With New In-Memory Fabric, SAP BW 7.4 Powered by HANA Supports Real-Time Insight

To enable real-time, in-context business decisions while simplifying the IT landscape, SAP has announced the availability of the 7.4 version of  the SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) powered by SAP HANA as part of the new in-memory data fabric architecture.

According to the vendor, the in-memory data fabric approach is key to the newest version of SAP Business Warehouse powered by SAP HANA.

“Instead of having a centralized an ‘uber warehouse’ where all the data is moved into the centralized place, and then analyzed, what we want to do is allow our customers to have a centralized place to send the queries - which is SAP HANA - and then the HANA platform virtualizes the data,”  said Neil McGovern, senior director, Product & Innovation Marketing, SAP. The idea is that by simplifying data modeling, data access, data provisioning and governance in the in-memory data fabric, the new release can better support immediate, in-context, business insights.

SAP HANA ‘smart data access’ technology

This new version also leverages SAP HANA ‘smart data access’ technology to enable the end user to virtually incorporate data from any sources or systems without having to physically move the data. SAP Business Warehouse 7.4 extends the push down of data-intensive processes into SAP HANA, such as data transformations, planning and OLAP functions, thereby improving performance, delivering real-time results and making data loads faster.

A focus on three attributes - simplicity, openness, and performance

“Specifically SAP BW 7.4 powered by SAP HANA provides three key capabilities that really evolve it to an in-memory data fabric in terms of simplicity, openness, and performance,” noted Dan Kearnan, senior director, Product and Innovation Marketing, SAP.

In terms of simplification, he said, “we have created a lot of simplification within the data warehouse to make it more agile and nimble to better meet the decision-making needs across the organization. With that as the backdrop, we have done a lot of work to simplify the way that IT can source, provision, model and make available to end users the info they need when they need it.”

Second, he said, SAP BW as a data warehouse has been perceived as being suitable for customers with big investments in SAP applications such as ERP as the source of the information for the data warehouse, but SAP recognizes that the data needs to come from  many different sources, both structured and unstructured, and in whatever data silo it resides. “We have done a lot of work to open up the data warehouse to much more easily take in, harmonize data from across the different data silos.  We doubled down on that in BW 7.4 with the introduction of smart data access, which is a feature coming from SAP as a data platform. Smart data access allows you to virtually - not physically - access and target and then bring in data needed for analysis.”

And lastly, Kearnan said, SAP has worked to supercharge BW so it is fast in every way possible not only in how fast you run queries but also in the ability to process complex business logic to expediate the planning process, to provision data. “Now with SAP HANA running underneath BW, a lot the complex business logic and planning logic has been pushed down into the high performance database of SAP HANA so it can do the heavy lifting and only bring the result set up  into the BW application layer. This gives business users have much faster access to both new information as well as the queries that they run.”

New performance records

McGovern pointed to HANA’s Guinness World Record for the largest data warehouse as an example of the kind of performance possible now. At over 12 Petabytes, the record is three times larger than the prior record.

“This proves that the combination of HANA, and in this case SAP IQ, can store and - what is really important - with a single query, running analytics across that whole 12PB dataset. Many organizations have stored more than 12PB but the ability to access it as a single entity is really what Guinness was looking for when they were validating our claim,” said McGovern.

SAP says the scalability of the solution was also demonstrated on an Amazon Web Services-based solution that loaded 8 million rows per second on 111 SAP HANA instances using 1776 cores. The resulting queries ran in 330 mS, versus single instance performance of 250 mS, demonstrating the ability to scale massively with little impact on a per instance performance.

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