SAP BW/4HANA InfoProvider
InfoProviders are objects on which queries execute.
We can organize InfoProviders into two types: those that store data (persisted), and those that are empty and collect their data at query run-time (virtual).
SAP BW/4HANA provides different types of InfoProviders to support various scenarios. Let's take a look at some of them:
DataStore Object (advanced)
This is the main InfoProvider used to store the transaction data that has been loaded.
There are 3 main types of DataStore Object (advanced) to support different scenarios:
- DataStore Object (advanced) - Staging used to temporarily hold data while it is in flow and also to retain a copy of the data in case it is needed for future data flows. It usually appears early in the data flow and usually loaded directly from the source system. This raw data is usually unchanged from the source system.
- DataStore Object (advanced) - Standard used as a permanent store of data that has been integrated, harmonized from multiple sources, and enriched. Data is usually loaded from a Staging DataStore Object.
- DataStore Object (advanced) - Data Mart is also used as a permanent store of data that is typically aggregated and calculated for a specific business case. Data is usually loaded from a Staging DataStore Object or from a Standard DataStore Object.
Open ODS View
An Open ODS View is a modeling object that can be used to by-pass the data staging and storage layers if they are not needed.
- An OpenODS View is often used to integrate data that is managed outside of SAP BW/4HANA without having to store it in SAP BW/4HANA.
A CompositeProvider combines data from multiple sources, such as sales and delivery data stored in DataStore Objects (advanced) or provided by Open ODS Views. Additional calculations can be added to CompositeProviders.
A CompositeProvider does not persist data but always processes data at run-time. A query is usually built on top of a Composite Provider.
A characteristic InfoObject can store master data such as attributes, texts, and hierarchies. Master data provides additional information in a business report.
It is possible to build a query directly on a characteristic InfoObject to directly report on master data values. For example, a list of customers in a specified region.
SAP BW/4HANA Layered Scalable Architecture (LSA)
Within the data modeling layer of SAP BW/4HANA, the different types of InfoPoviders are organized in a data flow to fulfill specific services. There are three main services:
- Flexible Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) Core
- Open Operational Data Store
These services are assigned to layers which help to structure the data flows, to improve transparency and to encourage re-usability of data models. This layered data modeling approach is called Layered Scalable Architecture (LSA). LSA was developed by SAP many years ago to provide a best-practice blueprint for all implementations of SAP BW. With the introduction of SAP BW/4HANA, LSA has been enhanced to support additional capabilities. This is called LSA ++.
In many scenarios it is necessary to incorporate additional layers in the data flow especially if your data is sourced from multiple systems and need to be combined.
You can include one or more DataStore Objects (advanced) into the data flow between the DataSource and CompositeProvider. The key objective is to create reusable layers so that you don't have to extract the same data again from the source systems.
However, the challenge is to avoid creating unnecessary data layers that create redundancies.