Introducing SAP BW Bridge


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Understand SAP BW Bridge

SAP BW Bridge and Hybrid SAP Data Warehousing

SAP is committed to the innovation and provision of industry-leading data warehousing technologies to enable the Intelligent Enterprise. SAP Data Warehousing provides continuous innovations in SAP Datasphere and SAP BW/4HANA.

  1. In 2019, SAP started a clear DWaaS (Data Warehouse as a Service) approach in the public cloud with biweekly release cycles. It has first been shipped as SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and then re-branded in 2023 as SAP Datasphere after enhanced capabilities from SAP Data Intelligence have been included. SAP Datasphere is the latest innovation in the Data Warehousing portfolio of SAP. It is based on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform and offers the following are characteristics of SAP Datasphere:
    • Collaboration: SAP Datasphere is designed for both enterprise IT and line of business users to manage and gain valuable insights and it allows them to share models within and across the enterprise.
    • Performance: SAP Datasphere leverages the power of SAP HANA cloud platform to instantly access the data you need, when you need it, without front-loaded costs.
    • End-to-End Integration: SAP Datasphere enables you to federate and integrate data from any source and to consume the data models with powerful and well-integrated SAP Analytics Cloud components.
    • Elasticity: You pay for what you use. This means you can (re-)allocate resources quickly and easily across different use-cases and lines of business when they are needed and retire them afterward to reduce your total costs of ownership.

    Typical SAP Datasphere use cases are extending existing on-premise Data Warehouses by enhancing existing on-premise data with cloud sources to define new data models for broader insights. Another flavor is providing flexible data marts in control of business users to create new and agile models based on different sources and take the burden from the IT departments. In addition, there are tools available to connect data without duplication across business applications to provide a new and consistent view of the data.

  2. SAP BW/4HANA is the strategic solution of SAP for on premises or private cloud deployment. Customers with SAP BW as strategic asset benefit from future improvements and investment protection until end of 2040 at least because SAP BW/4HANA follows the SAP S/4HANA maintenance plan. SAP Business Warehouse (BW) has been available since 1998 and is in use by a large customer base. It represents an integrated data warehouse application, which provides predefined content (LoB and industry-specific), tools and processes to design and operate an enterprise data warehouse end-to-end. This approach simplifies development, administration, and user interface of your data warehouse, resulting in enhanced business agility for building a data warehouse in a standardized way. SAP BW/4HANA was published in 2016 as the logical successor of SAP NetWeaver-based BW with a strong focus on integration existing SAP ABAP application components into the SAP HANA platform. It follows a simplified data warehouse approach, with agile and flexible data modeling, SAP HANA-optimized processes, and user-friendly interfaces. SAP BW/4HANA is now a mature product. Therefore, SAP provides a few service packs per year only.

Data Warehousing Strategy of SAP

Since Q4 in 2021, SAP provides a functional extension of SAP Datasphere called SAP BW Bridge which is based on the ABAP code of the latest SAP BW/4HANA release. SAP BW Bridge can only be provisioned in addition to an existing SAP Datasphere tenant.

For details, refer to this Blog:

SAP follows a clear strategy towards Data Warehousing in the Cloud. However, customers are not forced to follow this paradigm in a short period of time. Instead, SAP ensures full flexibility to gradually extend current investments and move at each customer's own pace. This path includes the following steps:

  • In the first, customers can safe-guard investments by lifting existing landscape to a private cloud environment.
  • In a second step, SAP offers approaches to combine the strengths of SAP BW/4HANA with the innovation, openness, and self-service abilities of SAP Datasphere in a hybrid scenario (see (1) above).
  • The next step is based on the SAP BW Bridge. SAP BW Bridge enables organization to reuse standard extractors for SAP's on-premise sources and leverage SAP's business content to stage the data, including ABAP logic, to share it with SAP Datasphere (see (2) above).
  • Finally, SAP provides a tool support to migrate SAP BW 7.x and SAP BW/4HANA applications one by one to the BW Bridge (see (3) above).

Interoperability between the SAP Data Warehouse Approaches

SAP's Data Warehouse approaches are not isolated concepts. In fact, SAP puts a special focus on providing options to integrate them with each other. The interoperability of the application driven approaches of SAP BW powered by HANA and later BW/4HANA with SAP HANA data models started already more than 10 years ago and was based on external SAP HANA Views generated from InfoProviders. On the other hand, there were integration options for these SAP HANA artifacts in SAP BW or SAP BW/4HANA.

With SAP Datasphere there are multiple ways of deploying applications in the two worlds of SAP BW and SAP Datasphere. Here we cluster them into two groups to get an easy understanding of this quite demanding topic:

  1. Interoperability based Data Consumption: The easiest types of hybrid deployment approaches are based on standard interfaces that allow you to use SAP BW-managed data in SAP Dataphere or its opposite. You can define different types of connections either on the application layer of database layer depending on the requirements. The consumption can be virtual which means the data is not moved or copied redundantly, but consumed from the original source at runtime (aka data federation). There are also options move the data and load or replicate it into either direction.
  2. Interoperability based Semantics Integration: The second approach is based on the focus on transferring business logic into SAP Datasphere artifacts. From SAP BW/4HANA perspective this means to transfer a complete dataflow based on a BW Query and recreate the application in SAP Datasphere with native artifacts like Remote Tables, Dimensions, Fact Views, and Analytic Models. In the meanwhile, the concept has been leveraged for BW Bridge data flows and even ABAP CDS Views in SAP S/4HANA.

Federated or replicated data consumption scenarios for SAP BW or SAP BW/4HANA using the following:

    1. SAP BW connection to InfoProviders, InfoObject Characteristics and Queries (released as InfoProviders) or ABAP Dictionary tables
    2. SAP HANA connection to database tables or SAP HANA Calculation Views (incl. external SAP HANA Views generated in SAP BW 7.5 on HANA or SAP BW/4HANA)
  1. Consumption of SAP Datasphere artifacts in SAP BW or SAP BW/4HANA based on the HANA_SDA source system
  2. Consumption of BW data in SAP BW Bridge based on the ODP framework (context ODP_BW)
  3. Consumption of BW Bridge data in SAP Datasphere based on a standard connection defined in SAP Datasphere by default
  4. SAP plans to provide options to connect SAP Datasphere data to SAP BW Bridge for transformation purposes (for example, to read from flat files during a transformation rule)

Federated so-called business semantics integration scenarios are another way to define hybrid scenarios. The data stays in its original source but the complete logic in the master data and transactional data it recreated with SAP Datasphere native artifacts.

  1. SAP BW/4HANA Model Transfer was the first approach and was provided by SAP BW/4HANA 2.0 SP07 onwards. A BW Query is transferred and a number of native SAP Datasphere entities are generated. The SAP BW/4HANA system only acts as a remote data source but the calculation and consumption is managed by the SAP HANA engines of SAP Datasphere.
  2. SAP S/4HANA Model Transfer leverages the same concept, but is based on ABAP CDS Views that act as source for the model generation in SAP Datasphere.
    1. There are several Migration paths to move SAP BW or SAP BW/4HANA data flows into SAP BW Bridge, even including the related master data and transactional data, if required.
    2. Finally, SAP BW Bridge Model Transfer enables the semantics integration of BW Bridge content into native SAP Datasphere entities. Queries, which have been migrated into SAP BW Bridge before, are also available for this approach.
For more details, refer to following sources:

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