Defining Data Sources and Connections

Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Differentiate between the SAP Analytics Cloud connections
  • Use the data analyzer for accessing live data connections

Connections in SAP Analytics Cloud

SAP Analytics Cloud is a public Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that enables access to on-premise and cloud data sources. Furthermore, SAP Analytics Cloud provides live connection (online) and data import (batch) connectivity – two ways of accessing your data located anywhere in your information-system landscape.

Let's look at the differences between live connections and import connections for on-premise sources.

Note
While the information above references on-premise data sources, the same points apply for cloud sources.
Note
When using data from cloud sources, the same points apply as for on-premise sources regarding data duplication and security.

The figure Connection Types illustrates the connection types and data connections environments.

The SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector serves as the link between SAP Analytics Cloud and existing on-premise systems. The SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector combines an easy setup with a clear configuration of the systems that are exposed to SAP Analytics Cloud. In addition, you can control the resources available for the cloud applications in those systems. Thus, you can benefit from your existing assets without exposing the whole internal landscape to SAC.

The SAP Analytics Cloud Agent is an on-premise data connectivity component that is used to:

  • Import data connections from SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, version for Microsoft Platform (BPC MS).
  • Import data connections from SAP Business Warehouse (BW).
  • Import data connections from SAP Universes.
  • Import data connections from SAP ERP.
  • Import data connections to an SQL database.
  • Import data from a file server.

Depending on your environment, there are different requirements for establishing both live and import data connections to SAP Analytics Cloud. SAP recommends creating your live data connections using a direct connection type (Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS)). Direct connectivity does not require any additional hardware. It is easy to set up and provides superior performance.

Live Connections

With live connections, you can create models from data sources in on-premise or cloud systems, build stories based on those models, and perform online analysis without storing your data in the cloud. This feature allows SAP Analytics Cloud to be used in scenarios where data cannot be stored into the cloud for security or privacy reasons, or your data already exists on a different cloud system.

There are two options for creating live connections:

  1. Direct Connection
  2. Tunnel Connection

For live connections, SAP Analytics Cloud provides SAML 2 capabilities to enable single sign-on, simplifying not only authentication to SAP Analytics Cloud, but also to connected data sources from your landscape.

Import Connections

Data is imported (copied) to SAP Analytics Cloud, and changes made to the data in the source system do not affect the imported data. Setup of SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector and SAP Analytics Cloud Agent is required when creating an import data connection to system types such as SAP Business Warehouse (BW), SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC), SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform Universe (UNX), SAP ERP, SQL Database, SAP SuccessFactors, WorkforceAnalytics, OData, SAP Concur, Salesforce.com (SFDC), SAP Fieldglass, Google Drive, Google BigQuery, or a file server.

How to Choose a Connection Type?

There are some key differences between import connections and the two types of live data connections.

Customers need to decide which connection type to set up, according to their own needs. As you evaluate which connection type to use, consider the following criteria:

  • Functional needs
  • Data privacy constraints
  • Data volume constraints

It is also important to review the system requirements and technical prerequisites, and to check whether your landscape is compliant with what is supported for your version and connection type.

User Expertise

Establishing the connection settings requires people with expertise from different areas of your organization to ensure a smooth deployment:

Type of UserArea of Expertise
SAP Analytics Cloud system ownerSAP Analytics Cloud settings, such as SAML 2.0 settings, users and roles management, and connection settings.
Data source expertConnectivity layer and security (SAP HANA, SAP BW or SAP BW/4HANA, SAP S/4HANA, and so on).
Network expertProxy, firewall, DNS server, and so on.
Security expertSAML 2.0, your organization's Identity Provider (IdP), SSL certificates, and so on.
Information system architectGeneral architecture topics.
Application expertSAP or non-SAP, depending on your data sources: connectivity, security, modeling, and so on.

Project management is also required as maintaining connectivity settings cannot be successful as a one-person task. Settings follow a strict process where different stakeholders must be engaged and must deliver their own expertise in their respective areas of responsibility.

Connection Screen

The figure Connection Creation in SAP Analytics Cloud shows the connection screen in SAP Analytics Cloud.

On the Connection screen, you create and maintain datasource system connections. Connections are categorized as either a live connection or an acquired data connection. It is also possible to filter the list of available connections by datasource type or by category.

Note
As of June 2022, there is no connection for SAP Ariba. However, third party connections can be used.

Project Workflow

Data Implementation Workflow

Data Analyzer

Data analyzer is a predefined ready-to-run service for SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) queries, SAP HANA Live views, and SAP Analytics Cloud models for ad-hoc analysis. It uses SAP BW live connections, SAP HANA views, and models created in SAP Analytics Cloud. All SAP BW queries, SAP HANA Live views, and models can be accessed directly in the Select Data Source dialog, and no additional model is created.

The steps to access the data analyzer are given below.

Data Analyzer - User Interface

Data analyzer contains a table, a filter area, and a builder panel with navigation capabilities to add and remove dimensions and measures from the table. In addition, you find a menu bar with a Refresh option and an Edit Prompts dialog (in case your datasource is designed for setting prompts).

Table formulas are available but calculated measures are not.

After you have drilled down to the data details according to your needs and analyzed your data, you might want to save this insight. For this, choose Save in the upper left corner of data analyzer. In the Save Insight dialog, select the file location (public or private) for your insight and enter a name and description for it.

Use the Data Analyzer

Task 1:

Business Example

You need to know how to access data from a source system without performing a data import. With the data analyzer, you have a quick and easy way to access data via live connections. The result can be captured in a data analyzer insight.

Task Flow

Access Live Data with the Data Analyzer

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