SAP has introduced exciting improvements with S/4HANA Analytics (formerly HANA Live). As background, in 2013 SAP released HANA Live, an in-memory reporting solution that can be deployed as part of the Business Suite on HANA or in a sidecar model. HANA Live delivers real-time, in-place operational reporting without the need for classic ETL process chains. To date, the HANA Live virtual data models were defined in the HANA database layer itself as HANA calculation views. This led to a duplication of security roles between the Business Suite for transactional processing and the HANA database for operational reporting. In addition the virtual database models did not support hierarchies well.
With S/4HANA, SAP renamed HANA Live as S/4HANA Analytics. The new name comes with a number of new changes:
- Instead of HANA calculation views, S/4HANA Analytics uses Core Data Services (CDS) to define views that are still created in the HANA database but defined and accessed through the ABAP layer. This change allows for a unified set of security roles for transaction processing and analytics.
- The data model for S/4HANA has been drastically simplified. S/4HANA supports the new data model by providing a ready-to-use content using CDS view. The CDS-based content will be released together with the new S/4HANA innovations.
- Hierarchies as defined in the SAP Business Suite are also supported in S/4HANA Analytics.
S/4HANA Analytics also supports use of the CDS views in the BW system using ‘transient BEx queries.’ For embedded BW systems, access is immediate. However, for stand-alone BW systems, Smart Data Acces (SDA) technology can be used to read data from the CDS view in the S/4HANA system.
For current users of HANA Live nothing changes. The existing virtual data models will continue to be supported by SAP. Once customers migrate to S/4HANA, the new CDS-based views can be used against the simplified data model in S/4HANA. While the toolset for defining views changed from the HANA Studio (for HANA Live) to CDS (for S/4HANA Analytics), the skillset for defining data models is the same. SAP has also announced a tool-supported migration path from HANA Live to S/4HANA Analytics.