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SAP and ETL

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Post  exhortae Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:50 am

In a SAP BW documentation I have came accross the following sentence and I don't understand the meaning:

The extraction technology of SAP BW is supported by database management systems of mySAP technology and does not allow extraction from other database systems like IBM, IMS and Sybase. It does not support dBase, MS Access and MS Excel file formats. However, it provides all the functionality required for loading data from non- SAP systems as the ETL services layer provide open interfaces for loading non-SAP data

If you cannot extract from other database system, Excel files ... How can you load data from non SAP Systems

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Post  BoxesAndLines Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:14 pm

Sounds like you can invoke an API that accesses those database formats e.g. web ETL service to invoke an Informatica workflow that pulls data from Oracle. It doesn't sound very high performance does it?
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Post  ngalemmo Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:57 pm

The extraction 'technology' (and I use that term loosely) they are referring to are the extractors (i.e. ABAP programs) embedded in R/3 (or whatever they are calling the ERP database these days). BW calls these to get data out of R/3. For any other source you need to use an ETL tool (or write code), such as Informatica or Data Stage to deposit (stage) the data in BW.

Of course, those same ETL tools will, for a price, interface with those very same extractors in R/3 so you can build a real data warehouse and bypass BW alltogether. There is hope...
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Post  exhortae Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:12 pm

So altough in BW's documentation they say there is an ETL it is actually an ETL that can only extract from SAP R/3 (the version we use here), seems very strange to me that they didn't care to write something to extract from other system sources. I guess that's one of the downside when you go with proprietary solutions.

Thanks.

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Post  ngalemmo Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:50 pm

SAP likes to use terminology loosely, and in a sense, the whole process is ETL. It's just not general purpose. BW is a very closed, propritary system.
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