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SAP Data Services

Fools Guide to BODS - Introductory Tutorial

Updated on Oct 01, 2020

This article is a guide to the readers who are totally ignorant about the tool SAP Business Objects Data Services. It is presented in a very simple way so that readers would be familiar with common terms, terminologies and would be able to run simple programs.

Chapter Index

  • Objective
  • Pre –Requisites
  • Inclusions and Exclusions
  • Introduction to BODS
  • Common terms and terminologies
  • BODS Architecture
  • Getting started
  • Repository Creation
  • Job Server Configuration
  • Registering with CMC
  • Starting up BODS –Launching the Designer
  • Creating, Executing and Debugging BODS Jobs
  • Creating our first job
  • Executing jobs
  • Debugging jobs
  • ETL using files
  • Exporting Importing ATLS
  • Data Profiling
  • Do’s and Don’ts and Programmer tips


After reading this article, a normal person with elementary programming knowledge would be able to work on SAP Business Objects Data Services (which will be referred to as tool, BODS, Data services or BODI hereafter), and would be in a position to understand its basics and working. The person reading this book would be able to get acquainted to BODS in less than a week’s time .This book will also be an entry for professionals who are eager to get on to the Business Objects Data services world and a confidence booster to attend interviews .



PC with minimum 8 GB RAM and Processor 3i and above


SAP Business Objects Data Services 4.0 preinstalled. Any RDMS preinstalled (SQL Express 2008 preferred as that will be used for examples and illustration throughout the book).The RDMS would have to be installed prior to BODS.


Basic programming knowledge and basic SQL knowledge. In other words anyone who understands the terms such as, “If then else“, ”Loops”, Database, Tables, Query, DML and DDL statements should be able to follow this tutorial without any trouble. Also someone who recognizes or is aware of business terms like Data, Transformation, “ETL”, “Data warehousing”, “Data Migration”, ERP (some these terms are explained briefly in the following chapters) and familiarity with names of popular databases and softwares and ERPs like SAP, Oracle, SQL Server.

Exclusions and Inclusions

  • Not all the functions, transforms, objects, methods or buttons or menus are not covered in the book.
  • The latest release Data services 4.0 would be used for illustrations and examples.
  • Installation of the tool is not covered in this book.
  • Other tools that are installed with the BODS suite including Information steward, Management console are not covered in the scope of this book.
  • Any logic building or solution design is not an objective of this book.


What is “SAP Business Objects Data Services”?

This is a software tool designed by Business Object ( a company that got acquired by SAP in 2007). Some of the basic purpose of this tool is to perform jobs like –

  • ETL (Extraction Transformation and Loading) – Pulling out data from any system/database/tables ,applying changes to modify the data or applying programming logic to enhance the extracted data ,and loading data into any other system/database or tables. E.g.: ETL of data from SQL server database to Oracle.
  • Data Warehousing – A database specifically designed and developed in a particular format to enable easy data analysis or reporting. This could be developed using data from various databases or any other data sources.
  • Data Migration - Moving of data from one place to another. This is a subset of ETL where data is relocated from one software system or database to another .This also involves modification and alteration of data.
  • Business Intelligence – A concept which combines the data warehousing system and reporting. This is applied to analyze data of organization to effectively perform functions like Business performance improvement.

Why SAP Business Objects Data Services?

There are many other software tools in the market which are capable of doing the same functions or activities as mentioned above or even more. They are the direct competitors for Business Objects. They are Informatica, Datastage, Cognos, and SSIS etc. The above mentioned activities can also be performed using programming tools like .Net or even Java and also directly within database end like SQL Server or Oracle.

The tool BODS provides a very easy and efficient interface to perform these specialist tasks which involve data manipulation. The objects and functions within BODS are specifically designed to perform manipulations and transformation of huge and complex volume of data very efficiently. There are system provided objects and functions which can be dragged and dropped easily and jobs can be created. And, being a SAP tool has very god compatibility with SAP applications compared to any other similar tool.

Common terms and terminologies


Designer is the graphical user interface that lets you create, test, execute and debug BODS Job. This is the space where the data transformations take place.


Repository is like a database that stores the objects in a designer. The job metadata, the transformation rules and the source and target metadata also. There are primarily three types of repositories Local, Central and Profiler. The designer cannot even be opened for any task without having a local repository. In other words local repository is a mandatory repository for BODS functioning. At this point we are not bothered about the other two repositories.


The BODS Engine executes the jobs created using the Designer. When the BODS application is started, there are enough Engines launched to effectively accomplish defined tasks.

Job Server

The Job Server is an application that launches the Data Services processing engine and serves as an interface to the engine and other components in the Data Services suite.

Access Server

The Access Server passes messages between web applications and the Data Services Job Server and engines.


A datastore provides a connection to a data source such as a database. This is a linking interface between the actual backend database and Data services. Through the datastore connection, Data Services is able to import descriptions of the data source such as its metadata.

CMC (Central Management Console)

This is a web based administration tool for BODS which is used for some basic functions such as repository registration, User Management etc.

These terms should be at the finger tips of a BODS programmer as these would be used very often while working on BODS.

BODS Architecture

The illustration below (Figure 1.1) shows the basic architecture of BODS.

Above diagram explains the relation among Designer, central and local repository and web application. We will gradually understand these later. In the next page we will start creating our first BODS application. Click here to get started...

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