Tableau’s 4 Primary Connectors to SAP


This database runs applications and stores data in solid-state devices (in-memory) instead of hard-disk drives. Using HANA typically increases throughput, reduces latency, and can vastly increase overall performance.

At this time, far more enterprise customers have invested in HANA than have actually implemented it. HANA solves many of the speed issues commonly reported by SAP BW users. Tableau uses ODBC and SQL to connect to HANA standard tables and views, as well as special analytic content models like analytic views and calculation views.

To do this, be sure to use the _SYS_BIC schema in HANA. Input parameters and variables are supported in the Tableau SAP HANA connector. Many organizations run SAP HANA behind SAP BW, trading some of the speed benefits of SAP HANA for the advanced security and governance of SAP BW.
When SAP HANA is configured to support single sign-on (SSO), after you sign in to the SAP HANA server, you can access data, and publish data sources and workbooks to Tableau Server, without having to re-enter your user name and password.

SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP BW)

Tableau connects to SAP BW, but despite its name, BW isn’t actually a database. SAP BW acts as an ETL tool, handling data requests and feeding data back to Tableau. Hiding behind BW can be one or more of the databases that are certified for SAP systems, including SAP HANA.

Tableau connects to BW using the OLE-DB for OLAP interface and generates MDX queries. The Tableau SAP BW connector is SAP-certified, and also supports mandatory variables.

In this way, Tableau can connect directly to InfoCubes or through BEx queries. Many customers enhance their BW performance with BW Accelerator or HANA. Without these, SAP BW—and a live connection to BW—can be slow. With Tableau Desktop 9.1, the SAP BW connector supports data extracts, which noticeably improves performance. SAP BW query performance depends on many factors, and merely using Tableau at the front end will not improve overall performance. Factors like hardware, database configuration, BW configuration, BW cube design, and query design can all impact performance. To optimize performance, make sure there are no bottlenecks in CPU, memory, or I/O.

SAP Sybase ASE

Although SAP has owned Sybase since 2010, the SAP certification of ASE is a recent development. Sybase launched a product called Sybase SQL Server in 1995. A year later, Sybase changed the product name to Adaptive Server Enterprise to differentiate it from Microsoft SQL Server. The product stays true to its roots and, despite the name change, is still a SQL Server database.

SAP Sybase IQ
This is a column-based database engine designed to handle petabyte-scale data in a cost-effective and scalable way.

“We chose Tableau to understand our SAP data because of its ease of use and intuitiveness. It will help employees across our company to discover, understand, and see trends and outliers in the numbers so they can take quick action.”

—Jerry Pellizzon, Chief Financial Officer, Ceradyne


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