TechEd 2021: announcement of the BW Bridge and the Interdobs FAQ!
Today SAP has formally announced new Data Warehouse Cloud (DWC) functionality which should make the customer journey from on premise into the cloud easier. Its name: “The BW Bridge”.
The BW bridge is brand new and will be available for customers in 2022. By design, it creates a bridge between on prem SAP BW systems and DWC. Its main goal is therefore twofold: to make a future transition into the Cloud more easily for those customers who do not want their software to live on premise anymore. The other use case, customers who will make use of the SAP RISE offering and want to extend their Cloud hosted BW system with DWC functionality.
We can imagine that this announcement brings many questions and therefore we have put the most important ones into this FAQ.
Here we go again, is BW death?
NO, No and No. BW 7.5 on HANA is supported until 2030. BW/4HANA, SAP’s most recent flagship, is supported until at least 2040. 2040, let that sink in for a moment. 20 years ago, I started my BW career in BW 3.0 and extracted a SAP R/3 4.5 system. We were just getting used to the Euro and the millennium bug. Those are the timelines that we get from the roadmap. BW is not death, nor will it be in my career and yours, the reader.
What is the BW Bridge when we look under it’s hood?
In short, a full blown (!) BW/4HANA system without the reporting (analytical) capabilities. Meaning that you will have a full BW system in the cloud to model complex scenarios.
The picture above shows us a couple of important things, the Bridge is only available from BW7.3 onwards. That means that older BW systems with legacy BW objects (like cubes and DSOs) will not be supported. That also means that in order to use the BW Bridge, clients will have to migrate into BW/4 Objects. This in itself can be a challenge when underlying BW systems still make have use of legacy objects. We at Interdobs have done many conversions and are able to give full support to make the transition into new BW/4 objects as smooth as possible.
The picture above also tells us that Queries will not be supported in the Bridge, they cannot be used as reporting objects but need to be transferred to DWC together with the models in order to use further in dashboards and AFO. BW models will be created as remote tables in DWC and can from there one be further used in DWC modelling.
Last but not least we see that the Bridge supports AMDP and ABAP transformations, as it is a full blown BW system with all the bells and whistles.
Do I need DWC and a Bridge?
In many cases, No. A recent BW 7.5 (on HANA) or BW/4 system is very feature rich. The product has almost 25 years of SAP developments under its belt. It runs great under HANA and has the ability to connect to numerous source systems. In addition, in BW4, development in an agile/DevOps way, is very easy.
So when do I need a Bridge?
The prime use case is to enable a public SaaS Cloud only strategy and gradually grow into that from a BW on premise situation. Gradually shifting BW functionality into DWC will be a long customer journey. Not all BW functionality is available in DWC, so the Bridge will be required for a long period of time.
The second is self service modelling and dashboarding. The Bridge will extend BW with more end user (LOB) functionality and will be therefore be useful for self service data modelling and reporting. Something SAP Analytics Cloud was lacking up to now.
Is the Bridge a one way street?
Yes. Even though SAP is not fully clear on that, we do know that the BW bridge has modelling capabilities itself. Meaning an advanced DSO can be created in the BW Bridge via Eclipse. There is no mechanism in place to circle back the changes made in the Bridge back to the “old” on premise system. Therefore, we believe the Bridge is a one way street.
What do I do in the Bridge and what in DWC?
The Bridge is a full BW system. It will have process chain functionality as well as the full BW4 cockpit and also connectivity to source systems is done in the Bridge. This in itself will bring interesting challenges as DWC itself also has connectivity possibilities. A clear architecture will be required in order not to end up with a very, very complex landscape. Decisions will have to be made. What is clear, is that reporting will be done in DWC.
Customers will be able to provision the BW Bridge next to the normal DWC provisioning. The bridge will be an add on which will have it’s own dedicated space in DWC. This space will only have remote virtual tables pointing towards the BW bridge tables (being ADSOs, Composites and InfoObjects). Once these are connected in the space, the virtual tables can be shared to other “normal” spaces and the data can be further modelled in DWC like any other source.
Is there a license impact?
Yes. The Bridge will be licensed in the same way as DWC. Via a SaaS consumption model, you pay for storage and compute. The BW Bridge can be calculated online via the DWC price calculator which can be found HERE.
Expect a (list) price for a medium BW system to be about 15k per month.
When is the Bridge available?
The tool supported move will be available from Q1 2022 for BW 7.4 and 7.5 customers. 7.3 customers will have to wait till the end of 2022.
Customers will have to use similar tools as we already know from the BW/4 migration tools to migrate the objects to the Bridge. Shell and Remote conversion (with and without data) will both be supported.
What is going to happen to BPC, BI-IP and SEM BCS?
The BW bridge will have no support for Planning and Consolidation. Customers will be urged to move to SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning and Group Reporting in S/4HANA for Consolidation. Both have their own license models.