Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Short history of SAP BW

First version of SAP introduced Business Warehouse Information Systems (BIW later name was changed to BW and afterward in world of NetWeaver to BI) in the first half of year 1997. I was not able to find number of first version of BIW. Most likely it was version BIW 1.2A which went live for first six customers. Release 1.2B is based on the SAP R/3 4.5x version of course without business application modules. Let see to the history what was evaluation of it.

In year 1997 SAP started an initiative to extend the reporting and analysis capabilities of their flagship ERP software - R/3 based on OLTP environment. SAP was listening a customer's voice begging for standalone data warehousing software. Customers were annoyed for a long time of information processing in OLTP software like R/3 is. At that time they started to call this software “Reporting Server” and it rose to the largest development project in the history of SAP after the SAP R/3 development was done. This initiative was led by SAP cofounder Hasso Plattner who mandated that SAP created a reporting server.

In 1998, SAP launched a so called Early Customer Program (ECP, today’s Early Adoption Program (EAP)) with six customers to gather requirements and to do a proof of concept at customer sites. Thusly the SAP BIW was created.

Release 1.2A of BW was made available to the public in September 1998. Five years later, the 3.0B release of the SAP BW software not only provides a mature, end-to-end data warehouse technology, it also serves as a cornerstone of the formerly called mySAP Business Intelligence solution which is now NetWeaver BI.

When SAP BW was designed, it may never have been a consideration to use a third-party OLAP engine. More than likely it was a very quick decision to port the concepts from SAP R/3 to SAP BW and leverage its past development experience. Two examples of tools developed years ago as a core part of SAP R/3 that have found their way into SAP BW (not the code but the concepts) are the Early Warning System and the Report-to-Report Interface (RRI). In highlighting the reuse of R/3 tools, we are not saying that specific code was ported from one product to the next, only that SAP has had many years of experience in business intelligence and OLAP.

Based on the Microsoft multidimensional database access standard OLE DB for OLAP (ODBO) BW was first implemented on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0. There were two main reasons for developing SAP BW on Windows NT 4.0: first, to support SAP BW on the Microsoft platform using MS SQL Server 7; and second, to support Oracle Data Base Management Systems (DBMS) prior to implementing on a UNIX platform. At that time-early to mid-1998-Microsoft SQL Server 7 was still a beta product; therefore, SAP focused most BW development work on Oracle8 under Windows NT 4.0. However, toward midsummer 1998, SAP customers pressed SAP to implement SAP BW 1.2A on the UNIX platform as well. BW 1.2A supported the first UNIX implementation.

There are some common misunderstandings about SAP BW being just another application module comparable to FI, CO, or SD, or about being able to install SAPBW as an add-on to SAP R/3 or SAP R/3-based systems like CRM. While SAP BW may be installed on the same physical server, it always has to be installed as a separate SAP instance and will always use its own separate database and its own separate application servers. SAP started developing the SAP Business Information Warehouse in late 1996 based on an SAP system with just the basis and cross-application components installed and with a completely separate architecture, optimized for reporting and analysis purposes, in mind.

SAP was among the first software development companies to fully adopt a multi-tier client/server model and move away from traditional host-based solutions for business software. This was the beginning of the SAP R/3 success story back in the early 1990s.

Like all software releases, the BW faced the classic time-to-market, scope-of functionality, quality-of-software dilemma. Despite that it play now central role in SAP NetWeaver technology platform; a lot of customers is using it for strategic analyzing of its information; for optimizing of business operations etc. What is future of SAP BI? After acquisition of Business Objects in Oct 2007 there is a new SAP BI roadmap as of 02.2008. Some of tools originally developed by SAP will be replaced by BOBJ tools.

According to SAP, there are more than 12,000 installations of SAP's BI solution exist these days.

SAP BIW/BW/BI major releases:

Versions in detail:

Information fro this post was gathered from several internet sources; plus following books:

BIW for SAP by Naeem Hashmi

Mastering the SAP BIW: Leveraging the BI Capabilities of SAP NetWeaver by Kevin McDonald

For further reference see:

- update 23/12/2009 -

For information about the newest SAP BW 7.20 see this post.

Transaction SAPBWNEWS

Have you ever try to run transaction SAPBWNEWS in some SAP BW systems? For me it never works; it just displays empty screen. TA is linked with ABAP program called SAPBWNEWS_PRINT which is suppose to displays a SAP note with description about available Support Packages (SP) for your SAP BW system. Similar usage of this; is to give you an access to a readme file with the latest news about the BW patch. Usually we are suppose to see same text which contains the information in *SAPBWNEWS* SAP notes after implementing any Support Package (SP) or Patch. The SAPBWNEWS notes used to provide the latest news on BW maintenance strategy like availability of new SPs, new functionality available etc. Since SAP introduced Support Package Stack (SPS) within SAP NetWeaver (from SAP BW point of view versions of BW 3.5 and onwards are part of SAP NetWeaver 04.) those *SAPBWNEWS* notes are not maintained anymore.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Customizing of logon screens for BW web reporting

Since SAP BW 3.0 and higher there are many option how to customize logon screen while user access BW reports through web. E.g. by default you can log on to BW via web using HTTP authentication but it doesn‘t allow you to enter logon language or change your password from logon screen like it is possible via standard SAP GUI logon screen.

To customize this behavior you can create a newly defined response to HTTP requests generated during execution of the BW URL HTTP – a BSP application is called which provides the customizable login screen.

  • Via TA SE80 a copy of SAP standard BSP application called ‘SYSTEM’ will be created (copied application e.g.: ‘ZSYSTEM’).
  • Definition of publicly available alias to new BSP application will be maintain in TA SICF; stored in path: /sap/public/bsp/sap as reference to existing service ‘ZEHSSYSTEM’ in path: /sap/bc/bsp/sap.
  • Standard SAP BW service for accessing BW reports via web; called ‘/sap/BW’ will be enhanced for following parameter:







  • All involved services needs to be restarted and activated again.

Afterwards whenever user access BW web reports by URL link like:



Logon screen looks like:

All parameters on logon screen:























For detailed documentation see

ABAP dump ASSIGN_TYPE_CONFLICT while data loading via DTP

This dump is very common with data load based on DTP (Data Transform Process). You can observe you failed load in DTP Monitor as follows:

If you clink on ABAP dump icon as above you go to TA ST22 (ABAP Runtime Error) to see dump.

It is caused by changed meta data of objects involved in this data loads. A process (mode) used for the runtime of BI objects has a certain and determined lifetime. Generated program (GP) which is serving for transformation (TRAN) between source and target objects of your load no longer match the metadata because the metadata changes during this lifetime. It means that you have recently changed something within your source and target objects (e.g. via TA RSA1) then you transported just some part of your changes recently but not whole data flow. Therefore your GP* program is referencing to „old“ runtime version of objects and they are already changed to „new“ version. As dumps says:

assign _rdt_TG_1_dp->* to <_yt_tg_1>.
To solve such a failed upload you need to regenerate your GP* program – this involves re-activate transformation. This can be a 1st step. If this doesn’t help you need to go deeper and re-activate and re-transport other objects involved in data flow like 1. source object of the DTP (DSO/DS/IS for example; depending in your particular flow); 2. target object of the DTP (e.g. InfoCube/DSO/InfoProvider IO); 3. transformation; 4. the DTP as it self.

Friday, May 9, 2008

SAP Business ByDesign (BBD) delayed

Information coming from SAP is saying that SAP Business ByDesign (BBD) as a Service (SaaS) is going to be delayed for minimum one year or more according German economic newspaper Handelsblatt. Software is offered already to limited number of customer since second half of 2007. There are a lot of rumors and investigations done on this delay in web’s blogospehere. See Dennis Howlett’s post. Other blogger Joshua Greenbaum is revealing possible reasons of this delay as it is:

- Operationalizing the on-demand model in a cost-effective way – Today they have just around 150 customers; a future roll out to ten thousands of customers can’t be scaled up for such an amount of customers on cost effective way.

- Design flaws - fundamental design flaw in the system, seems to be a misunderstanding of building large scale applications.

- Performance issues - Current release has a performance issues which can cause that response time will not be acceptable for large amount of customers.

On other hand it can be just a reason coming from nature of SAP as a company. As they are traditionally Germany’s very conservative company they are too much worrying about potential lost of their reputation in case of trouble with BBD. Other let say “soft” factor can be level of the maturity of the on-demand market. Traditional SaaS vendors (e.g. used to have similar problems with performance and down times. As SAP is entering this market late that means it could have a software which has no these kind of kids illnesses and be more bullet proof than others.

SAP has spent a huge effort to develop this SME solution already. In terms of money till year 2007 it was according Dave Rosenberg it was over $1 billion. So see what happen next if SAP will be able to full fill a plans related to gain of customers and market share in this area.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

SAP message I like the most

After posting funniest SAP notes and Ester eggs in ABAP I’m coming with few screenshot from SAP BW that I like a most:

Yes, as first must come famous ABAP MESSAGE_TYPE_X dump which always will be in SAP ABAP stack based applications.

Second one is pure BW error “Client out of Memory” within reporting occurred in cased you run query which retries too much data and you chock up all memory in BW server:

Third one is TA RSA1 error saying ”Internal error: - contact SAP”, very often error in BW 7.0 running on old Patch Level.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

SAP BI and EURO conversion

Conversion to euro is very hot topic especially on middle European countries markets. Currently Slovakia is very close to euro accession and it seems that Slovak Crown as a Slovak national currency will be replaced by euro by 1st of January 2009. Hence there is a large demand for SAP consulting services to get SAP software be ready for euro conversion. Main focus is on ECC (former R/3) applications but BI/BW solution from SAP is not standing beyond. What does mean such a euro adoption from BW point of view? It should not be a big deal because a lot of customers had implemented BW in a way to be able switch currency on the flight while running BW reports. It might be a case that you want to convert all data in your cubes to euro only; then it is useful to use standard BW’s ABAP report called RSEURO. Here you choose cubes for conversion; you do specify which key figures from this cube will be converted, conversion as it self is done as background job (RS_EURO_CONVERTER). You proceed in a similar way for fixed currencies. In case of fixed currency InfoObjects cubes with such a IO must be converted in one shot. You do this by using RSEURO as well. This tool has some limitation with regards of Key figures that have currencies as master data attributes. These cannot be converted by this toll. It is limited to key figures in cubes and PSAs. Notice that using of this tool may lead to performance issues in case of large sets of data. Always check OSS

Refer to SAP note 327741 - Euro conversion for BW for further details. Other useful notes:

327741 - Euro conversion for BW
376976 - Euro conversion in the BW System
390359 - Euro conversion for SEM
369170 - Euro conversion: Poor performance during cube conversion
379026 - Euro conversion: poor performance w/ PSA conversion
446683 - Euro conversion: poor performance for cube conversion

-       Update 15.12.2012 – 

For projects converting of euro from Slovak Crown (Slovenska Koruna, SKK) see following note:

1273778 - Currency conversion from SSK into Euro in SAP BW

Saturday, May 3, 2008

DDIC table types for BI objects

Main distinguishing is based on standard object (Business Content) starting with /BI0/* and customs one with /BIC/*.

SID table (traditional): /BI0/S* or /BIC/S*

SID table time dependent attr: /BIO/Y* or /BIC/Y*

SID table non time depended attr: /BI0/X* or /BIC/X*

SID table hierarchy: /BIO/K* or /BIC/K*

SID-structure hierarchy table: /BIO/I* or /BIC/I*

View: /BI0/M* or /BIC/P*

Master data table for non time depend. attr: /BI0/P* or /BIC/P*

Master data table for time dependent attr: /BIO/Q* or /BIC/Q*

Text table: /BI0/T* or /BIC/X*

Hierarchy table: /BIO/H* or /BIC/H*

Dimension tables: /BIO/D* or /BIC/D*

Fact tables: /BIO/F* or /BIC/F*

Compressed Fact tables: /BIO/E* or /BIC/E*

Shadow table of fact tables: /BIO/4F* or /BIC/4F*

Shadow table of compressed fact tables: /BIO/4E* or /BIC/4E*

Open hub generated destination: /BIO/OH* or /BIC/OH*

Partner or customer-specific namespace: /XYZ/

Special SAP namespaces for generated objects:

- prefixes 1*, 2*, 3*, 4*, 6*, 7*, 8* are required in BW for DataSources and InfoSources in special SAP applications.

- prefix 9A* is required for the SAP APO application.


Since SAP Basis 7.0 (SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Support Stack 12) a new basis transaction for database monitoring and administration is available called DBA Cockpit. It does provide a new access point to monitor and administer databases, which integrates all supported database platforms.
You can start the DBA Cockpit by either calling transaction DBACOCKPIT or by calling database administration transactions, for example, ST04, DB02 or DB13. When you call the DBA Cockpit using a specific database administration transaction, this determines the initial entry screen.
In the navigation frame of the DBA Cockpit, you can navigate between main task areas of database administration.
Task Area Corresponding TA Codes
· Performance ST04
· Space DB02
· Backup and Recovery DB12
· Jobs DB13, DB13C, DB24
· Configuration
· Alerts
· Diagnostics
· Monitoring of databases for all platforms: You can configure all your SAP-supported database(s) using the remote database connection in the DBA Cockpit. This remote database connection is available independently of the application running on your database.
· Integration with System Landscape Directory (SLD): You can configure the monitored systems and keep them up-to-date using the SLD instead of performing a manual setup
· Integrated Central Planning Calendar: A new central planning calendar is available as part of the DBA Cockpit
BI point of view
Via drill down from menu tree: Space -> BW Analysis BI part of DBCockpit is available. Over here basics information like BW objects we got in system, their partitions, sizes, extends, blocks, LOBs. I’ve found this tool very useful for basis resource who is not so deep in BW but can very quickly analyzed what’s going on in systems and inform functional people in advance.

Another feature which might be in some cases quite dangerous is SQL command editor from the DBA Cockpit.

You can write SQL command to underlying DB from in here. Of course not SAP application tables are accessible but you can try
See more information about DBCockpit on SDN.