About OLAP universes - SAP BO

What is an OLAP universe?

An OLAP universe is a Business Objects universe that has been generated from an OLAP cube or query. The universe is created automatically from a selected connection to an OLAP data source.

Once the universe has been created, it can be exported to the Central Management Server (CMS) as any other universe. The universe is then available to Web Intelligence users to run queries and create reports.

You generate and maintain an OLAP universe in the following way:

  • To generate an OLAP universe, first select the OLAP data source.
  • Define a connection to the data source using the New Connection wizard, and select the connection for a new universe.

Designer generates the universe automatically. OLAP structures are mapped directly to classes, measures, dimensions, details, and filters in the universe. The universe structure appears in the Universe pane.

  • You can save and export the OLAP universe to the CMS.
  • You can modify any of the OLAP universe components.
  • The Update OLAP Universe wizard allows you manage the lifecycle of the OLAP universe. The wizard automatically refreshes the universe structure with changes made in the OLAP data source. The wizard can differentiate generated objects from objects added or modified manually, allowing you to preserve the manual changes made in Designer.

Which OLAP data sources can be used to create a universe?

You can use Designer to create OLAP universes automatically from the following OLAP data sources:

  • SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW)
  • Microsoft Analysis Services (MSAS) 2000
  • Microsoft Analysis Services (MSAS) 2005
  • Hyperion Essbase

One universe is generated automatically from one cube or query. OLAP universes support a single cube in the universe.

SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW) data sources

When creating an OLAP universe based on a NetWeaver BW data source, you can build the universe based directly on an InfoCube/MultiCube, or based on a BW Query enabled on top of any InfoProvider. An InfoProvider can be:

  • an InfoCube
  • a MultiCube or Multi-InfoProvider
  • an Operational Data Store (ODS)
  • an InfoSet

SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW) InfoCubes as data sources

The following types of InfoCubes are supported as data sources for building OLAP universes:

  • Standard and Transactional InfoCubes: Data and metadata are physically stored in the same SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW) system
  • Remote InfoCube: Data is physically stored on a remote system
  • Note:While fully supported, building and deploying universes on remote InfoCubes is not recommended for ad-hoc query-, reporting-, and analysis-use scenarios. Such architecture is generally not expected to meet query performance expectations with interactive queries.
  • MultiCubes and Multi-Info Providers
  • Note:Building and deploying a Business Objects universe on top of a MultiCube or Multi- Info Provider is identical to building and deploying a universe on top of an InfoCube.

All the characteristics, hierarchies, key figures, including time and unit, in the InfoCube are visible in the universe.SAP NetWeaver BW Queries as data sourcesSAP NetWeaver BW customers use BW Queries to access SAP Business Explorer front-ends.

Note:In order to serve as a data source and become available through the OLAP interface to Business Objects universes, BW queries must be released for OLE DB for OLAP. You allow external access to the BW Query in the SAP NetWeaver BW Query Designer, on the Extended tab of the Query Properties dialog box.

All InfoObjects in the BW query selected as rows, columns, and free characteristics are visible in the universe. This includes characteristics, hierarchies, key figures, structures, and variables.Both InfoSets and Operational Data Stores (ODS) can be exposed to universes via BW Queries.BW Queries based on an ODS

An ODS can be exposed to a universe via a BW Query.

ODS objects are often used to manage detailed transaction-level data before it is aggregated into InfoCubes. Including ODS objects in the NetWeaver data store design is a way to minimize InfoCube size and improve loading and querying performance.

Note:An ODS is usually a large, detailed relational structure. Accessing an ODS via the OLAP BAPI interface does not deliver ideal query performance.

Consider these alternatives to meet end-user expectations for fast report delivery:

  • Create direct access to an ODS via BAPI calls
  • Access the ODS tables using direct SQL in Web Intelligence

BI Queries based on an InfoSet

An InfoSet can be exposed to a universe via a BW Query.InfoSets are sometimes defined in SAP NetWeaver BW to report master data.

Note:You can report master data by basing the universes on InfoCubes, eliminating the requirement to go through InfoSets and BW Queries. The key difference between the two approaches is that master data reported off InfoCubes limits data to valid transactions.

SAP NetWeaver BW Queries as recommended data sources

BW Queries are recommended as data sources for generating Business Objects universes for the following reasons:

  • Not all SAP NetWeaver BW metadata features can be retrieved on an InfoCube level, as summarized in the following table.
  • SAP NetWeaver BW Queries as recommended data sources

  • BW Queries offer a flexible extension to the data modeling environment. Info Cubes require more effort to change.
  • BW Queries offer significant functionality to create customized data sources that meet end-user requirements.

Although BW Queries have advantages as data sources, you do not need a BW Query for every report, nor do you need a universe for every existing BW Query. To minimize maintenance costs, focus the implementation strategy on limiting the final number of BW Queries and universes required to meet all the ad-hoc query and reporting needs. Keep in mind the following points to reduce the number of universes needed:

  • When Web Intelligence is the front-end tool, you are not restricted by the output format in the BW Query.
  • There is no direct impact on performance when working with OLAP universes created from large BW Queries. OLAP universe objects not inserted in the Web Intelligence query have no direct impact on the query performance.

Note:Business Objects recommends having a few BW Queries – from a single one to a handful of them – for every InfoCube or MultiCube that is in scope for ad-hoc query and reporting. Then build a universe on top of each of these BW Queries.

SAP NetWeaver BW multilingual universes

With Web Intelligence, it is possible to leverage the multilingual capabilities of SAP NetWeaver BW. In order to implement a multilingual environment, the NetWeaver BW system must include multilingual metadata and multilingual data.You must create a universe for each language supported by the solution.The language in which the universe connection is created determines the language in which the universe is generated.

The user's SAP authentication determines the language of the data returned to the query The user must log into InfoView using SAP authentication and specify the desired language for results returned from the SAP server.The result-set language is dependent on SAP’s Unicode support. If the SAP system does not contain the data in the desired language, the data is not available in Web Intelligence in this language. Web Intelligence reverts to displaying technical names instead of descriptions when the descriptions are not translated in NetWeaver BW.Prerequisites to using SAP NetWeaver BW in Universe DesignerWhen creating a universe from an SAP NetWeaver BW data source, you can enable SSO (Single Sign On) for view time. SSO allows users to log on to BusinessObjects Enterprise with their SAP Credentials and leverage SAP Authentication.To enable SSO for OLAP Universes on top of SAP, you must install the SAP Integration and configure the SAP Security Plug In.Once SAP security integration is configured, you can use SAP credentials to launch Designer. Create the BusinessObjects Ente prise user name by concatenating the SAP System ID and SAP Client ID as defined when configuring the security integration with the SAP user ID.

MSAS features supported for OLAP universes

The following table summarises the support level for MSAS features for universes generated from an MSAS data source.

MSAS features supported for OLAP universesMSAS features supported for OLAP universes

Essbase features supported for OLAP universes

The following table summarizes the support level for Essbase features for universes generated from a Hyperion Essbase data source.

Essbase features supported for OLAP universesEssbase features supported for OLAP universes


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