Identifying ABAP CDS Views in the Virtual Data Model of SAP S/4HANA


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Identify ABAP CDS Views in the Virtual Data Model of SAP S/4HANA


In the previous unit, we have loaded data from SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA using ODP_SAP DataSources. In SAP S/4HANA, the data model has changed significantly compared to SAP ECC. The Virtual Data Model, built with ABAP CDS Views, offers SAP S/4HANA embedded analytics. ABAP CDS Views are also used for data provisioning related to SAP BW/4HANA.


Virtual Data Model

Top level: UIs (SAC, BI, and Application. Lower level: Transactional system, such as SAP S/4HANA, containing VDM and Database layer.

With SAP HANA as an in-memory database, you must define a model so that it recombines existing data instead of storing new data. So, for SAP S/4HANA, a virtual data model was developed that must support many use cases, such as planning and enterprise search. SAP did not want to develop separate virtual data models for each of these use cases, especially when they have so much in common. Therefore, SAP developed a flexible technology, ABAP-Managed Core Data Services (CDS), which is used to create a virtual data model built with ABAP CDS views.

So, what are ABAP CDS Views?

Top layer: UI. Middle layer: Application Server (ABAP). Bottom layer: Database Server (SAP HANA).

ABAP CDS views are developed, maintained, and extended in the ABAP layer of the SAP S/4HANA system. They are ABAP artifacts, and are physically stored in the ABAP repository, where the ABAP programs reside. They do not reside in SAP HANA.

ABAP CDS views do not contain ABAP code: they contain standard SQL plus annotations to enrich the data. Annotations are added to the native SQL to enrich the data when it arrives at the ABAP layer. The annotations describe:

  • How the view can be used, for example, for online analytical processing use only.
  • Restrictions, for example, for the country France only.
  • Business context, for example, this account is a supplier, not a customer.
We advise you to refer to the views carefully as ABAP CDS views because there is another type of CDS view that is managed and stored in the SAP HANA platform. These views are called SAP HANA native CDS views. These CDS views are not relevant to SAP S/4HANA embedded analytics.

When the ABAP CDS view is activated, an SQL view is generated in the SAP HANA database. The runtime for ABAP CDS views is ABAP, so an SAP NetWeaver stack is required to execute ABAP CDS views. SAP S/4HANA is built on an SAP NetWeaver stack, so it is perfectly suited to this scenario.

ABAP CDS views are built using the ABAP editor for Eclipse or using a simple SAP Fiori application that key users may also be keen to use.

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