Customers always wonder which data provisioning tool (among BODS, SLT and SDI) is best suited for transporting data between various systems, especially when there is a need for real time replication. In this blog series, we will be looking at various features and business scenarios and which of the data provisioning tools from SAP best fits in.

BODS vs. SLT vs. SDI – A Comparison

To start with, let us compare the SAP Data Services (BODS), SAP Landscape Transformation (SLT) and SAP HANA Smart Data Integration (SDI) from the following perspectives:

  1. Data Replication
  2. Data Transformation
  3. Data Sources
  4. Data Targets
  5. Change Data Capture (CDC)
  6. Data Quality
  7. Predictive Analytics
  8. Scheduling

A summary of the analysis is shown herewith, followed by more details below.

1. Data Replication

Data replication is a basic feature that is expected from all data provisioning tools. SAP BODS, a complete ETL tool, supports data replication in batch mode, but real-time replication is limited to web services. On the other hand, SLT and SDI have the capability to do near-real-time data replication with SDI having an option to execute even in batch mode. Note that real-time replication with SDI is not applicable for all data sources.

2. Data Transformation

When it comes to transforming, cleaning and integrating data, SAP BODS wins hands down as it offers a wide variety of data integration and data quality transform options. Nevertheless, SDI comes second with almost equal number of transform options available to integrate and cleanse data. While the tool as such has a long way to go, it may acquire new transform options with each release. SLT, on the other hand, has very minimal transformation options that can be done only through ABAP. In other words, SLT is more suited for data replication than transformation.

3. Sources

The best use case scenario for SLT has always been connecting from SAP ECC to HANA in a side car implementation. This does not mean that SLT can only be used for SAP source systems. It can also be used for a quite a few non-SAP systems like Oracle, DB2 etc. SAP BODS can connect to a variety of legacy systems (Like IBM, AS400) along with the traditional RDBMS as the source. SDI, with the help of SDA (smart data access adapters), can connect to a lot of traditional RDBMS and unstructured data sources like Twitter, Facebook etc. SDI can also integrate well with Big Data software like Hadoop through HDFS system. Big Data integration is now available with BODS and it can connect to HDFS.

4. Targets

SAP BODS can load data into various target systems including flat files. Even though the most preferred scenario for SLT is loading into SAP HANA, it can still be used to load data into other RDBMS targets. With SDI being available as part of SAP HANA, it can have only HANA database (including cloud) as its target.

5. Change Data Capture (CDC)

With any data warehouse implementation, maintaining history of the data is the key business requirement along with the need for data analysis, but at the same time we do not need to bring the entire source data into the target every day. This is where the concept of CDC is used to determine or track the changed data and perform actions on the same. It allows systems to bring only the latest changes on the data (after any insert, update or delete is triggered on the table) after the initial load. With SLT you can perform CDC by using Replication option, but it does not maintain history in your target. Both BODS and SDI can connect to a lot of CDC enabled sources and can later use the same data to perform SCD (Slow Changing Dimension)/Transaction maintenance on the target data.

Not that not all ll data sources have the CDC option enabled.

6. Data Quality

Data Quality is essential for insightful analysis on data. Data quality transforms are available with both BODS and SDI and comes with a separate licensing cost. SLT does not have the data quality option.

7. Predictive Analytics

The recent development in the field of BI is to predict outcomes based on the different patterns on data using custom machine learning algorithms. SDI, being a latest technology in the field of Enterprise Information Management, gives the flexibility to apply machine learning algorithms along with integration and cleansing techniques at the same time.

Both BODS and SLT do not have predictive capabilities.

8. Scheduling

All the three SAP offerings discussed here have the ability to schedule and monitor jobs. BODS has an event based triggering through which dependency on the jobs can be set with respect to other jobs. SLT tasks can also be scheduled through LTR configuration in SLT server. Similarly, in SDI flowtasks can be scheduled.

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