BW/4HANA provides simplified and advanced data provisioning capabilities to integrate external databases with BW using Smart Data Integration (SDI). Unlike earlier versions of BW, DBConnect is no longer supported. All existing DBConnect connections need to be converted to either one of the options listed in this blog.

Setting up Smart Data Access (SDA) is one of the pre-requisites for connecting to external databases. Details on setting up SDA can be found here: https://www.sap.com/documents/2015/07/2c638a8d-597c-0010-82c7-eda71af511fa.html

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SDA enables remote data access to any other source or system without having to move or replicate the data into SAP HANA. In this blog, we will connect BW4/HANA with the external SQL Server system.

After you establish a connection between BW/4HANA and external database (SQL Server), it will be visible under the SDA tab.

Note: SDA access might depend on the type of BW/4HANA license. Please check your license before proceeding.

bw4hana-data-model-external-database

 

There are two approaches to connect to external databases.

  1. Enterprise HANA Data Model (Reporting Layer)
  2. Traditional BW Modelling (Staging Layer)

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1. Enterprise HANA Data Model

External database tables cannot be consumed directly using this approach. Therefore, you would have to create a HANA Virtual table and assign it to the respective schema.

Step 1: Right Click on SQL table to create the virtual table.

bw4hana-data-model-external-database

 

HANA Virtual table is stored in respective Schema.

bw4hana-data-model-external-database

 

Step 2: Now, create a Calculation View to consume data from the HANA Virtual table and then create a Composite provider.

bw4hana-data-model-external-database

bw4hana-data-model-external-database

Note: Data in virtual tables cannot be modified i.e. insert, update and delete operations are not possible on virtual tables. However, we can do select on a virtual table and move the data to HANA table.

 

2. Traditional BW Modelling:

Step 1: Create a new source system on top of Smart Data Access.

bw4hana-data-model-external-database

bw4hana-data-model-external-database

 

Step 2: Select Connection type as SAP HANA Smart Data Access

bw4hana-data-model-external-database

bw4hana-data-model-external-database

 

Step 3: After creating the source system, please proceed with creating traditional data flow modeling objects as per your reporting requirements.

 

In Summary – comparing the two options – the advantages and disadvantages are listed below:

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Stay tuned to this space for more blogs on BW/4HANA and HANA Modeling.

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