With the arrival of SAP HANA around 2010 has tried to lighten SAP systems to display more information in the shortest time possible. This has been possible thanks to technological advances in RAM and storage in solid state disk, where size is not a problem and access to stored data is much faster than traditional disk.
The HCM module is able to use this new technology and applied it in one of most important processes: the payroll process. Due to the large volume of data that typically have these processes and their subsequent analysis and reporting, lot of time is spent each month on these tasks. So SAP has developed a business function called HCM Declustering Tools.
What is Declustering Tools?
Before explaining what it is, we will make a brief summary to know what a cluster is. The large and heavy SAP processes, such as payroll, time management, accounting… are stored in cluster tables, these tables store information in binary strings making much faster access than to a transparent table. The cluster cannot be accessed directly with a SQL statement, in this case you need to pass data to tables where the information is not in binary format.
The Declustering tool will be to extract the data of cluster and place in transparent tables connected by primary keys to facilitate their reading in reports. Thus, access to these tables is done with SQL statements, merge payroll data with other modules: PA, OM…
Once configured the tool, the system will automatically copy the cluster to transparent table each time it is updated, so the data in transparent tables are always current, and therefore the reports are always ready to show the latest results.
HANA’s intervention here is crucial, because with a traditional system performance results show would be like today and we would have no benefit.
With a HANA system the results are amazing, the speed of access to data is so high that what used to take 30 minutes now is processed in 10 seconds; and total size of the cluster is reduced by around 60% in the tables of HANA.
These changes are a breakthrough for analysis and post-payroll reports, significantly reducing the time. But, we still depend on the cluster because the report of payroll is using them to store information there. Currently SAP is silent and leaves open the possibility of changing someday report RPCALCxx to don’t have to depend on the cluster, which would mean a further improvement in performance. Is that the end of the days of cluster?