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Data View Builder vs. Data Flow

Learning Article
  • With the introduction of the Data Flow, you might wonder – which feature to use? The Data View Builder or the Data Flow?
    Here, we’ll try to give you a comparison of both options.

    Main goal

    The main goal of the Data View Builder is data federation, meaning the data is stored outside of your SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and made accessible on-demand as one, integrated data set. The Data View Builder is your tool of choice for data modeling.

    The Data Flow aims to persist data, enabling you to work more efficiently with large data sources – such as data lakes – where data federation would result in very slow response times. Whenever a data flow is executed, the data will be read, transformed and persisted into the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud target. The Data Flow is your tool of choice for ETL requirements and bringing data into SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.

    Both features can be complimentary. For example, with the Data Flow you can move data from multiple sources into SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. From there, data can be more efficiently accessed with the Data View Builder, which you can use to build quick insights.

    Data transformation

    The Data View Builder allows you to perform a basic set of transformations but has the advantage of offering SQL script as well as a graphical modeling capability.

    In the Data Flow, you have access to the similar set of transformations (joins, unions, projections and aggregations) and use a similar graphical view to easily build your data flow. The main difference is an option to integrate Python code snippets  for more advanced data transformation.


    The Data View Builder supports connections that – in turn – support federation, real-time replication or momentary data snapshots.

    The Data Flow, on the other hand, does not have this requirement and can draws from a richer network of connections, including non-SAP sources, cloud file storage or APIs.

    Of course, flat files, local tables and views modeled in SAP Data Warehouse Cloud are supported in both cases.


    With Data View Builder, a data model will result in a single output structure, in an inherited form. The target will also be federated. As you can expect from the feature name, in the Data View Builder you can create views, which can be transformed into analytical data sets for further visualization as data stories or for business modeling in the Business Builder.

    In the Data Flow results come in multiple, definable output structures. You can choose to add (or replace) the data in an existing table or create a new output. The target will be, of course, persisted.