SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse

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SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP NetWeaver BW) is business intelligence (BI), analytical, reporting and data warehousing software produced by SAP AG. It was originally named SAP BIW (Business Information Warehouse), then abbreviated to SAP BW, but is now known as "SAP BI" at the end user level. In contrast, "BW" is still used to describe the underlying data warehouse area and accelerator components. It is often used by companies who run their business on SAP's operational systems.

BW is part of the SAP NetWeaver technology. Other components of SAP NetWeaver include SAP Enterprise Portal (EP, called SAP NetWeaver Portal as of Release 7.0), Web Application Server (WAS), SAP Process Integration (PI, or previously XI, i.e. eXchange Infrastructure) and Master Data Management (MDM). It also includes end-user reporting tools such as Report Designer, BEx Query Designer, BEx Web Application Designer and BEx Analyzer.


SAP's BI products have layers:

  • Extract, transform, load (ETL) layer - responsible for extracting data from a specific source, applying transformation rules, and loading it into the Data Warehouse Area.
  • Data Warehouse Area - responsible for storing the information in various types of structures (e.g. Data Store Objects, InfoObjects and multidimensional structures called InfoCubes that follows star schema design).
  • Reporting - for accessing the information in data warehouse area and presenting it in a user-friendly manner to the analyst or business user.
  • Planning and analysis - Provides capabilities for the user to run simulations and perform tasks such as budget calculations.

SAP BW contains pre-defined business content in the form of InfoCubes, Info Objects, authorization roles, and queries. The business content can be modified to meet an organization's specific requirements; however, this requires a longer process of customization of the pre-defined elements.


User management[edit]

The following types of general user profiles exist:

  • Executives and knowledge workers
  • Information consumers

However, roles and authorizations can be customized significantly.

Authentications and Single Sign-On[edit]

The following are the most common forms of authentication:

SAP NetWeaver Single Sign-On Environment[edit]

The SAP NetWeaver Portal is the main entry point within SAP NetWeaver. In order to integrate SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence, the following two conditions must be satisfied: (note that SAP logon tickets are being used in this example) 1) BI trusts SAP logon tickets from EP because the public key of the EP certificate has been imported into BI. 2) EP trusts SAP logon tickets from BI because the public key of the BI certificate has been imported into EP.


Companies have to define who has access to which data. An authorization allows a user to perform a certain activity on a certain object in the BI system. There are two authorizations concepts to consider for BI: standard authorizations[1] and analysis authorizations.[2]

Communication channel security[edit]

The communication channel used depends on different cases[3]

  • Front end and application server uses RFC
  • Application server and application server uses RFC
  • SAP J2EE Engine and application server uses RFC
  • SAP router and application server uses RFC
  • Connection to database uses RFC
  • Web browser and application server uses HTTP, HTTPS, and SOAP
Encrypted communications[edit]

RFC communications is not encrypted. In order to encrypt RFC communications, the SAP environment must use Secure Network Communications (SNC) or the SAP Cryptographic Library.[4] SAP recommends the usage of x.509 certificates.[5]

Data storage[edit]

Data can be protected from being accessed by an authorized end user by assigning analysis authorizations. Data is not protected under BI default settings.

Transactional data is stored in a Datastore or an InfoCube. A Datastore serves as a storage location for transaction data at an atomic level. The data in a datastore is stored in transparent flat database tables.

An InfoCube is a set of relational tables arranged according to the star schema: A large fact table in the middle surrounded by several dimension tables.


The 7.0 version of BW was released in June 2006 as part of the SAP NetWeaver 7.0 (also known as 2004s). This release included features such as next-generation reporting and analytical features, data warehousing enhancements, and a memory resident option for improving query performance called "BI Accelerator" (it has since been renamed BW Accelerator). The BW Accelerator comes as an external appliance, i.e. complete hardware with pre-installed software, and requires a separate licence fee. BW Accelerator is licenced per blade server and 16 GB increments of memory.

SAP acquired Business Objects, one of the premier business intelligence software providers, via tender offers executed December 2007-January 2008.[6] SAP has indicated that Business Objects will operate as an independent entity to preserve the principle of application agnosticism, but also promised a tighter integration between SAP BI and Business Objects. A new BI roadmap was recently released by the combined entity.[7]

Starting with version 7.3 - Service Pack 05, the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse can be run with SAP HANA, the in-memory database management system developed by SAP.[8] The latest released version is 7.4, Service Pack 5.[9]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Shiralkar; Shreekant, Amol Palekar, Bharat (2010). A-Practical-Guide-to-SAP-NetWeaver-Business-Warehouse-7.0 (First Edition ed.). SAP Press. ISBN 978-1-59229-323-0. 
  • McDonald; Wilmsmeier, Dixon, Inmon (2006). Mastering the SAP Business Information Warehouse (Second Edition ed.). Wiley. ISBN 0-471-21971-1. 
  • Mehrwald, Christian (2003). SAP Business Information Warehouse 3. Heidelberg: dpunkt-Verlag. ISBN 3-89864-179-1. 
  • Scott, Peter (2006). SAP Business Explorer (BEx) Tools. SAP Press. ISBN 1-59229-086-8. 
  • Scott, Peter (2009). SAP Business Explorer (BEx) Tools 2nd Edition. SAP Press. ISBN 1-59229-279-8. 
  • Boeke, Joerg (2009). SAP BW 7.x Reporting - Visualize your data. Createspace USA 2009. ISBN 978-1-4486-0626-9.
  • Shiralkar; Shreekant, Amol Palekar (2012). Supply Chain Analytics With SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (First Edition ed.). Tata McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 978-1-2590-0608-1. 

External links[edit]