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Overview - Data Connectors

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Modified on Tue, 01 Oct 2013 02:36 PM Categorized as Data Connectors, Data Preparation, Overview
Click to return to: Documentation | Connecting to Data

Data connectors

A data connector encapsulates all of the information necessary to connect to and query a specific instance of a physical data source. This information may include the name of the database server, the type of data provider to use, and the credentials required for database access.

With Dundas Dashboard, you can create data connectors for different types of data sources, including:

  • Amazon Redshift
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or above
  • Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) 2005 or above
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro / dBASE
  • MySQL 5.x
  • OData (Open Data Protocol) sources including Windows Azure Marketplace
  • ODBC (for data sources that have an ODBC driver)
  • Oracle 10g or 11g
  • Oracle Essbase
  • Other data sources (⪚ CSV, Excel, SharePoint Lists and Excel Services)
  • Salesforce
  • SAP MaxDB 7.x
  • SAP NetWeaver BW 7.0 (Business Warehouse)
  • Teradata Database 12.0 or higher
  • Windows Azure SQL Database (SQL Azure)

Note: Other versions of data sources, such as Oracle 9i, may also work but they are unsupported by Dundas Data Visualization, Inc. For the complete list of supported data source databases, see System Requirements.

The SSAS data connector also supports Microsoft PowerPivot XLSX files hosted on a SharePoint 2010 server.

Once you have defined a data connector, you can initiate a discovery of the physical data structures contained within the associated data source. The discovery process returns object definitions for any database tables, views, functions, stored procedures, or cubes that are found.

Data connectors and their associated object definitions can be saved as part of a Dundas Dashboard project. Once saved, the data connectors can be made accessible to other Dundas Dashboard users.

A data connector in the Design Explorer.

A data connector in the Design Explorer.

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.

To begin creating data connectors, see Creating a Data Connector.


The following figure illustrates how data connectors fit into the overall Dundas Dashboard workflow.

Workflow for data connectors.

Workflow for data connectors.


From the Caching tab in the Data Connector Designer, you can enable sync database caching for all virtual tables that are based upon your data connector. By caching the data resulting from a virtual table into the Dundas Dashboard sync database, you can improve application performance as the virtual table query is executed only at pre-determined times.

By scheduling sync database caching operations, you can also address situations where your data source does not allow permanent connections, whether for security or other business reasons. For example, a database administrator may permit a line-of-business database to be queried by other applications only during the night.

To further improve performance, data results can also be cached in memory on the server or client after initial data retrieval.

See Caching Data.

Importing data

To use flat files (⪚ CSV, Excel) or SharePoint (Lists or Excel Services) as a data source, you must import their data into the system. The import can be done on a one-time basis or configured to run on a periodic schedule.

Multiple files (or data sources) can be imported per data connector. In the case of flat files, the recommended practice is to set up a network share folder and copy the files to be imported to that folder beforehand.

See Importing Data.

Testing a data connection

Use the Test Connection feature as a quick means of verifying that your data connector has been configured with the correct connection information, such as user credentials.

See Testing a Data Connection.

Discovering data structures

With Dundas Dashboard, you can discover data structures, such as tables and views, that are present in your data source. When you save a data connector from the Data Connector Designer, you will be prompted with the option of discovering data structures. Alternatively, you can perform this discovery at any time from the Design Explorer.

See Discovering Data Structures.

Viewing a data structure

From the Design Explorer, you can view the definition of a discovered data structure and optionally preview a subset of its data. You can use this feature to help you decide which tables, views, functions, and stored procedures are needed to define your virtual tables (or which cube elements are needed to define your virtual cubes).

See Viewing a Data Structure.

Viewing an OLAP cube using an SSAS data connector.

Viewing an OLAP cube using an SSAS data connector.

Related topics

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