Tuesday, August 08, 2006

SAP NetWeaver BI and SAP BI Accelerator

If you see the BI market, and to that matter any market to say, it is getting crowded like never before. Today we have large number of players catering both to both BI Applications and BI platform market place. Apart from this, there are niche players like whose focus is only performance boosting, data quality and so forth.

For me, I just follow Oracle BI tools and these days Siebel Analytics and some of the related offering. Also had spend some time with Hyperion product line in my previous assignment. But it always good to know some bits and pieces about offerings form other vendors.

Today I ran into this whitepaper describing SAP BI Accelerator. The whitepaper focuses on how does BIA fits in the typical SAP BI implementation. I had hardly followed SAP BI offerings in past, except that I read some news group discussion on SAP BW vs other data warehouse technologies and stuff. However this article did give me some insight on what is SAP NetWeaver BI and how a typical implementation of SAP BI works. Sort of high-level view of what could be the architecture of SAP BI. To me, SAP BI closely resembles to Siebel Analytics. Setting up SAP BI would consist of defining the data model, which could consist of either relation tables (ODS) or dimension data model (Infocubes).

Like any other relational OLAP implementation, SAP BI allows you to create Aggregates and define the metadata for the same. This will allow the query to be redirected to them instead of base tables. However, this aggregates like any in Siebel Analytics needs to be maintained outside the SAP BI purview. Also these aggregates are pre-defined and can cater to limited set of queries. So here comes BI Accelerator for the rescue. With BIA setup, you no more need to set up the aggregates. The BIA would in turn use the inbuilt proprietary technology to aggregate the data and cache it for subsequent hits. The concept behind BI Accelerator is close to HOLAP as author Naeem Hashmi from Information Frameworks says
For Data Warehouse pros, the concept of BI accelerator is similar to good old HOLAP, although the technology and approach is radically different. Meaning, the content is transformed into proprietary structures in another layer on top of Relational-OLAP implementation. User access layer sends incoming queries to HOLAP for quick access/navigation instead of Relational-OLAP. The only difference here is that BI accelerator uses powerful search engine technology, transparent to traditional data warehouse end users.”

The white paper is a good read and gives some fundamental insights of BI Accelerator.


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