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                                                                           SAP Business Objects powered by SAP HANA

                                                                         Author: Saurabh Raheja, Infosys Ltd., Chandigarh


This document will help us understand how SAP HANA can be utilized to achieve greater speed, efficiency and compression rates. With the help of SAP Business Objects on top of SAP HANA, there could be great speed and efficiency to build webi, crystal or any kind of reports. Let us take a common business scenario. In this business scenario we will see what approaches do an enterprise used to follow earlier and how we can make this business scenario better by using SAP Business Objects on top of SAP HANA.

Business Scenario

In any Business Enterprise:-

  • The volume of data goes on increasing continuously
  • Speed at which data increases is high.
  • There are many varieties of data sources which are being used in an enterprise e.g. Flat Files, RDBMS, etc.

Traditional Database: - It is used to store data on Hard disk drive (HDD).

Approach: - Query was sent to database layer, executed and data is returned to Application Layer. All the Logic and Calculations were performed at application layer. As a result, there was latency in read and write operations as every database R/W operation involves a heavy cost.

There were separate OLTP and OLAP systems,

These were the major bottlenecks of any business enterprise.

Solution to all these problems is SAP HANA.

What is SAP HANA??

  • High Performance Analytical Appliance
  • SAP HANA is an In Memory Database. Entire database is stored in Main Memory e.g. RAM.
  • SAP HANA is real-time data platform.
  • Through row and columnar storage, parallel processing and data compressions. Organizations can instantly analyze very large volume of transactional and analytical data.
  • It reads data in few  seconds which used to take 1 hour with traditional databases.
  • It is Cost effective, has better compression techniques and performance due to I/O operations
  • SAP HANA also has a persistence layer e.g. Solid State Drive(SSD),Flash Drive, etc. so that if power goes off we still have a backup of data.
  • SAP HANA follows push  down approach. No logics are processed at Application Layer. Calculations and logics are done at the database layer and result is returned to Application Layer.
  • SAP HANA allows us to use the benefits of both storage approaches OLTP and OLAP systems.

OLTP systems (Row storage)

  • High amount of write and update operations
  • Typically complete record needs to be accessed.
  • Processes only one record  at a time.
  • Allows reading large number of attributes against single key

OLAP systems (Column Storage)

  • High amount of read operations.
  • Calculations are performed on a single column or few columns.

SAP HANA Performance Benchmarks

The test system configuration is a 16-node cluster of IBM X5 servers with 8TB of total RAM. Each server has

4 CPUs with 10 cores and 2 hyper-threads per core, totaling

  • 40 cores
  • 80 hyper-threads
  • 512 GB of RAM
  • 3.3 TB of disk storage

Data compression occurs during the data loading process.

HANA concluded a greater than 20X compression rate The 100TB SD data set was reduced to a trim 3.78TB HANA database, consuming only 236GBs of RAM on each node in the cluster.

The Reporting and Drill-down queries took 267 milliseconds to 1.041 seconds.

This shows HANA’s excellent ability to aggregate, analyze and calculate data.

Why SAP HANA with Analytics?

Analytics tools help  us to collect huge amount of Big Data from an organization. We can extract  meaningful data. Business Objects solution from SAP can help us to unleash the power.

Business intelligence solutions have ability to make fact-based decisions and easily access  relevant information when and wherever needed throughout an enterprise. It  to better understand your business, act quickly and ultimately achieve remarkable results.

Enable rapid  decisions based on real-time business data

Maximize visibility and Simplify deployment.

SAP Business Objects

For analyzing data in HANA, SAP offers the SAP Business objects Business Intelligence suite of products. SAP Business Objects BI platform 4.1 is a suite of front end  applications.

The suite includes the following key applications:

  • SAP Crystal Report 2013 can connect directly to tables and views in HANA to create formatted reports
  • Dashboards -- Allows users to create interactive   dashboards that contain charts and graphs for visualizing data
  • Web Intelligence -- Provides a  self-service environment for creating ad-hoc queries and analysis of data.

SAP Business Objects Web Intelligence and Dashboards use relational Universes to connect to HANA to analyze data and create reports and visualizations.The universe can be based on views and tables in HANA.

Crystal Reports

  • Are highly formatted and pixel-perfect report
  • Connect to many data sources across your organization – directly or through a common semantic layer
  • Deliver operational reporting preferred language, format, and delivery method that can help you make day-to-daybusiness decisions

Web Intelligence Reports

  • Improve productivityby  giving users an intuitive tool
  • Improve ad hoc reporting and analytics across any data source, when you need them, no matter where you are.

What is Universe in Business Objects?

  • Universe is semantic layer (middleware) between database and end users.
  • Universe contains Objects that map to actual SQL structures in the database such as columns,tables, and database functions.
  • Objects are grouped into classes.
  • Objects and classes are both visible to Web Intelligence users
  • A schema of the tables and joins used in the database.
  • Web Intelligenceusers connect to a universe, and run queries against a database. They can do data analysis and create reports using the objects in universe without having to know anything about, the underlying data structures in the database

What is the role of a universe?

  • Universe is easy to use interface for non-technical Web Intelligence users to run queries to create reports and perform data analysis. 
  • You can use Universe designer to create objects that represent database structures. The objects that you create in the universe must be relevant to the end user business environment and vocabulary. These objects are used to present a business focused front end to the SQL structures in the database
  • In SAP Business Objects 4.0, a new tool "Information Design Tool” replaced Universe Designer tool.
  • Using Information Design Tool, you can build universe (UNX) that are stored in SAP Business Objects BI platform repository. The universe do not store data themselves
  • Relational universes can be built directly on tables or views in HANA.

SAP Business Objects BI 4.0 on SAP HANA

Earlier any enterprise was running SAP Business Objects on Oracle, SQL Server, or DB2 as the application layer databases. In SAP Business Objects BI4, SAP introduced to utilize SAP Business Objects tools using SAP HANA as the  data source.


  • It is the front-end software delivered with HANA
  • It enables users to administer HANA database and to do modeling of data in HANA to create views.
  • Information Design Tool (IDT) included in SAP Business Objects business Intelligence 4.0 platform can be used to create universe based on HANA data. Using the Information modeler perspective in SAP HANA Studio, analytical and calculation views can be created in HANA based     on the data in underlying tables. The view do not store data themselves 

How to generate reports for end user using SAP HANA.

There are basically three major steps of using SAP HANA:-

  • Loading data into  HANA from an existing data source.
  • Modeling the data in  HANA to facilitate data analysis
  • Analyzing the data in HANA using Business Intelligence tools.

For loading data into HANA there are two methods:-

  • SAP Landscape Transformation(SLT) - Used to move data from SAP supported database into SAPHANA. The data replication is done in real time, so changes in the  original data source are immediately replicated to HANA
  • Data ServicesTransformation- SAP BODS 4.0 can be used to move data from any data sourceto SAP HANA. Provides both data transformation and data replication functionality.

For modeling data into HANA:-

  • Using SAP HANA Studio you can create views e.g. attribute, analytical and calculation views on top of HANA database tables.These views enabled the end user for making reports in best performance.

For analyzing data using SAP Business Objects

  • You must first create a relational connection to the HANA database using JDBC or ODBC driversfor the universe that connects to SAP HANA
  • Once you have created a relational connection to SAP HANA, the next step is to create the data foundation layer for the  universe. When connecting to SAP HANA, you can build your data foundation by selecting the appropriate tableand creating joins between them or directly on a pre-existing analytic or calculation view.
  • Once you have built your data foundation on an SAP HANA view, you can finish your universe by creating a business layer that specifies the folders, dimensions, and measures that will be available to users when they connect to the universe using one of theclient tools.
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