Sunil S. Ranka's Weblog

Superior Data Analytics is the antidote to Business Failure

Love and Hate Relationship :: OBIEE and BW-SAP Integration

Posted by sranka on July 8, 2011

Hi All


Recently I got chance onto work on BW-SAP and OBIEE 11g integration. I would say one of its kinds in world. You will get lot more examples and samples on different datasources but BW-SAP is a rare one. Working on a multidimensional data source on its own is a paradigm shift. Oracle and SAP are known for their love-hate relationship. At Openworld you will see a big SAP booth, where as in sapphire now , Oracle will show-off exadata capabilities. One of the things that surprised me was to build SAP cube, the core data set resides in Oracle relational database. I am not sure if this is a norm, but at the current installation this is the architecture. As mentioned, earlier it’s a paradigm shift to work from relational to multi dimensional. Till OBIEE, BW SAP was never a certified released, but they had a patch on which using XMLA, we could connect to BW-SAP. In OBIEE we could continue to use XMLA approach but as its not certified, you will not get any luck with Oracle-support. In,  BW-SAP is officially certified. What it means is that its been tested, if you look at the all the issues resolved there is only one known bug was resolved as part of Apart from all the available features in, the key differentiator is the support for SAP BW and the Admin Tool natively understands hierarchies, dimensions, etc., and imports them directly.


It’s recommended that you go with the BAPI (native) adapter.  Expectation is that you will find better performance because BW handles things more efficiently within its internal processes with BAPI than with XMLA, even if it is the same MDX being sent via either protocol.


As per my understanding, if you don’t re-import, the old version ( of XMLA would still work to some degree, but you would soon run into issues.  If it is working in, it would likely still be working in, but it’s strongly recommend that you re-import in to take advantage of the improvements made.


As mentioned earlier, it’s a paradigm shift below are some of my observations:


  • SAP BW as a datasource is not supported with OBIEE
  • In multidimensional once you import the cubes/BEX query, it’s a black hole, there is not much you could do it on physical layer like alias renaming etc.
  • Re-importing of BEX/Multi provider could possibly change the column ids, hence resulting recreation of BMM, Presentation layer followed by re-creation of reports
  • Presentation variables can not be used on the key columns, as they generate in correct MDX
  • Filters On Non Key Columns are NOT added to MDX Query see note :1288595.1 on Oracle Support
  • After importing BW-SAP cubes or BEX, all the non integer columns get converted to varchar data types
  • Due to non-availability of date data type, date functions like ago, today can not be used.
  • In some of the cases OBIEE creates sub-optimal queries.


There are many more observation as list is long, if in case any one of you want to discuss further in detail, please feel free to contact me.

Hope This Helps

Sunil S Ranka
“Superior BI is the antidote to Business Failure”



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