Creating Analytic Models in SAP HANA Studio – Question and Answer Responses


The following is a list of the questions from my recent webinar on “Creating Analytic models in SAP HANA Studio”. You can view an on-demand version of the webinar by registering at the following link (View On Demand). I have also included my responses to the questions that we were unable to answer due to time constraints.

Overview:

Creating Analytic Models in SAP HANA Studio (View On Demand).

Embedded within SAP HANA® standalone is a series of OLAP style components that aids in the creation of mulit-dimensional analytic models based on SAP HANA in-memory columnar based tables.  This content is the starting point for connecting SAP® BusinessObjects™ 4.0 Universes, Reports, OLAP tools, Dashboards, and Exploration Views to SAP HANA data.

In this webinar, you will hear directly form an experienced SAP HANA modeler about the various options for modeling data within SAP HANA.

Q&A Responses:

SAP HANA Expert Series
Creating Analytic Models in SAP HANA Studio
Question and Answer Session

Question: Can we build a BOBJ Universe on top HANA? What are the means of accessing HANA with BOBJ tools?

Answer: You can build a Universe directly on your SAP HANA models. They are made available through the standard ODBC / JDBC HANA driver and found in the _SYS_BIC. schema.

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Question: Are the analytical modeling capabilities as powerful as those that can be done in SAP BW via complex transformation logic or will BW remain the solution for more complex transformation of data?

Answer: There are two paths for utilizing SAP HANA. The first is HANA standalone. With this solution you will utilize Data Services 4.0, BOBJ 4.0 and SAP HANA modeling to mimic the capabilities of BW. The second path is SAP BW powered by SAP HANA. In this solution you continue to utilize BW NW 7.3 as normal. The main difference is that the underlying RDMS is now SAP HANA. There are also optimizations within BW 7.3 that allow you to convert DSOs and InfoCubes into “In-Memory” optimized versions. This is how you leverage the power of SAP HANA without the need to learn a new tools set. To answer your question directly, I would argue that the modeling capabilities in SAP HANA will need to be supplemented with Data Services 4.0 to be “on-par” with the full capabilities of BW.

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Question: Does HANA database need to be Unicode complaint before migration from Oracle to HANA?

Answer: SAP HANA supports both UTF-8 and UTF-16 (NVARCHAR) columns. I am not clear on the context of the question but you can contact me on twitter @jdh2n.

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Question: How different is the HANA Row-based security from the BW analytic authorization? Can we leverage BW analytic authorization in HANA ?

Answer: I am not that familiar with this setup in BW but I would assume that there are a few major differences. For starters SAP HANA analytic authorizations are built on the HANA RDMS user and roles. The BW equivalent is based on BW users and roles. I am sure there are other differences as well but the overall concept will be the same.

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Question: Are the derived Attribute calculations executed in real time or are they retrieved during query execution?

Answer: They are executed in real-time. The data is not stored in the SAP HANA models. It remains in the SCHEMA tables and is calculated as requested.

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Questions: How secure are the analytical views?

Answer: Analytic views can be secured in a few ways. First, you can secure their parent package. This will allow you to limit developers from modifying packages that they do not own. Secondly, you can secure them within the _SYS_BIC schema all the way down to the individual components of the model.  For example, I can limit one DB role to only see 1 of 15 Analytic Views available within the HANA repository. Finally, you can apply Analytic Privileges to secure data rows from returning during query execution.

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Question: There was mention of variables not being recognized by WebI until 4.1 is released. What is the workaround if there is any to use SAP BusinessObjects reporting on SAP HANA using variables?

Answer: You can create filters in the Universe or Reports when accessing an Analytic View or Calculation View via a Universe. They are passed to SAP HANA for processing but not always in the most advantageous way. You can also create Universes directly on the SAP HANA row/columnar tables and by pass SAP HANA modeling content. Filters in this method are directly executed against the SAP HANA tables.

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Question: The various views are logical views without physical data? Where is the data stored?

Answer: The data is stored “In-Memory” and accessed via the defined columnar / row tables. When you request data via an Analytic View or Calculation View, code is executed to retrieve the data from the base SAP HANA RDMS tables.

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Question: What are the criteria for Row- versus Column-based Table?

Answer: Use row tables for normalized OLTP data and running applications like SAP ECC. Use Columnar Tables for querying, reporting, dash boarding, visualization, analytical and data exploration based BI tools.

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Question: Has there been any thought about allowing for integration between traditional data modeling tools and SAP HANA Studio?

Answer: SAP Data Services 4.0 is tightly integrated with SAP HANA. In short, this integration already exists.

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Question: Can we have attribute views within an attribute view?

Answer: Embedded Attribute Views are not possible at this time. You can create derived Attribute Views but this is not the same as embedding attribute views within other attribute views.

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Question: Can we have multiple fact tables with in an Analytic View?

Answer: Yes, but it will slow the performance. It is better to combine them into a single table, utilizing Data Services 4.0 prior to loading them into SAP HANA.

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Question: Where is HANA metadata stored?

Answer: In the _SYS_BIC and _SYS_REPO schemas.

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Question: What is blob equivalent data type in SAP HANA?

Answer: SAP HANA supports the BLOB type.

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Question: What are the presentation tools for SAP HANA DB?

Answer: SAP BusinessObjects tools. This would include, Web Intelligence, Crystal Reports, Explorer, Analysis for OLAP, Analysis for Office.

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Question: If we implement BI 7.3 on HANA, do we need to us HANA Studio?

Answer: SAP NW 7.3 BW powered by HANA does not require the use of SAP HANA Studio. It has direct support for SAP HANA utilizing what is called “In-Memory” optimized Info Cubes and DSO’s.

2 comments

  1. For Explorer views built on universe with underlying HANA views, will Analytical Privileges work? Are there any limitations. We see that APs work fine on WebI and Explorer reports directly built on HANA view.

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