Data management has become a key business area over the past decade. As companies acquire gigabytes and terabytes of data from various sources, they need a way to parse and store it. Those using SAP for their data management processes have multiple options available to help them meet these goals.
When data is first collected or loaded into a system, it must be validated and cleaned prior to storage, a concept known as data provisioning. SAP solutions such as the SAP HANA Smart Data Integration and Smart Data Quality, SAP Data Services, and SAP LT Replication Server all provide users with ways to get data ready for use, from collecting to standardizing to storing.
Many SAP solutions are equipped to handle big data acquired from various sources such as the Internet of Things and stored in repositories such as data lakes, data warehouses, data marts, etc. In instances where solutions only handle specific sets of data, SAP users can connect them to databases and other warehousing options.
SAP has released a robust collection of products that focus on data management. Here are the key solutions:
The data lifecycle manager is an SAP HANA Extended Application Services tool that moves data from SAP HANA to other storage sources based on one of three different states of the data. These are “hot storage” for presently used data that should remain in the memory layer; “warm storage” for disk-based extended storage; and “cold storage” for data not needed and which can be stored on an external drive until it is.
SAP has created multiple ways for clients to store data for use. By keeping data structured and easily accessible, models and reports are easier to create.
SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) is SAP’s legacy data warehouse offering. It can be run on any database from third party to SAP HANA. Choosing this option gives clients the ability to run reports using SAP HANA’s memory layer rather than compressing data into SAP BW first. SAP BW will no longer receive maintenance following SAP’s 2027 target date of discontinuing SAP ERP solutions. Extended maintenance options will be available through 2030.
SAP BW/4HANA was first released in 2016 and serves as the successor to legacy SAP BW. This solution is an updated version of SAP BW that includes multiple new features. It runs on top of the SAP HANA database, and focuses on software simplicity, openness, a modern interface, and high performance.
SAP Datasphere (formerly known as SAP Data Warehouse Cloud) is an integrated, fully managed, and persona-driven data-warehouse-as-a-service solution that is suitable for SAP and non-SAP customers. It offers reduced deployment complexity, flexible pricing with integration to SAP Intelligent Suite solutions, SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Business Technology Platform services, partner solutions and open-source technologies.
The architecture is designed to attach to existing on-premise data warehouse deployments (SAP SQL Data Warehousing, SAP Business Warehouse, and others) and extend them into the software-as-a-service world. This feature enables hybrid scenarios and avoids the need to move the entire data mart into the cloud.
SAP Agile Data Preparation is a tool that allows connection to data sources such as spreadsheets or databases. It can help users transform and manipulate data as needed.
SAP Data Intelligence is a cloud service that combines artificial intelligence and machine learning to better use siloed data and bring together the IT and data science departments of an organization. In Q2-2020, the functionality of SAP Data Hub was fully integrated under the SAP Data Intelligence name, adding data orchestration, discovery, refinement, and governance.
SAP Data Services is SAP’s flagship enterprise information management solution. It helps users ensure data quality, migration of data, text analysis, and interconnectivity with both SAP- and non-SAP systems.
As SAP’s main database offering, the in-memory SAP HANA provides users with the tools they need to quickly call and sort through data, often in real-time. It is available both on-premise and in the cloud. As part of its architecture, SAP HANA has multiple data management solutions available for users.
SAP HANA Cloud services is a suite of solutions that provides multiple data management functionalities via SAP HANA Cloud and SAP Datasphere.
SAP HANA smart data access enables virtual remote data access to third-party SAP and non-SAP data sources, without copying data locally into SAP HANA. This keeps data bloat down as it does not need to be queried over to SAP HANA for viewing.
SAP HANA Smart Data Integration loads data in batch mode or in real time into SAP HANA based on a variety of source systems, leveraging built-in and custom adapters. The SDI feature comes with SAP HANA.
SAP HANA smart data quality (SDQ) is a subset of select SDI transformations. These include data cleansing, address cleansing, and geospatial data enrichment.
SAP Information Lifecycle Management (SAP ILM) is a tool that allows the blocking and deletion of data from an SAP system. This is especially important in instances where data privacy laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) require businesses to delete customer data upon request.
SAP Information Steward is a single-platform solution used to discover, assess, define, monitor, and improve data quality.
SAP Landscape Transformation Replication Server (SLT) is a data replication tool that supports the synchronization of business data in real time while keeping transfer volume to a minimum.
SAP Master Data Governance (SAP MDG) is a data governance solution that consolidates and creates enterprise master data, defines data management workflows, and determines the quality of said data.
SAP Vora is a distributed computing solution deployed on Apache Hadoop and Spark clusters. It provides a semantic layer for big data and can be used to run combined analytics across datasets.
In addition to the information laid out above, there are a handful of important SAP data management terms you should also be familiar with. Here are they are in list form:
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