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When it's well managed, data is a resource that can provide your business with immense value. The thing is, data is getting harder to tame. Companies have different products, customer segments, suppliers, and business entities, all producing data at an unprecedented rate. All this data means that companies are faced with data sprawl and can struggle to establish one source of truth.

SAP is at the forefront of data warehousing solutions that will manage your data and tame data sprawl. SAP Business Warehouse (BW) has been helping companies organize their data since 1998. SAP SQL Data Warehousing has been on the market for over a year now and we recently introduced SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.

All three products easily integrate into your existing system landscape to give you a single view of the truth that's accessible through one gateway. They all make your data available in real-time and enable agile analytics. Above all else, they connect your data to the right people so they can use it to make better decisions.

The critical difference between SAP's three data warehouses is where they store your data; on-premise or in the cloud [read On-premise or cloud for more information]. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is a cloud product. SAP BW/4HANA and SAP SQL Data Warehousing are on-premise products. SAP SQL Data Warehousing also supports the SAP Cloud Platform environment. With these three products from SAP, it doesn't matter where you are on your data journey; we have an option for you. Importantly, you can use any combination of these products - an on-premise cloud hybrid, for example - because they all connect and complement each other.

To help you decide which product or solution is right for you, let's take a closer look at all three, including how they differ and how they connect.


Cloud: SAP Data Warehouse Cloud

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is our end-to-end cloud data warehousing option. It consolidates all your data sources in the cloud, acting as the single gateway for all your data - making it easily accessible with a simple and intuitive interface. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud runs on HANA and leverages its powerful database engine to access and process your data. It comes out of the box with amazing analytical capabilities that allow users to visualize their data and derive insights.

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is an enterprise-grade product. In other words, it was built with all users in mind: IT and line of business users. The product empowers business users to connect data, model, and visualize it themselves with premade industry-specific templates and native integration with SAP Analytics Cloud. While IT users get powerful modeling and governance functionalities.

Finally, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is an open product. It works with any data source, and although it comes with analytics built into it, you can use any tool you wish.


Learn how to extend SAP BW/4HANA to the cloud in this SAP Data Warehouse Cloud use case


On-Premise: SAP BW/4HANA and SAP SQL Data Warehousing

When it comes to running a data warehouse on-premise, SAP has two options: SAP BW/4HANA and SAP SQL DW. Deciding between them comes down to your company's skill set and your data sources (non-SAP or primarily SAP). Although they are different, it doesn't have to be an either-or, because SQL DW and BW/4 HANA connect easily.

SAP BW/4 HANA provides users with a tightly integrated and predefined solution that comes with all the tools and services needed to run a data warehouse. BW/4 HANA is for customers who already have ABAP in-house experience, an SAP footprint, or are already using an existing BW solution on any database. For example, BW/4 HANA comes with a lot of prebuilt models for any data you have coming in from SAP ERP systems. So you can get a jump straight in without having to build these manually.

SAP SQL Data Warehousing is an open solution for customers who don't have many SAP sources in their system landscape. It lets you use open standards like SQL and combine any tool or technology you want. Customers using SAP SQL DW will usually have existing in-house SQL knowledge so they can build a SQL data warehouse and its architecture themselves. Those with SQL knowledge can either use their existing toolset or use the SAP-toolset available on the HANA platform to model, build, and run an SQL Data Warehouse. These customers will be able to leverage the incredible power of SAP HANA to design their data warehouse using other technologies like Dimensional Modeling, Data Vault Modeling or 3rd Normal-Form, as HANA provides Multi-Model capabilities. SAP SQL DW can also be leveraged in the SAP Cloud Platform environment.

BW/4 HANA and SQL Data Warehousing are there to give on-premise customers options to meet their needs. They, of course, connect so users can have the best of both in one solution.


So What are the Differences?

Let's focus on the two predefined products: SAP BW/4 HANA and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.

A lot of the differences between the two come down to SAP Data Warehouse Cloud being a cloud solution and BW/4 HANA being on-premise. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is SaaS, so it's cheaper, doesn't require setup or installation, and SAP, as your SaaS provider, will take care of updates and maintenance. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud also gives you the elasticity to distribute computing resources easily, which is a cloud feature and isn't possible for on-premise software like BW/4 HANA.

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is an enterprise-grade product, so it's friendlier for business users than BW/4 HANA. Business users can get data from Data Warehouse Cloud themselves – using SQL or a business-friendly drag and drop graphical interface to jump start their analytics project.


So How Do They Connect?

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and BW/4 HANA connect seamlessly and give you flexibility. If you decide to connect the two, you can do whatever you want with your data. You can choose to move it from BW/4 HANA to SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, or the data can stay where it is, and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud can consume the datasets directly from BW/4 HANA - without replicating them. Alternatively, you can try a hybrid approach and leave some data on-premise in BW/4 HANA and put some in the cloud in SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. It's up to you.

For example, existing BW/4 HANA customers that have already built complex models and logic into BW/4 HANA can look at extending their on-premise solutions in the cloud. The IT department running BW/4 HANA can give business users access to the data they need, all while making sure the data is governed and trusted. Business users can then use SAP Data Warehouse Cloud to model their data, visualize it, and derive insights through its built-in analytics.

With SAP Data Warehouse Cloud connected to your BW systems, you can also make relevant data easily accessible to business users. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud lets you build a semantic layer to make everything understandable for the whole company. With this, you can consolidate your data - from SAP and non-SAP sources - and make it accessible for broad consumption. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud's pre-built models are based on industry-specific best practices, so IT won’t have to validate and optimize models created by business users. Everyone will get one source of easy-to-understand truth.


A Solution For Your Needs - SAP Data Warehouse Cloud

Whether you are an existing BW/4 HANA customer or new to SAP, it's time to try a data warehouse in the cloud. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is the only end-to-end data management and decision-making cloud solution designed for business.

It can be customized to meet the needs of your business and lets you access data stored on-premises, in the cloud, or both. It will also scale with your business, so you can start with your very first use case and scale as your needs change.