In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, enterprises seek innovative solutions that streamline data modeling and development processes while ensuring maximum efficiency and scalability.
Enter SAP Core Data Services (CDS) — a game-changing technology that revolutionizes how businesses structure, access, consume, exchange, and store their data.
By bridging the gap between application development and database design, SAP CDS empowers organizations to craft sophisticated, flexible, and future-proof information models.
This article will take you through an in-depth overview of CDS, including both ABAP Core Data Services views and SAP HANA CDS views, and provide a few examples of virtual data models in SAP, as well as help you understand where our team of SAP consultants can fit in your organization.
Read on to learn more!
Understanding Core Data Services
SAP CDS, or Core Data Services, offers a well-defined data modeling infrastructure designed to help users leverage SAP HANA’s in-memory database more efficiently, define data models on the database server instead of the application server, and improve overall performance across their SAP landscape.
With Core Data Services in SAP, users are enabled to cut down on the time needed to execute their SAP applications by accessing data quickly and easily, regardless of the location or complexity of each individual data source.
SAP CDS also offers capabilities beyond those of traditional data modeling tools, making it easier for users to leverage conceptual modeling, extensions, relationship definitions, and other built-in tools to improve the way their data models are defined and consumed across the entire organization.
What is a CDS View?
CDS views refer to virtual data models in SAP HANA that provide access to underlying tables in the SAP HANA database and define the structure of an SQL view on SAP HANA, improving the efficiency of data programming, modeling, and management activities.
With a well-defined CDS view, users are enabled to push logic from the application server to the existing database and client-side services, simplifying business data on a conceptual level and enhancing system productivity.
Here are three additional enhancements for CDS view functionality in SAP:
- Associations: Define the relationships between CDS views and annotations, facilitate the use of any CDS entity on a specific domain, and replace joins with simple path expressions in queries.
- Annotations: Enrich information models with domain-specific metadata and leverage code snippets to enable specific functions within SAP — can be Header or Body annotations depending on the view, code, and data model specifications.
- Expressions: Used to manage and aggregate calculations and queries in specific SAP data models.
Main Types of SAP CDS Views
CDS views were initially only available in the SAP HANA environment, but in the modern SAP landscape, they are available in SAP NetWeaver to enable the use of both SAP HANA and ABAP CDS views.
This way, companies can support relationship definitions, extensions, built-in functions, and advanced conceptual modeling across more than one database and extend their functionality past that of traditional modeling tools. There are two main types of CDS views in SAP, including:
HANA CDS Views
HANA CDS views use database objects in the SAP HANA database to provide a powerful and flexible way to model and analyze data. They allow users to define virtual models, including joins, aggregations, and calculated fields, simplify access, and improve performance for complex queries.
ABAP CDS Views
An ABAP CDS view leverages SAP’s ABAP programming language to enable developers to define semantically rich data models directly within the ABAP application server. These offer a comprehensive set of features, including annotations, associations, and predefined functions, to facilitate seamless integration with SAP Fiori applications and provide a solid foundation for building ABAP-based business logic.
Examples of CDS Data Models in SAP
SAP CDS models can be easily created or interpreted to foster extensions by third-party systems, maintain dynamic functionality across the landscape, and remain compliant with open specification guidelines for JSON Schema and Core Schema Notation. Here are a few examples of CDS models in the SAP system:
1) Definition Language (CDL)
This involves providing a reference and overview for all CDS entities and features written in traditional CDS definition language.
2) Query Notation (CQN)
3) Schema Notation (CSN)
4) Expressions (CXN)
5) Query Language (CQL)
This documents the CDS Query Language (CQL), an extension of the standard SQL statement, to improve the accuracy and consistency of CDS models across the landscape.
Key Advantages of CDS Views in SAP
Here are the top five advantages of SAP CDS views for business users in any industry:
SAP CDS enables business users to access real-time data directly from the database without the need for complex transformations or intermediaries.
This means that they can retrieve the most up-to-date information and gain instant insights into business performance, market trends, and customer behavior, leading to quicker and more informed decision-making across teams.
Unified Data Model
With SAP CDS, business users can leverage a single, consistent, and standardized data model across the entire organization. This unified approach to data management ensures data integrity and reduces discrepancies for improved data quality and reliability over time.
It also fosters collaboration among different teams, promoting a shared understanding of data, and facilitating cross-functional analysis for new and existing database tables and models.
Ad Hoc Reporting and Analysis
Business users can leverage SAP CDS functionality to perform ad hoc reporting and analysis, eliminating the dependency on IT teams for queries at every database level.
By utilizing simple SQL-like queries, customers can extract the data they need and customize reports based on their specific requirements, empowering them to gain insights on demand and respond quickly to changing business conditions.
SAP CDS optimizes data retrieval and processing, delivering superior performance even when dealing with large datasets.
The built-in capabilities for aggregations, joins, and filtering allow business users to perform complex queries efficiently, ensuring that critical information is readily available without compromising system performance or causing unnecessary downtime.
Future-Proof Data Modeling
SAP CDS views promote a forward-looking approach to data modeling, facilitating the development of reusable data elements and entities. This future-proof strategy enables business users to adapt quickly to changing business needs and evolving technology landscapes.
With this, they can build robust information models that can withstand change over time and seamlessly accommodate business growth and innovation in the long run.
How Can We Help?
Whether you need help leveraging SAP’s built-in functions to optimize existing data management strategies, additional support using data definition language to define the artifacts that comprise each data model, or just an extra hand navigating integrations with your SAP BW, HANA, and non-SAP systems, Surety Systems is here to help.
Our team of senior-level, US-based SAP consultants has what it takes to handle all your SAP projects, from pre-implementation planning to integrations, upgrades, enhancements, and more.
Getting Started with Us
Interested in learning more about SAP CDS views or where our team of SAP consultants can fit in your organization?
Contact us today for more information!