SAP is shipping this week BW/4HANA, the next generation of its Business Warehouse software that is specifically designed to run on the vendor's HANA in-memory database system.
The new edition of Business Warehouse is another indication of how focused SAP is in developing so many of its products for the HANA platform: The software runs only on HANA, rather than supporting relational database software from Oracle, Microsoft and other vendors as earlier versions of BW have.
"We have to fundamentally simplify the data warehouse architecture," said Ken Tsai, vice president of product marketing for cloud platform and data management, in an interview with CRN.
"This is a new product for next-generation data warehousing," Tsai said. "We believe this is a new way of doing data warehousing going forward. And it's built for the cloud."
The HANA in-memory database has been the core of SAP's product development efforts for several years now. The Waldorf, Germany-based company debuted SAP S/4HANA, a version of its flagship ERP application suite specifically developed for the HANA platform, in February 2015.
Data warehouses are traditionally complex, expensive and time-consuming projects that can take months and millions of dollars to build.
SAP has some 15,000 customers that have installed BW, including about 3,700 that have the software running on HANA.
But the new edition is a "HANA-only" data warehouse system that instead of running on databases such as the Oracle Database and Microsoft's SQL Server, runs on HANA and provides a single, consolidated view of data from multiple sources. "It's the same design principal as S/4HANA," Tsai said.
BW/4HANA is designed to work with data that companies have stored in multiple locations, including in on-premise and cloud systems – a significant point given that many businesses are implementing and running hybrid IT systems today.
The BW/4HANA system can "consume" data warehouse objects in the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud and has built-in connectivity to SAP Digital Boardroom, the company's portal that works with BusinessObjects Cloud to provide executives with business performance metrics and ad hoc analysis capabilities.