Third-Party Data Access

And Data Load Tools for

SAP Business Information Warehouse

 

SAP BW Versions 1.2b and 2.0x

 

 

 

Naeem Hashmi

Chief Technology Officer

 

Information Frameworks

P.O.Box 754

Londonderry, New Hashmpshire,03053

Tel: 603-432-4550

Email: nhashmi@infoframeworks.com

Web: http://infoframeworks.com

 

 September 10, 2001


 

DISCLAIMER

 

This document is prepared based on available information at the time of composing this report. As SAP certifies additional technology vendors or SAP adds new interfaces to SAP BW, information in this document may change at any time without notice.

 

Author recommends readers to visit SAP official WEB site http://www.sap.com for the latest information.

 



 

 

Table Of Contents

 

 

 

The SAP BW 2.0B: Open Data Interfaces

Certified Third-Party Data Access Products

Certified Products for OLAP BAPI(BW-OBI)

Certified Third-Party Data Extraction Transformation Loads (ETL ) Products to load data in SAP BW

Certified Data Provider BAPIís (BW-DPI BAPIís)

Summary

Reference

Author

 



The SAP BW 2.0B: Open Data Interfaces

 

 

The SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) is an open data warehouse environment.What this ďopennessĒ means is that SAP provides several methods to integrate SAP BW in any enterprise. These open methods include the following types of interfaces:

 

        Flat Files Interface. This is native to SAP BW. SAP BW supports common flat data file formats, such as comma separated files, Microsoft Excel files, etc.

 

        DB-Link Interface:This is a database specific technology that enables SAP BW to import data.In SAP BW 2.0B, this type of interface was limited to Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server database only.

 

        Application Programming Interfaces (APIís) to load data in as well as to access information from its data stores that are platform independent. (Hardware, software, databases, etc.)

 

The BASIS technology on which SAP BW is built-on, offers several classes of APIís.Most of the APIs are based on Remote Function Calls (RFCís) that are common to all SAP products including SAP BW.The RFCís are the most widely used mechanisms to interact with SAP business functions, processes and data. Java and COM implementations established to interact with SAP processes are nothing more than wrappers around RFCís to make development tasks simple.

 

SAP provides several product-specific Business APIs (BAPIís), which are object-oriented interface implementations using RFCís that most developers use to interact with SAP products.

 

SAP offers following categories of BAPIs for SAP BW:

 

  1. Data Load. APIs are called Staging BAPIs or SBAPI.
  2. Data Access. OLEDB for OLAP and OLAP BAPI.
  3. Data Mining. APIs to integrate BW with Data Mining Tools (in BW 3.0)

 

In addition to data load BAPIís, SAP BW also supports a flat file interface to import data from common flat file data formats, such as a comma delimited file or Microsoft Excel file.In addition to BAPIís, SAP BW also supports Microsoft OLEDB for OLAP API to access data from SAP BW and develop analytical applications against SAP BW data stores. This OLEDB for OLAP interface is often used by third-party OLAP tools to build ad hoc query, reporting, and analytical applications.

 

To assure that integrity of SAP BW components is not compromised, third party tools vendors and SAP go through a rigorous exercise to certify that third-party products are in compliance with available APIís for each version of SAP BW.†† In the chapter 15 of my book ĎBusiness Information Warehouse for SAPí, you will find an example of how to integrate 3rd party data access tools with SAP BW.

 

The following sections list SAP certified products that load data in SAP BW or access data from SAP BW.

 


Certified Third-Party Data Access Products (BW ODB)

 

 

Vendor

Product

Product Version

BW API Version

arcplan Information Services AG

URL: http://www.arcplan.com

 

inSight

 

dynaSight

2.5

 

3.0

BW-ODB 1.2

 

BW-ODB 1.2

BW-ODB 2.0

Brio Technology, Inc.

URL: http://www.Brio.com

 

Brio Enterprise

6.0

BW-ODB 1.2

Business Objects

URL: http://www.businessobjects.com

 

BusinessObjects BW Connect

 

BusinessObjects

5.1.1

BW-ODB 2.0

 

 

BW-ODB 1.2

Cognos, Inc.

URL: http://www.cognos.com/sapbw

 

PowerPlay SAP BW Interface

1.0

BW-ODB 1.2

BW-ODB 2.0

Comshare

URL: http://www.comshare.com

Comshare Decision

2.5.1

BW-ODB 1.2

 

Information Businders: URL: www.informationbuilders.com/products

 

WebFOCUS for SAP BW

4.3

BW-ODB 2.0

MIS Technologies

URL: http://www.misag.com

 

MIS Alea

 

OnVision

3.7

 

2.0

BW-ODB 1.2

 

BW-ODB 2.0

PointOut GmbH URL: http://www.pointout.de

PointOut for BW

8.01

BW-ODB 1.2

Seagate Software

URL: http://www.seagatesoftware.com

 

Seagate Worksheet
Seagate Crystal Reports
Seagate Holos

7
7

7

BW-ODB 1.2

SAS Institute

URL: http://www/sas.com

Enterprise Guide

1.2

BW-ODB 2.0

Ton Beller AG

URL: http://www.tonbeller.com

Qubon

 

 

2000

BW-ODB 1.2

 


 

Certified Products for OLAP BAPI(BW-OBI)

 

The OLAP BAPIís are new as of SAP BW, release 2.0 and are more powerful than OLEDB for OLAP. OLAP BAPIís are more powerful because the OLEDB for OLAP API is based on Microsoftís OLAP standard, which is based on Microsoftís Analysis Services and is limited to Microsoftís platform. On the other hand, OLAP BAPIís are platform independent and provide additional functionality that may be limiting due to ODBO specifications.Thus far, there is only one vendor that has been certified for OLAP BAPI.

 

Vendor

Product

Product Version

BW API Version

Arcplan Information Services AG

URL: http://www.arcplan.com

dynaSight

2.5

BW-OBI 2.0

 

 


Certified Third-Party Data Extraction Transformation Loads (ETL ) Products to load data in SAP BW.

 

The data Extraction, Transformation, and Load (ETL) process is common to all data warehouses.SAP BW provides built-in methods to perform ETL as part of the business content for SAP R/3 OLTP.However, when data sources are not generated from SAP R/3 OLTP, third-party ETL tools can be used to perform ETL functions along with SAP BW data transformation capabilities.

 

The most common data load API for SAP BW is called the Staging BAPI (SBAPI). The reason behind the name ďstagingĒ is that such BAPIís do not load data directly in a database data stores; they interact with the database engine through the SAP BW Staging engine, which handles data manipulations and loads data in the reporting data stores. The basic principle behind Staging BAPIís is that the third-party tools communicate with the SAP BW staging engine through a Remote Function Call (RFC) server.The RFC server is registered in SAP BW as part of the third-party data source definition. In the chapter 14 of my book ĎBusiness Information Warehouse for SAPí, you will find an example of how to integrate 3rd party ETL tools with SAP BW.

 

The following list shows certified vendors/products for SAP BW 1.2x and BW 2.0x. Other vendors may also provide products to load data in SAP BW but have not certified by SAP.

 

Vendor

Product

Product Version

BW API Version

Acta Technology, Inc.

URL: http://www.acta.com

ActaWorks

 

ActaWorks

3.0

 

5.0

BW-STA 1.2

 

BW-STA 2.0

Ascential Software, Inc.

URL: http://www.ascentialsoftware.com

DataStage load pack for SAP BW

3.6

BW-STA 1.2

Evolutionary Technologies

URL: http://www.eti.com

ETI*EXTRACT

1.0

BW-STA 1.2

Hummingbird Communications URL: http://www.hummingbird.com

Gťnio

3.0

BW-STA 1.2

Informatica Corporation

URL: http://www.informatica.com

PowerCenter

4.5

BW-STA 1.2

Informix Software

URL: http://www.informix.com

Prism Connect for BW

2.0

 

3.6

BW-STA 1.2

Information Builders

URL: www.informationbuilders.com/products

SNAPpack Data Migrator

2.6

BW-STA 1.2

SeeBeyond Deutschland

URL: http://www.seebeyond.com

e*WayTM Adapter

for R/3

4.1

BW-STA 2.0

systemfabrik GmbH

URL: http://ssystemfabrik.com

Business Warehouse Connector

4.0

BW-STA 1.2

Mercator Software

URL: http://www.tsisoft.com

Mercator for R/3

1.4.2

BW-STA 1.2

NSX Software:

URL: http://www.nsxsoftware.com

NSX Data Stager

1.1

BW-STA 1.2

SeeBeyond

URL: http://www.seebeyond.com

e*Way Adapter for R/4

4.1

BW-STA 2.0

systemfabrik

URL:

Bw Connector

4.0

BW ĖSTA 1.2

WRQ, Inc.

URL: http://www.wrq.com

VeraStream for Business Warehouse

 

7

 

8

BW-STA 1.2

 

BW ĖSTA 2.0

 


Certified Data Provider BAPIís (BW-DPI BAPIís)

 

The Data Provider BAPIís (BW-DPI BAPIís) support a real-time interface for transaction applications to display and analyze data at the business explorer level without storing data in an InfoCube.Through the use of BW-DPI BAPIs, real-time interfaces to syndicated data providers can be designed. The BW-DPI interface provides a method to update and retrieve metadata, send master data extracts to the SAP BW and retrieve external transaction data.The following vendor provides a Data Provider BAPIís that is certified to work with SAP BW.

 

 

Vendor

Product

Product Version

BW API Version

ACNielsen U.S.

URL: http://www.acnielsen.com

 

EDW* Connect

1.02

BW-DPI 1.2

 


Summary

 

This documents lists all SAP-certified products that either load data into SAP BW or access data for reporting as of April 18, 2001.There are other vendors not included in this list who also claim their products to work with SAP BW.It is a good idea to make certain that any product that you select to use has been certified for the version of SAP BW that you are planning to implement as BAPI and OLAP interfaces are often SAP BW version specific.

 

To date, SAP has not defined any BAPIís or a certification process to extract data from SAP BW.Third-party ETL vendors suggest that their tools can be used to extract data from SAP BW.If you choose to use ETL tools to extract data from SAP BW make sure that when the tool access SAP BW at the database level, the integrity of extracted information is not compromised and does not interrupt the SAP BASIS operations.

 

The extraction of data from SAP R/3 is a huge challenge.Some of the tools listed in this documents can also extract data from SAP R/3 at an application layer.Check with the vendor of choice listed in this document to see if their product can help you extract data from SAP R/3 OLTP.Also make sure that the third-party ETL tool you choose to work with does not access data from SAP R/3 OLTP at the database level.Not accessing data at the application layer will interrupt SAP R/3 OLTP operations and cause you to get inconsistent data.Furthermore, SAP does not recommend users access information from SAP R/3 OLTP at the database level.

 

Reference

For latest listing of certified BW interfaces and products

Author

 

Naeem Hashmi is Founder and Chief Technology Officer of the Information Frameworks. Naeem is a practitioner, architect, and a pioneer in ERP Data warehousing with well over 24 years of actual product development in emerging Information technologies, research, education, product management covering such technologies as Information Delivery Architecture; e-Business; ERP applications; Data Warehousing; Data Mining; CRM, Internet, Object and Client/Server Technologies; Enterprise Application Integration, Information Architectures and solutions deployment in large global companies.

A former Technical Director and Senior Technologist and Solution Architect for Compaq/Digital, Naeem directed early SAP BW customer projects and the Benchmark and Engineering Group at Compaq/Digital.Naeem has worked directly with SAP management and engineering team members in defining requirements and architecture for SAP BW.

 

Naeem authored the best selling book on BW titled,ďBusiness Information Warehouse for SAPĒ. He is a member of Intelligent ERP magazineís board of editors, is a frequent speaker at IT industry conferences.Naeem is a Nuclear Physicist and Radiological Health and Environmental Scientist with heavy focus on high performance computing and data mining.Naeem can be reached at nhashmi@infoframeworks.com.

 

 

About the Information Frameworks

 

The Information Frameworks is a strategic, tactical advisory and consulting organization specializing in defining information frameworks and technologies suited best for horizontal and vertical industry specific e-business solution. Key focus areas are enterprise architecture, enterprise business intelligence, application integration, and technology transfer. The Information Frameworks plays a pivotal role among Information Technology providers and its Consumers to architect integrated eBusiness Intelligence and Integration solutions that address eBusiness implementation challenges today and years to come.

 

Information Frameworks

P. O. Box 754

Londonderry, NH 03053

Tel: 603-661-6820

Web: http://infoframeworks.com