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.
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:
- Direct Connection
- 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.
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.
Establishing the connection settings requires people with expertise from different areas of your organization to ensure a smooth deployment:
|Type of User||Area of Expertise|
|SAP Analytics Cloud system owner||SAP Analytics Cloud settings, such as SAML 2.0 settings, users and roles management, and connection settings.|
|Data source expert||Connectivity layer and security (SAP HANA, SAP BW or SAP BW/4HANA, SAP S/4HANA, and so on).|
|Network expert||Proxy, firewall, DNS server, and so on.|
|Security expert||SAML 2.0, your organization's Identity Provider (IdP), SSL certificates, and so on.|
|Information system architect||General architecture topics.|
|Application expert||SAP 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.
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.