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Composite Provider in the Virtualization Layer

Anyone who sees BW/4 at first glance as just another SAP BW release should definitely risk a second look. In doing so, it becomes clear that this is actually an application in which many parts have been reprogrammed.
Dr. Marlene Knigge, Windhoff Group
Ruth Heselhaus, Windhoff Group
16 February 2023
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Simplification with SAP BW/4 Hana 2.0: Simplifications in Data (Flow) Modeling

Thanks to many new BW components, the possibilities of the underlying Hana database can be optimally exploited with increasing release status. Compared to conventional relational databases, the in-memory computing DB Hana supports significantly faster and more performance-intensive computing operations in many places. While data management and data flows in the classic SAP BW were relatively complicated, the changes in BW/4 have led to a simplification in this respect. The latter, i.e. "simplification", is SAP's declared goal.

In BW/4 Hana there is a new virtual object, the composite provider. In the data flow, the composite provider is used in the virtualization layer of the Layered Scalable Architecture (LSA). Queries should by default access the data in the underlying layers via the composite provider as an interface object. This is how the decoupling of data presentation from data provisioning is implemented. This approach is intended to prevent queries from having to be adapted every time the data model is changed. The new composite provider replaces the classic objects for virtualization in BW/4, above all the multi-provider and the info set, but also the old composite provider object, the virtual provider and the transient provider.

In the classic multi-provider, the data was merged via "union". For the implementation of a "join", developers had to resort to info sets and carefully keep performance in mind during modeling. The composite provider offers both options - as well as combinations of both. In the composite provider, data can be joined from both BW info providers and Hana views. It is also possible to generate a Hana view from a composite provider. Technically, the union and join operations are executed directly on the Hana database, which can lead to significantly improved performance.

Simplification by reducing the number of modeling objects in SAP BW/4 Hana 2.0 (based on SAP).
Simplification by reducing the number of modeling objects in SAP BW/4 Hana 2.0 (based on SAP).

With BW/4 Hana 2.0, some existing restrictions such as the specification of certain sequences of unions and joins or the use of only certain join types have been removed. The composite provider is thus a versatile, flexible object. In addition, the creation of dimensions and the assignment of characteristics to the dimensions, which was known from multi-providers, is no longer necessary, which could have a great influence on query performance in the past. Thus, when modeling in BW/4 Hana 2.0, the info providers are simply added to the composite provider through a search window or by drag-and-drop. In this way, modeling of the virtualization layer is significantly simplified compared to classic SAP BW, without performance suffering. In addition, the composite provider offers more options than its predecessor objects. Modeling of the composite provider takes place entirely in Hana Studio.

The figure shows an overview of the classic BW modeling objects in the left column. The one on the right is reserved for the modeling objects in BW/4. The arrows between the objects show which new objects have taken over tasks from the classic objects. An exception is Info-Objects, which remained largely untouched by changes. In conclusion, the reduction of modeling object types significantly simplifies the structure of data flows and data management for developers.

Book Tip:

SAP Press BW/4Hana

SAP BW/4Hana
Marlene Knigge, Ruth Heselhaus

Get to know the new standard solution for data warehousing, SAP BW/4HANA. This comprehensive guide shows you step-by-step how to set up modeling tools, connect source systems, and build applications in SAP BW/4HANA 2.0. You will learn how to provide data for analysis and planning scenarios and how to process Big Data via the SAP Data Intelligence connection. In addition, the authors introduce you to the extension with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.

Dr. Marlene Knigge, Windhoff Group

Dr. Marlene Knigge, Senior Consultant Business Intelligence, Windhoff Group, Current technical publication: "SAP BW/4HANA - Das umfassende Handbuch", Rheinwerk Verlag, 2022.

Ruth Heselhaus, Windhoff Group

Ruth Heselhaus, Senior Consultant Business Intelligence, Windhoff Group Current technical publication: "SAP BW/4HANA - Das umfassende Handbuch", Rheinwerk Verlag, 2022.

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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.