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BW/4HANA – Migration options

Aug 12, 2021

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SAP BW/4HANA, considered SAP’s next-generation data warehouse, is built entirely on HANA, allowing it to leverage all SAP HANA’s salient features. As a logical continuation of SAP BW powered by HANA, BW/4HANA has been a stable product for several years. BW/4HANA versions 1.0 and 2.0 are also now available for use, along with many support packages. Detailed information on the BW/4HANA versions and product availability can be found here.

Although SAP will continue to support BW 7.5 customers until the end of 2027, many BW customers consider migrating to BW/4HANA as the next logical step. This blog discusses various options available for migrating to BW/4HANA.

Migration Options

Depending on the existing BW system version, SAP provides different paths to choose from while migrating to BW/4HANA. The most common conversion paths are listed below.

1. In-place Conversation

  • In-place conversion involves a step-by-step transfer of classical BW objects to HANA optimized objects and then involves a system conversion to BW/4HANA.
  • This type of conversion needs the SAP BW/4HANA Starter Add-on to be installed.
  • The pre-requisite to adopt in-place conversion as your migration option is that your existing system needs to be a BW 7.5 (BW powered by HANA) system with support package 5.

2. Remote conversion

  • Remote conversion starts with the installation of a new BW/4HANA system.
  • This type of conversion allows you to choose to transfer entire flows including the data, into the new BW/4HANA system installed.
  • Remote conversion option can be chosen if your existing system is an SAP BW 7.3 system or for its later releases.

3. Shell conversion

  • Shell conversion works like a remote conversion but takes place without any transfer of existing data.
  • If you are willing to start from scratch, adopting a greenfield approach, then shell conversion might be a good option.
  • Shell conversion can be adopted for migrating existing SAP BW systems 7.0 to 7.5.

The image below provides an overview and a quick comparison between the three migration paths discussed.

BW/4HANA – Migration options
A comparison of conversion Options provided by SAP for BW/4HANA migration

Here is the detailed conversion guide provided by SAP to understand better the options available and processes involved during an upgrade.

Now that we have briefly discussed the options available for migrating to BW/4HANA, it is essential to reveal some key points to be considered before starting with the upgrade process.

Did you know that some classical BW objects used widely in the legacy systems are not supported once we migrate to BW/4HANA system? Many data models like ODSOs and Multi providers are obsolete in the BW/HANA system.  Also, irrespective of the migration option chosen, 3.X flows are no longer supported in BW/4HANA environment, and they must be converted to corresponding 7.X flows. There are many such differences in other objects like APDs, third-part tool options in Open hub destinations, etc.

However, there are some activities that can be performed today in your existing BW systems to handle the differences that arise during/after the upgrade. For more information on these key points, check out the blog on “BW/4HANA – Key things to be considered during an upgrade”.

Know more about Visual BI Solutions SAP/BW Services offerings here.


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