You are on page 1of 14

Industry standard Linux, solutions tuned to the task

Getting started with SAP NetWeaver™ Business Warehouse

IBM PowerLinux™ Solution Edition for SAP Applications

February 5, 2013 Authors:

Eberhard Saemann
Teamlead SAP on IBM PowerLinux Development

Elmar Billen
SAP Consultant SAP on IBM PowerLinux Development

Table of Contents
Introduction Scope of this paper SAP Business Solutions – an overview SAP Business Solutions on the IBM PowerLinux platform The Enterprise Data Warehouse SAP's Enterprise Data Warehouse Solution Extended Landscape Architecture Conclusion Installation and Set-Up Hints and Tips Copyright 3 3 3 5 6 7 10 11 12 14


In today’s interconnected business world, Information Technology (IT) has long become the backbone of almost any business, large or small. IT supports efficient operations and helps to reduce administrative overhead and keep cost down. Almost any business process executed and applied in the daily routine is supported by or completely implemented in software solutions. Relevant business data and information is generated and exchanged in form of electronic data – spanning from contact information of customers or suppliers to detailed specifications of the product portfolio and not ending with the financial data of the business itself. Any business activity is likely to create new data. Each day the amount of data generated is growing faster. IT operations may regard this as a big burden as these data have to be stored, secured, maintained and saved. On the other hand the data as a whole represent a big treasure as they hold a lot of valuable information about all aspects of the business, business relationships, products, customers and alike. However, tapping into this treasure to benefit from the hidden information stored in the big data heap is not an easy task. It requires new methods of data organization and analytics to eventually produce results which will help to better understand your customer’s needs and behavior, or the supply chains you’re using. This new insight will help to make better business decisions and will improve accuracy of your own planning.

Scope of this paper
The paper starts with an overview of the business solutions which SAP offers and the underlying technology platform SAP NetWeaver. It will then introduce a data warehouse solution in general and describe the advantages and the benefits a business can gain when using such a solution. The central components of SAP’s enterprise business warehouse application are introduced and described. An easy-to-implement SAP landscape architecture is proposed for the IBM PowerLinux™ platform extending the available base landscape by an SAP business warehouse (BW) solution. Best practices describe how to install, set-up, and integrate the BW system and best extend an existing Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) landscape.

SAP Business Solutions – an overview
SAP, the market leader of business software, offers a wide range of solutions to support almost any business process being applied and used in today’s business world. SAP ERP with its solution modules for general business administration, finance and HR covers the core business tasks typically applied in all businesses. SAP of course is offering solutions for many more functional areas of businesses and also industry domains. The SAP Business Suite combines modular building blocks of software, best practices and services to support a wide range of business scenarios.

Core solution components of the SAP Business Suite
SAP Enterprise Resource Planning : SAP ERP covers the core processes of a business. The application comprises several modules which map their comprehensive functionality to the units of a company to support general administration and control of all aspects of the business. ERP includes financial accounting (FI), financial controlling (CO), human capital management (HCM), materials management (MM), production planning & control (PPP) and sales and distribution (SD).


SAP NetWeaver™ Technology Platform SAP NetWeaver: NetWeaver builds the foundation and technology platform for all components of the SAP Business Suite. Core technology components are the ABAP engine and SAP’s own implementation of a Java EE server. But NetWeaver also includes a whole suite of additional application modules and tools which complement the Business Suite or represent complete solutions on their own. Enterprise Portal (EP): to the business user, SAP EP may represent the most visible component of NetWeaver. The portal provides the graphical user front end with customized views of business tasks bundled for particular user groups. Process Integration (PI): SAP PI connects the various business solutions and manages and coordinates the data flow between the solution towers. Business Warehouse (BW): Another important component is SAP Business Warehouse – SAP’s business intelligence solution. BW has been available for a long time and still is SAP’s most widely used business intelligence (BI) solution. Today, new analytics solutions like SAP Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA) or SAP HANA are being offered by SAP. However, productive BW installations still outnumber those of the new solutions and BW remains the customers’ work horse for addressing their BI needs. SAP Solution Manager The SAP Solution Manager is an additional system which SAP requires to be connected to every customer environment. It can be installed locally or remotely. This mandatory infrastructure component monitors and manages the complete SAP landscape of a customer, even when the landscape is very complex and comprises hundreds of SAP instances. Solution Manager is also tracking and recording system performance of the SAP systems. The result data can be accessed for information and analysis locally or from remote.


Automated SAP system maintenance is another core functionality of the system. The Solution Manager’s Maintenance Optimizer (MOPZ) component can access the SAP Marketplace and then checks for available SW updates, determines the deltas for the customer’s SAP systems and downloads the necessary fixes. Operations is then notified and can deploy these updates to the target systems in the managed landscape.

SAP Business Suite on the IBM PowerLinux platform

Distributors specialize in building robust Linux distributions ready for professional use. Distributors also maintain the software bundles and offer support for them. Typically these Linux distributions not only come with the core Linux OS but also bundle complementing software, tools and additional utilities to support daily operations and simplify maintenance. For use with the SAP business solutions, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) are certified by SAP for the IBM PowerLinux platform. Both of these distributions are fully enabled to run virtualized on IBM’s superior virtualization technology PowerVM. With IBM PowerVM, Linux can scale beyond the barriers of other virtualization technologies offered on x86 platforms. PowerLinux runs on all IBM Power machines, ranging from the smallest 4-core IBM PowerLinux 7R1 entry level system up to the largest IBM POWER7 Enterprise server featuring 256 cores.


The Enterprise Data Warehouse
Today’s IT based business processes constantly generate new data in support of the daily operation of a company. More and more the data are becoming the basis of business decisions, customer relationships and employee engagement and will influence the business strategy of companies. Often information and data from external sources – other than the core ERP system - are relevant and linked to the internally generated data and need to be observed and stored as well. The very first challenge is to organize these large data volumes in a manner, that a particular piece of information can be found and retrieved when needed later. On a second look, the data encapsulate a lot of business information which can be very helpful to support business decisions which almost any employee has to make every day. The quality of business decisions - especially forward looking decisions reaching further into the future - can improve dramatically when these decisions also consider facts and/or trends from the past. Such insight can be derived from the (historical) information enclosed in the proprietary (business) data of a company. The information content can be further enhanced by information from other internal company sources or from ones that are publicly available e.g. on the internet. Creation of wealth and gaining competitive advantage from massively available data become reality. The tools and technologies to exploit it are available today. The problem, however, is, to find and extract relevant information applicable to support a particular business decision in such large volumes of available data. This information can be covert in data repositories of the company and elsewhere in external sources. To aggravate the problem, these masses of business information usually are a mix of structured and unstructured data which augments the challenge of handling the different formats, apply consistent processing and eventually deriving the searched information. In most cases it’s also imperative to accomplish the task of finding relevant information in a timely fashion. So speed is a must to stay ahead of competition. Technology to cope with this challenge of deriving applicable business information from big amounts of mixed data and create valuable insights are being offered from various providers of business software: these solutions are typically categorized as data warehouse solutions. Data warehouses organize and structure large amounts of data. More and more the terms Analytics and Big Data are being used for new and high sophisticated data warehouse solutions including new technologies for accelerated processing of huge data volumes. The core technology covers the efficient storage and processing of data to find that searched for piece of information or a potential trend started in the past and likely to extend into the future. The technology is most useful if it is capable to exactly adapt the algorithms to the business and also to the needs of individual users. Tooling to configure and adjust the algorithms and search engines is usually included in good BW solutions.

What are the benefits of using a Business Warehouse ?
One interesting question in the production planning department of a company can be: what quantities of a particular product were ordered by one selected region in a specified period ? To prepare for seasonal hikes in demand having a decent supply on stock is important.


Also Sales may be keen to find out how much revenue had been generated in the flag ship stores on a monthly basis with the products of the company. Such information can be retrieved quick an most efficiently from a business warehouse. The typical SQL query statement suited to retrieve this information from the corporate data heap would look like follows: SELECT * FROM revenue …. WHERE city IN ('Berlin', 'London', 'Paris', 'New York', 'San Francisco') AND month IN ('05.2008', '06.2008', '07.2008', '08.2008', '09.2008', '10.2008' ); After relevant information has been retrieved from the warehouse it can be made better consumable for the typical business user. Results become understandable much easier when presented in a graphical form. Therefore most of today’s BW solutions include a presentation layer producing the results in form of charted diagrams.

Figure 3: Monthly Sales in selected Cities

SAP's Enterprise Data Warehouse Solution


Core Components of SAP BW The core components of SAP BW comprise tools, functions and solutions for data consolidation and the decision making process of a company. Besides the Data Warehouse capability there are also tools included for Analysis and Planning tasks. Additional utilities for data Access and Visualization allow the presentation of the results of the data analysis in an easy to use form. Since not all company data and the results of their analysis may be allowed to be viewed by all employees, Security and Performance tools support tailoring and restricting access to persons with a need to know. Data Source(s) of the Business Warehouse The primary source of the data being analyzed in the Business Warehouse typically is the company’s SAP ERP system which owns and manages the active operational data of the business. Other SAP Business Solutions can also be linked to and used as BW data source as well as other external sources. SAP BW requires its own data repository (i.e. database instance) to manage the business warehouse data and apply analytics to. This repository is regularly refreshed with updates from the primary data sources configured for the BW system. How data is being processed When the BW data store is being loaded from external data sources, data are copied, formatted and restructured. To accelerate result generation later, the replicated data from the source systems are preprocessed and re-organized by BW to adapt and optimize the internal data structures to achive fast query results. The architected Information Model of SAP BW determines how data are being re-organized. The Information Model is based on InfoObjects as fundamental building blocks. Three conceptual layers can be identified: Multi-dimensional data models (MDM), Operational Database (ODS) and Data Warehouse.

Two generic types of InfoCubes are known: InfoCube: Only InfoCubes hold physical data in the BW database. Virtualprovider is representing only a logical view of the data.


The Star Schema: implementing the Multidimensional Data Model Data modeling for data warehouses have to consider different requirements in order to support flexible analysis and fast result generation among others. A star schema for a business warehouse structures the data in a way that good analytics and reporting efficiency is guaranteed. At the same time high flexibility for adjusting the solution when business requirements change need to be maintained. Implementing a star schema in a relational database management system (RDBMS) means that database tables need to be organized in clusters. IBM DB2 offers a unique feature called Multidimensional Clustering (MDC) which supports the star schemata in an ideal fashion. MDC can yield significant query performance improvements for such complex constructs as star schemata. The way MDC tables are organized largely reduces I/O operations and also yield smaller indexes. As a result, processing of queries on MDC tables are significantly faster than those on regular tables. In addition to better query performance MDC also reduces logging and table maintenance. Detailed information and on the DB2 MDC feature and how to exploit the feature in SAP BW context can be found in the IBM Redbook on Database Partitioning, Table Partitioning and MDC for DB2 9 and in the SAP Database Administration Guide SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse 7.0 – Administration Tasks: IBM DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows (see links in the reference section at the end of the paper).


Extended Landscape Architecture
The SAP BW system generates workload patterns for the data base and for the HW infrastructure which differ from those of an ERP system. But high data base workloads are typical and likely for both. The general recommendation therefore is, to install the SAP BW system on a server other than the one which hosts the ERP production system. This will make sure that high database workloads from BW will not negatively affect response times of the customer's EPR system. Figure 8 below depicts the suggested architecture for an SAP landscape comprising ERP and BW systems on IBM PowerLinux. The architecture fully exploits the advanced virtualization capabilities of the IBM Power platform.

Power Infrastructure and Exploitation of POWER Virtualization

An overview of the IBM PowerLinux infrastructure and its exploitation by SAP application can be found in the IBM White Paper 'Getting started with the IBM PowerLinux Solution Edition for SAP' (POW03080-USEN00, ).


The SAP business warehouse landscape example described in this paper uses a compact SAP BW landscape on an IBM PowerLinux 7R2 server. Depending on the requirements of your business your landscape may require a smaller, or larger Power server. Regardless, PowerLinux hardware and PowerVM technology provide an ideal platform for SAP solutions. All major SAP products are available on Power systems running Linux and each landscape can be created according to your business needs. This applies for both new SAP setups as well as migrations to PowerLinux. PowerLinux offers you the flexibility to start small and grow as your SAP landscape and other workloads expand over time.


Installation and Set-Up Hints and Tips
The software stack of SAP BW is nothing more than a standard SAP NetWeaver 7.x system which represents the technology base of the SAP Business Suite. Thus the installation and basic set-up of an SAP NetWeaver install applies. However, Business Warehouse systems do have usage patterns which largely differ from those of an ERP system. The configuration and set-up of all three software layers - the NetWeaver system, the data base and Linux - therefore need to be adapted to the unique requirements of BW. To optimize the HW as well as the SW infrastructure underneath the SAP BW system following set-up and configuration settings are recommended by the IBM development team.

Filesystem Layout / Database Layout
When installing a SAP NetWeaver BW system, it is important to carefully plan the layout of the Linux filesystems as well as the layout of the database. Both can have a huge impact on the overall system performance and should be adapted to the expected I/O workload. Generally, the I/O workload should be separated on different logical disk devices. If possible, use different logical disk devices for: • • • • operating system and SAP software, swap devices database tablespaces database log files.

These different logical disk devices should reside on different physical disks. On the IBM PowerLinux platform, it is recommended to use SAN disk storage instead of local disk devices, also the LPARs running the SAP NetWeaver BW system should use only virtual adapters for network and fibre channel – this is a prerequesite for LPAR migration / relocation. During the installation of the SAP NetWeaver BW system, a default database layout is created. For large BW systems, the database layout should be modified to reach the maximum query performance. These modifications are highly database specific, the description of these modifications is beyond the scope of this whitepaper. Use the documentation listed in the appendix for detailed information. The different RDBMS vendors offer different solutions for clustering large BW tables, like MDC (Multidimensional Clustering) for DB2/UDB. Clustering of BW tables reduces the SQL query execution time and thus improves the overall BW system performance. Clustering is vendor specific and described in the documentation listed below.

Linux Hints
It is recommended to use an up-to-date Linux distribution and the latest support package level for the BW installation. See SAP note 171356 and related notes for more details. If the BW system runs on a shared CPU pool LPAR, it is important to set up a working monitoring infrastructure. Monitoring of the hardware resources like CPU and RAM is important to detect and eliminate resource bottlenecks in the landscape. In a shared environment, standard Linux monitoring tools 12

(like “top”) do not provide meaningfull information. Instead, those monitoring tools which are aware of the IBM Power Virtualization should be used. For a SAP NetWeaver BW system, saposcol and the Operating System Monitoring Cockpit (OS07) have been adapted to meet the requirements of the virtualized platform, they provide the necessary information to detect and eliminate resource bottlenecks. The IBM Redbook “SAP Applications on IBM PowerVM” provides more details about monitoring the IBM Power platform.

Detailed Information
– – SAP NetWeaver BW with IBM DB2 for LUW: SAP Database Administration Guide SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse 7.0 – Administration Tasks: IBM DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows MaxDB: BI with MaxDB (, published 2008 IBM Redbook “Database Partitioning, Table Partitioning, and MDC for DB2 9”, IBM Redbook “SAP Applications on IBM PowerVM”, List of CSN notes – – – – – – – – – 171356 - SAP software on Linux: Essential information 1013912 – FAQ: Oracle BW Performance 1044441 – Basis parameterization for NW 7.0 BI systems 374502 DB6: BW performance: Note overview 983845 Using MaxDB 7.6 for BW 3.x / BI 7.x 814704 MaxDB Version 7.6 parameter settings for OLTP/BW 1025307 Composite note for BW 7.00 / BW 7.01 performance: Reporting 192658 Setting parameters for BW systems 1040431 FAQ: SAP MaxDB BW Feature Pack

– – – –



© IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Marketing Communications Systems Group Route 100 Somers, New York 10589 Produced in the United States of America February 2013 All Rights Reserved This document was developed for products and/or services offered in the United States. IBM may not offer the products, features, or services discussed in this document in other countries. The information may be subject to change without notice. Consult your local IBM business contact for information on the products, features and services available in your area. All statements regarding IBM future directions and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice and represent goals and objectives only. IBM, the IBM logo,, Power, PowerVM, POWER7, DB2,IBM PowerLinux, and IBM Flex System are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or ™), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at the time this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at "Copyright and trademark information" at Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries or both. PowerLinux™ uses the registered trademark Linux® pursuant to a sublicense from LMI, the exclusive licensee of Linus Torvalds, owner of the Linux® mark on a world-wide basis. SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein, as well as their respective logos, are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and in several other countries all over the world. Other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, our warranty terms apply. Photographs show engineering and design models. Changes may be incorporated in production models. This equipment is subject to FCC rules. It will comply with the appropriate FCC rules before final delivery to the buyer. Information concerning non-IBM products was obtained from the suppliers of these products or other public sources. Questions on the capabilities of the non-IBM products should be addressed with those suppliers. All performance information was determined in a controlled environment. Actual results may vary. Performance information is provided “AS IS” and no warranties or guarantees are expressed or implied by IBM. Buyers should consult other sources of information, including system benchmarks, to evaluate the performance of a system they are considering buying. When referring to storage capacity, 1 TB equals total GB divided by 1000; accessible capacity may be less. The IBM home page on the Internet can be found at: The IBM Power Systems home page on the Internet can be found at: