vision for the next-generation data warehouse is one that significantly reduces data movement and duplication by analyzing data where it resides — whether in data lakes leveraging SAP's in-memory queue engine, HANA Vora, or in legacy systems inside or outside the enterprise. The next-generation data warehouse is also capable of integrating live streaming and time-series sensor data collected from Internet of Things (IoT) environments. It also offers sophisticated hot, warm or cold data temperature management and compression that can automatically move data between stores based on criteria like data age or key value.

[ Related: SAP unveils SaaS analytics platform ]

BW/4HANA also provides modern data modeling techniques and a much streamlined data warehouse object model. Where SAP Business Warehouse (the previous version) had an object set with 14 objects, McGovern says SAP BW/4HANA has three commonly used objects and one other for special situations. In addition, SAP has simplified governance features, and new business applications, including SAP S/4HANA applications, will be able to leverage a "pre-built" data warehouse or more standard, "SQL-based" development environment.

SAP BW/4HANA features the following:

  • An end-to-end data management platform for running a live digital business through the automatic generation of SAP HANA views that combine SQL data logic and application data taken directly from SAP S/4HANA.
  • "Extreme performance" through advanced, in-memory analytics and algorithm pushdown.
  • Faster application development with a fully redesigned user interface for enhanced data flow modeling.
  • Reduced data management and storage costs through automatic distribution of multi-temperature data.
  • Efficient data warehouse migration and implementation with unified data load management and full scale-out support, as a de facto standard for customers
  • Easy transition for SAP Business Warehouse customers to SAP BW/4HANA through utilities.

Staying agile

Diego Lombardini, head of Finance Systems at Sydney, Australia-based Fairfax Media, says SAP BW/4HANA helped his media and entertainment company become much more agile.

"As an early adopter of SAP BW/4HANA running on Amazon AWS, we reduced our end-to-end production time by 50 percent, allowing us to deliver a powerful new analytics platform with minimal upfront investment in just three months," he said in a statement today. "To support our constantly changing business, we now have an extremely flexible, highly scalable cloud environment that is capable of future-proofing our business."

In addition, Lombardini said average report execution time has improved by 10x.

"The key benefits for our customers, for the line of business users, are increased agility," McGovern says. "Fairfax took a six-month project and finished it in three months using the new capabilities."

SAP BW/4HANA will be generally available on Sept. 7.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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