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Live Data Connection in SAP Analytics Cloud: pros & cons


Dear SAC Community,

I would like to collect some thoughts about SAC & Live Data Connection (we are using live connection to BW4 2.0).

From one side, Live Data Connection is great from the maintenance perspective:

  • We don’t need to build row level security in SAC, as the BW4 framework is reused (what user is able to see in BW4, will be able to see in SAC without additional configuration), we can easily reuse authorization relevant InfoObjects with variables.
  • We don’t need to transfer any data to SAC and setup scheduled jobs.
  • We can easily reuse BW components, hierarches, texts, variables.
  • BW Query changes are reflected in SAC immediately.

However, Live Data Connection brings some serious downsides:

  • Some BW4 data models changes are just not reflected in SAC. Sometimes it is enough to re-save the SAC model or rebuild and refresh BW Info Provider DTA buffer, but sometimes the change is not visible for existing SAC Stories (or SAC Story starts to work in a not predictable way, throwing random errors). Sometimes the only workaround is to rebuild the SAC model & story from scratch (imagine doing that for 60+ productive stories)! In note 2789695 - Considerations when changing backend data models used in SAP Analytics Cloud through live connections, SAP advices to keep changes of backend models used in productive SAC stories to a minimum, which is not possible with living environment where the change is written in a DNA. SAC is losing the synchronization between the backend meta data and the remote model's meta data for changes like common InfoObject length change, new authorization variable in a model.
  • Performance. It is extremely important to build queries for SAC in a proper way (tailor made queries), but even with that, the general performance is whimsical. Sometimes is good, sometimes is not, sometimes some strange errors pop up (variable submit error, error 2981, error 70 ) (but we have thousands of users every day and for sure that is important performance factor).
  • Many bugs, especially with blending, hierarchies, and structures. I can’t count how many notes I’ve implemented recently (and our BW4 is rather up to date, SP5 now) and how many types of errors I’ve seen.
  • SAC features not supported for Live Data Connection, especially smart features (Discovery, Predict, Insights), for Search to Insight authorization characteristics are not supported… Every quarter we get a list of new SAC features, but I always first need to check what is working for Live Data Connection.

I really appreciate Live Connection in SAC, I really do. However, with number of challenges, sometimes I think that maybe import connection would be better. I would love to confront my opinion with someone else – what is your opinion about Live Connection? How stable is your setup?

Thanks in advance for any inputs, comments, thoughts!

Active Contributor

Hello Mateusz,

too bad you did not yet get any feedback by the community, so far...

I see the pain of a BW4 which has been developed completely new and a SAC which is updated every quarter and both are not in a mature state. I'm not sure if you saw the DSAG "Positionspapier" about BW4 (customer experience), but it is obvious why so many companies hesitate to upgrade to BW4.

We just can hope SAP is taking it serious with SAC as their strategic new front-end and puts more effort into a robust Live connection... since everything you write is true ... you cannot rebuild all your stories after a backend change or after every SAC upgrade.

There is one thing I would like to emphasize, too ... the backside of the medal which you did not address so far...

I've been working with SAC now for 1,5 years... I watched almost all SAC Webinars during that time, but what I miss is at least one about longterm administration tasks:

- How to deal with models if you loaded hundreds of millions of records into one model?

- Are you supposed to split them (semantical partioning for a dimension) for better performance?

- Housekeeping tasks you would have in a BW system, might become necessary, too.

Is this all obsolete? ... I doubt it.

What I mean: If you change some models from Live to Import, I'm sure you have to deal with different, maybe long-term issues, you don't know of, today.

In my personal opinion, SAC itself cannot be the only front-end in use. For graphical reporting it is a must-have nowadays, but if users a purely reporting on numbers and want to "work" with the data, I think Analysis Office is still the right choice - and not necessarily via SAC, but direct!

Btw. I thought "Smart Discovery" and the automatic forecast within a time-series chart should work live.

BR, Martin


Hi Martin,

Indeed, it is sad that no one picked up the topic... In recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms they mention not so obvious caution for SAC: lack of large community. We can see it on the job market, but also here. We don't have a lot of insightful discussions, the majority of questions are dead after 1 or 2 answers, not really accurate answers in many cases...

I am using SAC based on BW4 Live Connection for about 2 years, I run a huge implementation with thousands of users every day. I would love to admit, that Live Connection is better with every release, but it is not. With this amount of users, with a growing number of Stories and a lot of BW4 data flows changes, it is even worse and worse. A few weeks ago our SAC was heavily hit again, and we don't know even to root cause. Just one day multiple stories started to throw random errors (BRAIN 36 error).

In my opinion, for big companies, the true reason to invest in SAC is Live Connection (if your organization is using S/4 and/or BW4). You can keep your backend responsible for a big part of reporting (just to name one, authorization framework). If you want to upload data to the BI tool, the market is full of more mature tools. But If the live data connection is not stable, reliable, and is not performing well, then it is a huge concern. And that is my case, maybe because of the scale and complexity, maybe SAC is just not intended to be used with this amount of users and not with this tremendous traffic between BW4 and SAC.

What you mention about Acquired Data makes me even more concerned. Of course, sometimes I think we can reduce the number of errors, performance issues etc. by just switching some critical dashboards into imported models... Based on experience with those stats models provided by SAP (which cause a lot of troubles, some CPU peaks etc.), I see it will be another journey. Of course, they are not exactly the same as data imported from BW4, but similar - activities, teams, users, this data are stored in SAC directly. Anyway, because of some serious concerns with SAP Cloud Agent, our Import Connection will be postponed and I can fully focus on improving the experience with Live Connection 🙂

BTW. Data Discovery is not working with Live Connection. Smart Insight neigher. Smart Predict neighter. The rest of the smart features (grouping, forecasting) are way less useful.

Best Regards,


Active Contributor

@ smuz this would be a great topic for a new Webinar.

And maybe you/the colleagues could highlight the improvements described in this note since May 2019.

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Hi Matesusz / Martin,

Really appreciate coming across this discussion, we are a long time deliberating on a full roll out of SAC using Live Connection with BW (though implementing BW/4 now). I have had concerns similar to those you mention on lack of features and performance. Have you any update on your experiences based on recent SAC updates? Have you managed to overcome any of your main issues?

Many thanks,


Hi @Colm Lynch, BW4 Live Connection is not getting better and is not getting many new features. Even more, for a long time, Smart Insights were marked as planned for BW4 Live, but it is not planned anymore. My main issues are still valid, with more users they are even more valid.

Personally, I wouldn't expect a big improvement for BW4 Live Connection, as now SAP DWC is in the game. This is a strategic data warehouse for SAP (very late, perhaps even too late, but finally SAP is really entering the Cloud analytics), well-integrated with SAC and some of challenges will be solved when using SAP DWC, I hope.

If you plan a massive implementation (thousand of users daily), think twice before taking BW4 Live Connection as the main connectivity in SAC. Well, think twice about SAC.

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Answers (2)

Answers (2)

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Hi Roland,

I do have a question for you and others.

Is there a limitation to the number of rows to be displayed while executing a SAC story in tabular format using live connection with S4 HANA systemin the backend..

Can the user see 2 million rows of data in a SAC Tabular format story?

For Example, we have multiple hierarchy nodes and we would like to expand and hence huge amount of data to be displayed.

Thank you,


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member123 could you please tell me how many cells of data can be pulled at a single shot in classical story table. If you have found the answer.

We have a story with single table with 18 columns and 10 input controls. Story built using Hana calculation view using live connection. When i open/run the report i get the message

"The data cannot be displayed: the query process was stopped before it finished because it returned too many records. Please try filtering your data.

Correlation ID: 37445833-5520-4986-b140-117643641833"

Thank You

Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
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Hello mateusz_mikulski

See my recent Blog - next Mystery solved – proper SAC Connection

After I have provided some Test Systems based on 7.50 and BW/4 2.0 to the SAC Development, the so called "live connection" is the best approach.

the main challenges from my side is, that there are still way too much data is send to SAC and also too much calculation are done on the SAC instance before sending the data to the End User.

If the SAP BW(/4) would be used more for what it stands for, e.g. OLAP processing, calculations, planning, consolidation, etc. and only sending the needed data to SAC the response would be quicker, the Network Stream lower and the overall Performance much better.

Finally: data sovereignty. with live connection no (sensitive) customer data is transferred and (even temporary) stored on the Amazon Hyperscaler Platform were SAP Analytics Cloud is build on has left the Company premises.

Blog - why SAP BW/4HANA?

Best Regards Roland