(BW vs BW on HANA vs BW/4HANA) vs Data Warehouse for Cloud (DWC)… what’s the difference? (Part 1)

SAP Analytics Cloud Starter Package

By Mario Hernandez, SAP EPM and Data Consultant, Jump Analytics

SAP BW is constantly evolving. New features are added in SAP BW on HANA up to the BW 7.5 version. Many of the limitations of the previous classic version of BW are overcome in the latest version of SAP BW/4HANA.

SAP BW on HANA and SAP BW/4HANA are different application suites running on the same database. BW on HANA uses SAP’s legacy BW software but moves it to the HANA database, while BW/4HANA uses a re-engineered software suite designed to fully harness the power of the HANA database.


BW is the classic SAP data warehouse solution. Typically, BW replicates SAP source systems data using pre-installed BI Content but can also be enhanced, according to customer requirements.

BW requires hardware and software installation, and this hardware will need administration activities (Backups, DB optimizations, Software updates, etc.)

What is DWaaS (Data Warehouse as a Service)?

DWaaS is an outsourcing model in which a service provider configures and manages the hardware and software resources required for a data warehouse, and the customer provides the data and pays for the managed service. Because the service provider is responsible for administration and management , the customer does not have to worry about staffing the data warehouse.

DWC is a DWaaS solution. It also replicates data from several sources into a Cloud DB. It doesn’t require a hardware installation or DB Admin activities.

SAP is working on the integration of all the SAP platforms to enhance the communication between DWC and several (SAP and non-SAP) source systems.

This table compares characteristics of the different SAP data warehouse products.

Database Oracle, DB2, MySQL, SAP HANA (v 7.4 and beyond), etc. SAP HANA SAP HANA Cloud Services
Integration with SAP ECC Pre-installed Business Content + Ad-hoc developments. Pre-installed Business Content + Ad-hoc developments. Pre-installed Business Content + Ad-hoc developments. Ad-hoc developments.
Master Data Limited on DSOs and Infocubes No such restrictions No such restrictions No such restrictions
Transactional data Infocubes are made of Min 6 to Maximum 18 Tables. ADSOs are optimized to only 2 tables. ADSOs are optimized to only 2 tables. Optimized to 1 table.
Supports real-time queries (from the source system) Yes Yes Yes No. Needs to replicate master and transactional Data.


So which one is better? See our next blog post for the answer <link to Part 2>

At Jump Analytics, as SAP Gold Certified partners, we can help you understand these data warehouse products and which would be most suitable for your organization and help you implement the best solution for you.

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