With the release of SAP BusinessObjects 4.2, Web Intelligence can now connect to SAP HANA in two ways. These options are:
- SAP HANA Direct Access
- SAP HANA Online
SAP HANA Direct Access
SAP HANA Direct Access allows you to use SAP HANA views as the data source for creating Web Intelligence documents without having to create a universe on top of the SAP HANA view. SAP HANA Direct Access can be created on SAP HANA using secured relational or Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) connections defined in the SAP BusinessObjects system. These connections allow you to use either the Multi-Dimensional Expression (MDX) script language (in OLAP connections) or SQL (in relational connections). This data access also allows parallel refreshing of queries.
SAP HANA Online
The SAP HANA Online option only supports relational connections for creating Web Intelligence documents, thus limiting the use of SAP HANA hierarchies created in SAP HANA views. It leverages the power of the SAP HANA database by enabling and delegating functions, calculations, and operations to the SAP HANA database, thus, resulting in faster interactions between Web Intelligence and SAP HANA. SAP HANA Online therefore provides better performance for data fetch and rendering, but restricts the use of parallel refreshing of queries.
Fundamentally, any source connection for SAP BusinessObjects tools is either an OLAP connection or a relational connection.
How to Create an OLAP Connection to SAP HANA
This section illustrates a step-by-step procedure for creating an OLAP connection. OLAP connections can be created by accessing the SAP BusinessObjects Information Design Tool or the Central Management Console (CMC).
The Information Design Tool is an SAP BusinessObjects metadata design environment that enables designers to extract, define, and manipulate metadata from relational and OLAP sources to create a Universe. The CMC is a web-based tool that helps administrators manage the SAP BusinessObjects platform. In this example, we use the Information Design Tool to illustrate how to create an OLAP connection.
Open the Information Design Tool by following menu path Start Menu > All Programs > SAP Business Intelligence > SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform 4 Client Tools > Information Design Tool.
In the screen that opens (Figure 1), you see two tabs: Local Projects and Repository Resources. In this example, we create a connection in the repository, so select the Repository Resources tab.
The process for creating an OLAP connection
Select the green plus-sign (add) icon on left side and then select Insert Session from the drop-down options. This action opens the screen in Figure 2. Enter the BusinessObjects system log-in credentials (the system name, user name, password, and type of authentication) and click the OK button to log in.
Log on to BusinessObjects
After you are logged in (Figure 3), expand the Connections folder and select the folder where you want to create the connection—in this case the SAP HANA folder. Right-click the folder and select Insert OLAP Connection from the context-menu options.
Add the new SAP HANA connection
This action opens the screen shown in Figure 4 in which you enter the name of the OLAP connection in the Resource Name field and click the Next button.
Enter the OLAP connection name
This action opens an option tree under New OLAP Connection (Figure 5). Select SAP HANA Client and click the Next button.
Select the SAP HANA client
In the screen that opens (Figure 6), enter the configuration details of the SAP HANA system to which you are connecting your OLAP connection. Type in the log-in credentials for the SAP HANA connection and enter the SAP HANA system details with the user name and password. Select the Use SSL check-box option if you want to use the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol for communication to the server.
Log on to SAP HANA
Click the Next button to proceed with the connection. If you want to specify a particular cube in the connection, in the screen that opens (Figure 7), select the Specify a cube in the connection radio button and select the cube name or select the Do not specify cube in the connection radio button if you do not want to specify a particular cube. Click the Finish button to complete the connection details.
Specify a cube in the connection
This action opens a new screen (Figure 8) that shows the new OLAP connection is created in the BusinessObjects repository folder (in this case, the SAP HANA folder). Click the Test Connection button to make sure the connection works.
The new OLAP connection appears in the SAP HANA (BusinessObjects repository) folder
After a successful connection, a pop-up window with a Test Successful message appears (Figure 9). Click the Close button.
The new OLAP connection is created successfully
Once the OLAP connection is successfully created and saved in the BusinessObjects repository, it can be used by the SAP BusinessObjects client tool, in this case, Web Intelligence, to connect to SAP HANA.
How to Create a Relational Connection to SAP HANA
In this section, we explain the steps for creating a relational connection using the Information Design Tool. Relational connections can only be created by accessing the Information Design Tool.
To create a relational connection, follow the same procedure as explained above in Figures 1 through 4. Then, in the screen that opens (Figure 10), create a relational connection as follows.
Select the SAP HANA database drivers
Enter the name of the relational connection, as explained earlier (in Figure 4) and an option tree under the new relational connection opens. Select the SAP HANA database 1.0 option and then select the required driver (JDBC or ODBC). (The JDBC Drivers option enables you to connect multiple instances of the SAP HANA database using the multi-server parameter.) Select the JDBC option and click the Next button.
Enter your log-in credentials for the SAP HANA system for which the relational connection is being created (Figure 11). Enter the SAP HANA system details with a user name and a password and select the Use SSL check box option only if you have SSL configured for accessing SAP HANA. Then click the Test Connection button and the Next button to proceed with the connection.
Enter the SAP HANA system log-in credentials
In the screen that opens (Figure 12), enter the connection parameter settings to define the array fetch size and the log-in timeout settings based on your database and network and click the Finish button.
Enter the connection settings
The system displays a screen in which you can test the connection. Select the name of the connection (hana_relational in our example) and then click the Test Connection button (Figure 13). If the connection is successful, a pop-up screen like the one in the figure appears with a Test Successful message. Click the Close button.
Test the new connection
Once the relational connection is created, it appears as a relational connection in the BusinessObjects repository folder (in this case, the SAP HANA folder).
Steps to Connect SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence to SAP HANA Views
SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence documents can be created using a Web Intelligence Rich Client desktop tool or via the SAP BI launch pad. In this example, we use the SAP BI launch pad to illustrate the procedure.
The SAP BusinessObjects platform includes SAP BI launch pad, a web application that acts as a window to business information. It’s a central point to access for all BI documents and objects saved in the repository. It also enables users to access documents or objects (e.g., Web Intelligence documents, Design Studio, and so on) that are saved in the repository.
The Web Intelligence Rich Client tool is a desktop-based tool that is installed during an SAP BusinessObjects client installation. It enables users to open, edit, and modify Web Intelligence documents on a desktop and store them locally or offline before publishing them on the server.
Connecting Using SAP HANA Direct Access
Log in to the SAP BI launch pad with your credentials. In the screen that opens (Figure 14) you see the list of available applications under the My Applications section (on the right), based on your access. In this example, select Web Intelligence from the list to create a document.
Select Web Intelligence
In the screen that opens (Figure 15), click the new icon to create a new Web Intelligence document (or press Ctrl N).
Create a new Web Intelligence document
This action opens a pop-up window with different data source options (Figure 16). Select the SAP HANA option as the data source in SAP HANA Direct Access and click the OK button.
Select a new data source
A screen opens with list of available connections in the left pane (Figure 17). SAP HANA Direct Access allows you to use both types of connections, SAP HANA Relational or SAP HANA OLAP, both of which are created in the SAP BusinessObjects repository.
Select the SAP HANA OLAP connection option
Expand the HANA_OLAP connection to see the list of SAP HANA views. Once the SAP HANA OLAP connection is selected as the data source, you can use SAP HANA views as multi-dimensional cubes (with dimensions, hierarchies, levels, measures, and so on), and to run multi-dimensional query scripts using the MDX script language (Figure 18).
The expanded view of the OLAP connection
With the SAP HANA relational connection selected as the data source, you can browse SAP HANA models in a relational format (Figure 19).
The expanded view of a relational connection
Based on which connection is selected, a new screen opens in which you can see the Query Panel (Figure 20) and the metadata from the SAP HANA view displayed in the Universe outline pane. If the OLAP connection is selected in the previous step, the metadata view is displayed showing the hierarchies and member levels as shown in Figure 20.
The structure of the selected query in the Universe outline, with an OLAP connection
If a relational connection is selected in the previous step, the metadata view shows the relational structure (Figure 21).
The structure of the selected query in the Universe outline, with a relational connection
After you select your connection (relational or OLAP), drag and drop the required fields from the Universe outline pane (on the left) to the Result Objects pane (on the right). After moving all the desired fields to the Result Objects, click the Run Query button (highlighted in Figure 21) to execute the document.
After you execute the query, you can view the Web Intelligence document based on SAP HANA Direct Access as shown in Figure 22. Note that Figure 22 shows the Web Intelligence document using an OLAP connection.
View the output of the executed Web Intelligence document (using an OLAP connection)
Figure 23 shows the Web Intelligence document using a relational connection. Save the document in the SAP BusinessObjects repository.
View the output of the executed document (using a relational connection) and then save it
Connecting SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence to SAP HANA Using SAP HANA Online Access
To create a document using SAP HANA Online, follow the same steps for connecting Web Intelligence to SAP HANA using SAP HANA Direct Access (detailed in the “Steps to Connect SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence to an SAP HANA View” section). Then take the following steps.
In the Select a data source pop-up window that opens (Figure 24), select SAP HANA Online as your data source for creating Web Intelligence documents on SAP HANA. Then click the OK button.
Select SAP HANA Online
A screen opens with the available connections listed on the left (Figure 25). Expand the Connections tree. SAP HANA Online Access enables only the relational connection selection. As shown in Figure 25, SAP HANA Online Access enables you to view SAP HANA secured relational connections that are created in SAP BusinessObjects.
Select the relational connection
Once you select the SAP HANA view in the right pane, Web Intelligence no longer needs to fill its cache/micro-cube to create queries. Therefore, you bypass the Query Panel when using SAP HANA Online. As a result, SAP HANA views metadata can now be seen in the Available Objects list in Web Intelligence, as shown in Figure 26. Select an object from the list of available objects and drag and drop it into the blank (on the right) to create a Web Intelligence document based on SAP HANA Online. Then click the OK button.
The view of a Web Intelligence document based on SAP HANA Online