Introducing SAP Analytics Cloud

Explaining Data Sources and Connections

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

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain SAP Analytics Cloud 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 acquisition (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 image above is addressing on-premise 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.

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.

You can also create connections to remote systems to allow data acquisition. Data is imported (copied) to the SAP Analytics Cloud S/4HANA in-memory database, and changes made to the data in the source system do not affect the imported data.

The figure below illustrates the connection types and data connections environments.

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.

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 have to be engaged and have to 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 February 2022, there is no connection for Ariba. However, third party connections can be used.

SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector and Cloud Agent

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.

The SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector runs as an on-premise agent in a secured network and acts as a reverse invoke proxy between the on-premise networking customer domain and SAP Analytics Cloud. Due to its reverse invoke support, you do not need to configure the on-premise firewall to allow external access from the cloud to internal systems.

Compared to the approach of opening ports in the firewall and using reverse proxies in the customer domain to establish access to on-premise systems, the cloud connector has the following advantages:

  • The firewall of the on-premise network does not have to open an inbound port to establish connectivity from SAP Analytics Cloud to an on-premise system. In the case of permitted outbound connections, no modifications are required.
  • The SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector allows the identity of cloud users to be propagated to on-premise systems in a secure way.
  • The SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector is easy to install and configure. It comes with a low total cost of ownership and fits well to cloud scenarios. SAP provides standard support for the SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector.
Note

The machine where SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector is installed must allow outgoing HTTPS connections to be made to the data center hosting your SAP Analytics Cloud tenant.

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

  • 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.

It is recommended to install the SAP Analytics Cloud Agent on the same server as the SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector. For the majority of the data import scenarios, you will need both the SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector and the SAP Analytics Cloud Agent. For some sources that can be accessed via HTTP(S) protocol, you can just install the SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector. Examples of HTTP(S) datasources include SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, version for SAP NetWeaver and ODATA services.

If the data you want to import is stored on one domain, only one SAP Analytics Cloud system can be connected to one cloud connector, but the same cloud connector may be used by multiple SAP Analytics Cloud systems. For example, you may have one SAP Analytics Cloud tenant for development activities and another one for production use. In this scenario, you may use the same SAP BTP Connectivity Cloud Connector and SAP Analytics Cloud Agent for both SAP Analytics Cloud tenants. Although this setup is technically possible, it is still best practice to have separate setup for development and production.

If the data you want to import is stored on multiple domains, you can add multiple cloud connectors to a single SAP Analytics Cloud system. In this configuration, each cloud connector must be installed on a different domain.

Learning the flow of information between the Web browser, SAP Analytics Cloud, and your data source will help you plan a successful live connections project.

Using a live connection, SAP Analytics Cloud provides the business logic and builds the queries required to see your data in your browser. Your browser in turn sends those queries through a direct live connection to the on-premise data source. The results of those queries are returned to your browser, where visualizations are rendered. If your query was a list of profits per customer, for example, none of that information would actually return to or be stored in SAP Analytics Cloud.

Throughout the whole process, the browser is actually interacting through direct live connection (CORS), which in turn sends out the requests to SAP Analytics Cloud or the remote data source, depending on the path of each request.

Project Workflow

Data Implementation Workflow

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