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The Need for SAP BWA

by Dr. Berg

April 4, 2011

By Dr. Berg

Yesterday, my ten year old kid bought a 64GB RAM Apple gizmo. A gizmo that has more memory than many of the BI application severs leveraged by large companies.  Why is that?

Google does not rely on spinning magnetic disks, and most Internet savvy companies are getting their performance from in-memory processing that is hundreds of times faster than SAN disk systems.

The Performance Landscape Since 1990

Just think about it.. Since we started data warehousing in the 1990s, CPU performance has increased 5,066 times, Memory is 2,502 times cheaper, Network speed are over 1,000 times faster, while the poor magnetic disk has only improved its speed by 120 times. It is time to abandon this slow legacy technology. And this is where SAP is heading:

The first generation of BWA had many limitations. First, it could not index Operational Data Stores, just InfoCubes. Second, all logical processing of queries still occurred at the application server side (i.e. sorts and calculations), and finally data stores could not be linked inside the in-memory application. With small blades (16GB) and these limitations, many companies were unimpressed and decided to wait for better technology.

The Next Generation BWA

Now in 2011, companies can use quad-core processors, huge memory blades, index DSOs (and get rid of InfoCubes), and optimize many logical query functions in-memory. The implementations has also been simplified as vendors such as Dell, Fujitsu, IBM, Oracle, HP and others have entered the market as 'appliances" that are plugged on-top of existing BW systems in a matter of a few weeks instead of months. It is high time, that more of the BI community take advantage of these solutions.

This spri ng, SAP released its latest BWA 7.2 system for BW 7.3 and the path for most companies are rather straight forward:  plan for an orderly transition from spinning disks to the media of the 21st century.

If my son can enjoy in-memory processing, so should your user community. Continuing to complain of BI, dashboard and cockpit poor performance without BWA is like building an architecture with one hand tied behind your back.. Most companies should plan to employ BWA within the next 12-24 months…

In the next blog this week, I will introduce you to the most common transactions and management issues with BWA.  Stay tuned..

Dr. Berg


PS! For those with upgrade plans, SAP officially suggests: If the system is on SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0 or 7.0 EhP1, then use BW Accelerator 7.0.  If the system is on SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0 EhP1 SPS 5 or higher AND you are using Business Object Explorer (accelerated version), then use BW Accelerator 7.20.  If the system is on SAP NetWeaver BW 7.3, then use BW Accelerator 7.20

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