Tag Archives: SAP BW

Informatica ILM Nearline Achieves SAP-Certified Integration

Informatica announced yesterday the  Informatica ILM Nearline product is SAP-certified.  ILM Nearline helps IT organizations reduce costs of managing data growth in existing implementations of the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP NetWeaver BW) and SAP HANA. By doing so, customers can leverage freed budgets and resources to invest in its application landscape and data center modernization initiatives. Informatica ILM Nearline v6.1A for use with SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP HANA, available today, is purpose-built for SAP environments leveraging native SAP interfaces.

Data volumes are growing the fastest in data warehouse and reporting applications[1], yet a significant amount of it is rarely used or infrequently accessed. In deployments of SAP NetWeaver BW, standard SAP archiving can reduce the size of a production data warehouse database to help preserve its performance, but if users ever want to query or manipulate the archived data, the data needs to be loaded back into the production system disrupting data analytics processes and extending time to insight. The same holds true for SAP HANA.

To address this, ILM Nearline enables IT to migrate large volumes of largely inactive SAP NetWeaver BW or SAP HANA data from the production database or in memory store to online, secure, highly compressed, immutable files in a near-line system while maintaining end-user access.  The result is a controlled environment running SAP NetWeaver BW or SAP HANA with predictable, ongoing hardware, software and maintenance costs.  This helps ensure service-level agreements (SLAs) can be met while freeing up ongoing budget and resources so IT can focus on innovation.

Informatic ILM Nearline for use with SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP HANA has been certified with the following interfaces:

“Informatica ILM Nearline for use with SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP HANA is all about reducing the costs of data while keeping the data easily accessible and thus valuable,” said Adam Wilson, general manager, ILM, Informatica. “As data volumes continue to soar, the solution is especially game-changing for organizations implementing SAP HANA as they can use the Informatica-enabled savings to help offset and control the costs of their SAP HANA licenses without disrupting the current SAP NetWeaver BW users’ access to the data.”

Specific advantages of Informatica ILM Nearline include:

  • Industry-leading compression rates – Informatica ILM Nearline’s compression rates exceed standard database compression rates by a sizable margin. Customers typically achieve rates in excess of 90 percent, and some have reported rates as high as 98 percent.
  •  Easy administration and data access – No database administration is required for data archived by Informatica ILM Nearline. Data is accessible from the user’s standard SAP application screen without any IT interventions and is efficiently stored to simplify backup, restore and data replication processes.
  • Limitless capacity – Highly scalable, the solution is designed to store limitless amounts of data without affecting data access performance.
  • Easy storage tiering – As data is stored in a highly compressed format, the nearline archive can be easily migrated from one storage location to another in support of a tiered storage strategy.

Available now, Informatica ILM Nearline for use with SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP HANA is based on intellectual property acquired from Sand Technology in Q4 2011 and enhanced by Informatica.


[1] Informatica Survey Results, January 23, 2013 (citation from Enterprise Data Archive for Hybrid IT Webinar)

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Informatica ILM Nearline – Best Practices

In previous posts, we introduced the concept of the Informatica ILM Nearline and discussed how Informatica ILM Nearline could help your business. To recapitulate: the major advantage of Informatica ILM Nearline is its superior data access performance, which enables a more aggressive approach to migrating huge volumes of data out of the online repository to an accessible, highly compressed archive (on inexpensive 2nd and 3rd tier storage infrastructure).

Today, I will be considering the question of when an enterprise should consider implementing Informatica ILM Nearline. Broadly speaking, such implementations fall into two categories: they either offer a “cure” for an existing data management problem or represent a proactive implementation of data best practices within the organization.

Cure or Prevention?

The “cure” type of implementation is typically associated with a data warehouse or business application “rescue” project. This is undertaken when the production system grows to a point where database size causes major performance problems and affects the ability to meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and manage business processes in a timely manner. In these kinds of situation, it is mainly the operations division of the organization that is affected, and who demand an immediate fix that can take the form of an Informatica ILM Nearline implementation. The question here is: How quickly can the “cure” implementation stabilize performance and ensure satisfaction of SLAs?

On the other hand, the best practice approach, much like current practices related to healthy living, focuses on prevention rather than on curing. In this respect, best practices dictate that the Informatica ILM Nearline implementation should start as soon as some of the data in the production system becomes “infrequently accessed”, or “cold”. In data warehouses and data marts where the current month or two is being analyzed most often, this means data older than 90 days. For transactional systems the archiving cutoff may be a year or two, depending on typical length of your business processes. The main idea is to keep the size production databases from inflating for no good business reason and ‘nearlining’ the data as soon as possible without interrupting business operations or hurting the value of your data. Ultimately this should work to protect the enterprise from an operational crisis arising from deteriorating performance and unmet SLAs.

In order to better judge the impact of using either of these two approaches, it is important to understand the various steps involved in the “Nearlining” process. What do we find when we “dissect” the process of leveraging the Informatica ILM Nearline?

Dissecting the “Informatica ILM Nearline” Process

Informatica Informatica ILM Nearline involves multiple processes, whose performance characteristics can significantly influence the speed at which data is migrated out of the online database. The various processes are managed by the overall integrated nearline solution of Informatica coupled with a SAP Business Warehouse system:

  • The first step is to lock the data that is targeted by the archiving process, in order to ensure that the data is not modified while the process is going on. SAP Business Warehouse does it automatically and you execute Data Archive Processes (DAP) for the cold data.
  • Next comes the extraction of the data to be migrated. This is usually achieved via an SQL statement based on business rules for data migration. Often, the extraction can be performed using multiple extraction/consumer processes working in parallel.
  • The next step is to secure the newly extracted data, so that it is recoverable.
  • Then, the integrity of the extracted data must be validated (normally by comparing it to its online counterpart).

Database Housekeeping

  • Next, delete the online data that has been moved to nearline.
  • Then, reorganize the tablespace of the deleted data.
  • Finally, rebuild/reorganize the index associated with the online table from which data has been nearlined.

The Database Housekeeping process is often the slowest part of a Data Nearlining process, and thus can dictate the pace and scheduling of the implementation. In a production environment, the database housekeeping process is frequently decoupled from ongoing operations and performed over a weekend. It may be surprising to learn that deleting data can be a more expensive process than inserting it, but just ask an enterprise DBA about what is involved in deleting 1 TB from an Enterprise Data Warehouse and see what answer you get: for many, the task of fitting such a process into standard Batch Windows would be a nightmare.

So, it is easy to see that starting earlier in implementing Informatica ILM Nearline as a best practice can help to massively reduce not only the cost of the implementation, but also the time required to perform it. Therefore, the main recommendation to take away from this discussion is: Don’t wait too long to consider embarking on your Informatica ILM Nearline strategy!

That’s it for today. In my next post, I will take up the topic of which data should be initially considered as a candidate for migration.

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How Can an Informatica ILM Nearline Solution Help Your Business?

In my last post, I discussed how our Informatica ILM Nearline allows vast amounts of detail data to be accessed at speeds that rival the performance of online systems, which in turn gives business analysts and application managers the power to assess and fine-tune important business initiatives on the basis of actual historical facts. We saw that the promise of Informatica ILM Nearline is basically to give you all the data you want, when and how you want it — without compromising the performance of existing data warehouse and business reporting systems.

Today, I want to consider what this capability means specifically for a business. What are the concrete benefits of implementing Informatica ILM Nearline? Here are a few of the most important ones.

Informatica ILM Nearline enables you to keep all your valuable data available for analysis.

Having more data accessible – more details, covering longer periods – enables a number of improvements in Business Intelligence processes:

  • A clearer understanding of emerging trends in the business – what will go well in the future as well as what is now “going south”
  • Better support for iterative analyses, enabling more intensive Business Performance Management (BPM)
  • Better insight into customer behavior over the long term
  • More precise target marketing, bringing a three- to five-fold improvement in campaign yield

Informatica ILM Nearline enables you to dramatically increase information storage and maintain service levels without increasing costs or administration requirements.

  • Extremely high compression rates give the ability to store considerably more information in a given hardware configuration
  • A substantially reduced data footprint means much faster data processing, enabling effective satisfaction of Service Level Agreements without extensive investments in processing power
  • Minimal administration requirements bring reductions in resource costs, and ensure that valuable IT and business resources will not be diverted from important tasks just to manage and maintain the Informatica ILM Nearline implementation
  • High data compression also substantially reduces the cost of maintaining a data center by reducing requirements for floor space, air conditioning and so on.

Informatica ILM Nearline simplifies and accelerates Disaster Recovery scenarios.

A reduced data footprint means more data can be moved across existing networks, making Informatica ILM Nearline an ideal infrastructure for implementing and securing an offsite backup process for massive amounts of data,

Informatica ILM Nearline keeps all detail data in an immutable form, available for delivery on request.

Having read-only detail data available on-demand enables quick response to audit requests, avoiding the possibility of costly penalties for non-compliance. Optional security packages can be used to control user access and data privacy.

Informatica ILM Nearline makes it easy to offload data from the online database before making final decisions about what is to be moved to an archiving solution.

The traditional archiving process typically involves extensive analysis of data usage patterns in order to determine what should be moved to relatively inaccessible archival storage. With an Informatica ILM Nearline solution, it’s a simple matter to move large amounts of data out of the online database — thereby improving performance and guaranteeing satisfaction of SLA’s, — while still keeping the data available for access when required. Data that is determined to be no longer used, but which still needs to be kept around to comply with data retention policies or regulations, can then be easily moved into an archiving solution.

Taken together, these benefits make a strong case for implementing an Informatica ILM Nearline solution when the data tsunami threatens to overwhelm the enterprise data warehouse. In future posts, I will be investigating each of these in more detail.

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Exploring the Informatica ILM Nearline 6.1A

In today’s post, I want to write about the “Informatica ILM Nearline 6.1A″. Although this Nearline concept is not new, it is still not very known and represents the logical evolution of business applications,  data warehouses and information lifecycle approaches that have struggled to maintain acceptable performance levels in the face of the increasingly intense “data tsunami” that looms over today’s business world. Whereas older archiving solutions based their viability on the declining prices of hardware and storage, ILM Nearline 6.1A embraces the dynamism of a software and services approach to fully leverage the potential of large enterprise data architectures.

Looking back, we can now see that the older data management solutions presented a paradox: in order to mitigate performance issues and meet Service Level Agreements (SLA) with users, they actually prevented or limited ad-hoc access to data. On the basis of system monitoring and usage statistics, this inaccessible data was then declared to be unused, and this was cited as an excuse for locking it away entirely. In effect, users were told: “Since you can’t get at it, you can’t use it, and therefore we’re not going to give it to you”!

ILM Nearline 6.1A, by contrast, allows historical data to be accessed with near-online speeds, empowering business analysts to measure and perfect key business initiatives through analysis of actual historical details. In other words, ILM Nearline 6.1A gives you all the data you want, when and how you want it (without impacting the performance of existing warehouse reporting systems!).

Aside from the obvious economic and environmental benefits of this software-centric approach and the associated best practices, the value of ILM Nearline 6.1A can be assessed in terms of the core proposition cited by Tim O’Reilly when he coined the term “Web 2.0″:

“The value of the software is proportional to the scale and dynamism of the data it helps to manage.”

In this regard, ILM Nearline 6.1A provides a number of important advantages over prior methodologies:

Keeps data accessible: ILM Nearline 6.1A enables optimal performance from the online database while keeping all data easily accessible. This massively reduces the work required to identify, access and restore archived data, while minimizing the performance hit involved in doing so in a production environment.

Keeps the online database “lean”: Because data archived to the ILM Nearline 6.1A can still be easily accessed by users at near-online speeds, it allows for much more recent data to be moved out of the online system than would be possible with archiving. This results in far better online system performance and greater flexibility to further support user requirements without performance trade-offs. It is also a big win for customers moving their systems to HANA.

Relieves data management stress: Data can be moved to ILM Nearline 6.1A without the substantial ongoing analysis of user access patterns that is usually required by archiving products. The process is typically based on a rule as simple as “move all data older than x months from the ten largest InfoProviders”.

Mitigates administrative risk: Unlike archived data, ILM Nearline 6.1A data requires little or no additional ongoing administration, and no additional administrative intervention is required to access it.

Lets analysts be analysts: With ILM Nearline 6.1A, far less time is taken up in gaining access to key data and “cleansing it”, so much more time can be spent performing “what if” scenarios before recommending a course of action for the company. This improves not only the productivity but also the quality of work of key business analysts and statistical gurus.

Copes with data structure changes: ILM Nearline 6.1A can easily deal with data model changes, making it possible to query data structured according to an older model alongside current data. With archive data, this would require considerable administrative work.

Leverages existing storage environments: Compared to older archiving products/strategies, the high degree of compression offered by ILM Nearline 6.1A greatly increases the amount of information that can be stored as well as the speed at which it can be accessed.

Keeps data private and secure: ILM Nearline 6.1A has privacy and security features that protect key information from being seen by ad-hoc business analysts (for example: names, social security numbers, credit card information).

In short, ILM Nearline 6.1A offers a significant advantage over other nearline and archiving technologies. When data needs be removed from the online database in order to improve performance, but still needs to be readily accessible by users to conduct long-term analysis, historical reporting, or to rebuild aggregates/KPIs/InfoCubes for period-over-period analysis, ILM Nearline 6.1A is currently the only workable solution available.

In my next post, I’ll discuss more specifically how implementing the ILM Nearline 6.1A solution can benefit your business apps, data warehouses and your business processes.


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What is Data Temperature and How Does it Relate to Storage Tiers?

In my previous blog I briefly mentioned the term “data temperature.” But what exactly does this term mean? Picture yourself logging to your bank website to look for a transaction in your checking account. Very frequently you want to look for pending transactions and debits and credits that happened in the last 10 days. Frequently you need to look further, maybe one month statement, to search for a check that you don’t remember was for what. Maybe once in a quarter, you need to get information about a debit that happened three months ago, about a subscription of a new magazine that is not coming to your mailbox. And of course, once a year you check yearly statements for your tax return. Give or take a few other scenarios, I am pretty sure I covered most of your use cases, right? (more…)

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Is Your SAP BW Ready for HANA? Consider Nearline or Archiving to Reduce Your Production Data Size

The buzzword of the 2012 SAP TechEd was HANA. All sessions were fully booked with long lines in the corridors with IT managers, developers, DBAs and BASIS administrators anticipating the miracles of memory computing performance.

I attended sessions about archiving, near-line and preparedness to uptake HANA. On the other hand, those sessions were almost empty, some having less than 10 people in the room. It makes me wonder: do people realize that HANA may be the future, but to be able to deploy it economically and practically, you need to manage the data volume in your current production environment? (more…)

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