I am at the annual SAP Sapphire conference this week and I attended a couple of sessions about running your SAP BW system on the Teradata EDW.  One presentation was by Storm Archer from SAP and Ellen Boerger from Teradata.  The other was by Wayne Boyle from Teradata.  The presentation by Storm and Ellen also had a customer case study of an actual customer who was deploying their SAP BW on Teradata.  One of the main reasons this customer moved to Teradata was of course the performance and scalability of the Teradata database.

What was interesting for me in these presentations is how SAP has made BW run on Teradata.  Up till now, BW only ran on Oracle, IBM DB2, and Microsoft SQL Server.  Each of these “ports” of BW are very database specific.  In the Teradata case, SAP has built a new interface layer that uses MaxDB.  It seems this interface layer lets BW think it is running on MaxDB and things like your metadata are stored in MaxDB.  However, the MaxDB interface layer is then able to use Teradata as your storage engine and push all processing down to Teradata.  Therefore, BW is now isolated from the underlying database.  You would think this architecture would have a performance impact due to the additional MaxDB layer.  However, according to Storm, on a 100 million row load test the Teradata system runs about 60% faster than a reference system in Walldorf, Germany (a little birdie told me this was a “blue” system).  For query performance, the Teradata system runs average queries 3-5 times faster than the reference system.  What is even more interesting is that queries that previously could not run at this specific customer, actually worked on the Teradata system.

It seems like SAP and Teradata have a winner in this new “foundation” architecture.  The way this architecture works, you could actually extend this to any underlying database.  Now that SAP owns Sybase, it might be interesting to see this architecture deployed on Sybase and see what the results are.  Nonetheless, anyone wanting an SAP BW system that has great performance and scalability should definitely be looking at this BW on Teradata solution.  According to Storm Archer, this solution is now wrapping up ramp-up and will be generally available as of May 30, 2011.  Good job SAP and Teradata.