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Creating a Data Connector

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Modified on Tue, 01 Oct 2013 02:33 PM Categorized as Data Connectors, Data Preparation, OLAP, SharePoint
Click to return to: Documentation | Connecting to Data


This article shows how to create a data connector with Dundas Dashboard, test the resulting connection to a database, and discover the definitions of physical data structures present in the database.

Note: To connect to certain types of data sources, you may need to install additional software on the Dundas Dashboard server. See System Requirements for more details.

Tip: watch the how to video: Data Connector - Excel

Creating a data connector from the Home Screen

From the Dundas Dashboard Home Screen, you can create a data connector by clicking Connect to Data. In this case, the name of the data connector will be chosen automatically. You can rename the data connector from the Design Explorer at a later time.

The Home Screen.

The Home Screen.

Tip: If you want to create an analytical dashboard instead, select the Analytical Dashboard tab, then click Connect to an OLAP Cube to create a data connector for Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services.

Creating a data connector from the Design Explorer

When you create a data connector from the Design Explorer, you have the option of choosing a name for your connector and also choosing its destination. For example, if you have a sub-folder in the Design Explorer called My Data Connectors, you can choose to create a new data connector in that location instead of the top-level Data Connectors folder.

To create a data connector from the Design Explorer:

  1. Click Design Explorer in the Sidebar.
    Accessing the Design Explorer from the Sidebar.
  2. Select the Data Connectors folder, then click its menu button.
    The Data Connectors menu.
  3. From the Data Connectors menu, choose New Data Connector.
  4. In the text box below the Data Connectors folder, type a name for the data connector, then press ENTER.
    Data connector name.

The new data connector appears as an item in the Design Explorer and the Data Connector Designer is displayed in the content area of the application.

The Data Connector Designer.

The Data Connector Designer.

Configure general settings for your data connector

In the General tab of the Data Connector Designer, perform the following steps:

  1. (Optional) Enter a description for your data connector in the Description box. You can enter text up to 2000 characters in length.
  2. (Optional) Enter a URL in the Additional info URL box. Use this option to link to a website that provides more information about your data source. You will be able to access this link from the Additional Information dialog.
  3. (Optional) Select the Connect as option if you want to connect to your data source using Windows user credentials other than those under which IIS is running (⪚ your own Windows credentials). This can help you to avoid having to grant data source permissions to the IIS user (⪚ the ASPNET user on Windows XP), or to the user account under which the Dundas Dashboard Scheduler service runs. You will typically use this option when connecting to SSAS, Excel/flat files, or SharePoint data sources.
    • First, select the Connect as check box.
      Connect as.
    • Next, choose the login method. You have two choices:
      • Log in on Dundas Dashboard server - The Windows user credentials you supply will be used to log in locally on the Dundas Dashboard server. This is the default setting.
      • Relay credentials - The Windows user credentials you supply will be used for network connections without impersonation. The Windows user you specify will not be required to log in locally on the Dundas Dashboard server.
    • Enter the Windows username, domain, and password.
  4. Use the Provider dropdown list to choose a data provider. Depending on your choice, proceed with one of the following options:
  5. (Optional) Enter the Command timeout value, which specifies the maximum number of seconds to wait until the first row of data is returned from the database. If you have dashboards that result in long running database queries, you may need to increase this value in order to avoid timeout errors during dashboard viewing.

Configure caching for your data connector

From the Caching tab in the Data Connector Designer, you can optionally configure sync database caching for select virtual tables that are based upon your data connector. Sync database caching can help to improve performance and, when combined with scheduling, is applicable in cases where permanent connections to data sources are not permitted by your organization.

Note that sync database caching does not apply to the following data providers:

  • Other data sources (⪚ CSV, Excel, SharePoint Lists and Excel Services)
  • Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services 2005 or above
  • SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0.

From the Caching tab, you can also set up memory caching, which involves storing data results in memory on the server or client after initial data retrieval.

For more details, see Caching Data.

Test the connection and save your changes

To complete the configuration of your data connector:

  1. Test the connection to your data source by clicking the Test Connection button in the Dundas Dashboard Toolbar.
    The Test Connection button.
  2. Save your data connector by clicking the Save button in the Dundas Dashboard Toolbar. You will be prompted with the message: "Would you like to discover data structures now?" Click Yes to save the data connector and perform the discovery (which may take several seconds or more to complete). If the discovery is successful, items for any tables, views, functions, stored procedures, or cubes found in your data source will appear in the Design Explorer as child items of your newly created data connector.
    A data connector with discovered data structures in the Design Explorer.
  3. (Optional) Expand a table, view, function, or stored procedure data structure in the Design Explorer to see its column/parameter names and corresponding data types.
    Expanding a table item in the Design Explorer.

You have created a data connector, tested its connection to your data source, and discovered physical data structures such as tables and views. You can now use this data connector and the discovered data structures to define virtual tables (or virtual cubes).

Advanced provider options

For certain data providers, you can configure provider-specific connection options in a properties grid by clicking the Advanced button. Depending on the situation, you may need to configure specific advanced properties in order to connect to your data.

See Advanced Properties for Data Providers for more details.

Advanced connection options for the Microsoft Access data provider.

Advanced connection options for the Microsoft Access data provider.

Related topics

Click to return to: Documentation | Connecting to Data

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