Thursday, December 20, 2007

Simplify Data Distribution with the Open Hub Process

Find out how SAP updated the open hub concept in SAP NetWeaver 7.0. Then see how to set up an open hub in four steps.

Key Concept

Open hub service is the idea that your SAP NetWeaver BI system can be the core of your data cleansing, storage, and distribution needs. Using SAP NetWeaver BI as a hub lets you easily distribute cleansed data to downstream systems that have specific data needs. For example, it might be necessary for SAP NetWeaver BI, as the hub, to feed data to a secondary legacy business information system or other custom application. Going through SAP NetWeaver BI ensures a controlled distribution and consistent data distribution across systems.

Although the concept of an open hub, a controlled extraction from SAP Net-Weaver BI, is not new, the process to implement it has changed significantly with SAP NetWeaver 7.0. Now you can realize open hub distribution with only minor extensions to your core SAP Net-Weaver BI extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) knowledge because the support for open hub is so tightly integrated in the product.

Other ways to export data involve using the LISTCUBE transaction or broadcasting. LISTCUBE is mostly a back-end tool to review the data loaded in the InfoCube. It does not permit you to manipulate or schedule the data. BEx Broadcaster also lacks options that allow you to manipulate data. Furthermore, you cannot export the data to a comma separated value (CSV) file or database table for analysis. When the task involves a significant amount of data that you need to export to a file or table, and you want to be able to manipulate the data, use the open hub process.

In BW 3.x, using open hub service involved transaction RSBO and required two objects. The first object, an open hub destination, contained the settings to define an output table or file to the hub service. The second object, the InfoSpoke, was an object to store the settings to link a source BW object (e.g., an InfoCube of data) to the destination. You also needed Business Add-Ins (BAdIs). In SAP NetWeaver BI 7.0, you no longer need an InfoSpoke or BAdIs. The open hub destination is now just another target in the ETL process.

In SAP NetWeaver BI 7.0, InfoPackages move the data to the persistent staging area (PSA). DTPs transfer it from point to point inside SAP NetWeaver BI, executing transformations to manipulate and cleanse the data. I’ll show you the four-step process to build the necessary objects to accomplish your controlled extraction from SAP NetWeaver BI 7.0 using an open hub.

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