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Data Connection Manager vs Data Connections

patrick_digan
17 - Castor
17 - Castor

Hello! We're on alteryx 2021.2, and we're thinking of moving to alteryx 2021.4. I'm curious about how the Data Connection Manager in 2021.4 compares to the Data Connections available in 2021.2. Here's the blurb on the release notes:

 

patrick_digan_0-1647971362046.png

Part of my confusion is that the current data connections in 2021.2 already have many of these features. For example, all these features of DCM are already available in data connections in 2021.2:

-store user credentials for data connections outside of your workflow. 

-provides access control and a way to share connections.

-synchronize credentials between Server and Designer.

 

Thus I have several questions

1a) What is new about DCM?

1b) In what ways is it an improvement over the current setup?

2) Can the old data connections be converted to DCM without resaving workflows/macros/etc?

3) How is it working behind the scenes? For comparison, I know that 2021.2 has an xml file on the machine that updates when you open alteryx or manually click the sync button. 

 

I am excited that it mentions resolving at runtime, this would be an upgrade over the current process.

 

 

 

 

  

10 REPLIES 10
Thableaus
17 - Castor
17 - Castor

Hi @patrick_digan 

 

I think @Treyson has done a few tests with DCM and 2021.4 already. He might be able to clarify more of your question.

 

I'm also curious to understand the main differences. I think Alteryx could provide some videos to compare and understand how we migrate to DCM.

 

Cheers,

elsastark
8 - Asteroid

@patrick_digan - To add to this thread, we just upgraded our SDLC environment to 2021.4 and we have questions around user and asset management. 

 

One of the key components is giving the user ability to share data connections with others, without needing a Server administrator involved. This is outlined in the documentation "After you create a connection, you can share it with users or custom groups so that they can run your workflows on the Server".

 

Even though we (Gallery administrators) would love to get out of their way, we have a concern with this since our Gallery users are not the decision makers on if someone should or shouldn't be able to access data referenced in a workflow that they built. That is all driven through Active Directory group approvals within our Enterprise Access Management team, then we use those Active Directory groups with our data connections on Gallery. 

 

Here is the basic documentation already out there: https://help.alteryx.com/20214/server/data-connection-manager-server-ui

gabriel_ignacio
Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

Hello @patrick_digan 

 

Hope you're doing great! Thank you for the inquiry! 

 

Responses to your questions below:

 

  1. DCM in 21.4 focuses on security improvements over the old connection manager:
  • all secrets are kept in per user encrypted storage
  • synchronization uses new protocol with greatly improved security. The communication is alsosecure through http
  • DCM is exposed to more tools, i.e. Share Point Lists, S3 Download, Mongo and is usable from python SDK, more tools are coming in 22.1.
  • there is no risk of exposing passwords to different users, all DCM content is private to the user (on both Designer and Server)

 

  1. Old data connections can't be converted to DCM. You need to create all the connections in DCM manually and modify all the workflows to use them.

 

  1. Synchronization with server needs to be triggered manually. Synchronization is driven from Designer. Each user on Server has it's own isolated DCM content and synchronization ensures that both DCM on local Designer and per use content on Server are the same. There is no admin DCM on Server in 21.4. DCM stores all the data in database on both Designer and Server, no XML files are used, the DCM content can't be managed and distributed from outside of DCM.

 

Please let me know if there are any further questions, happy to help!

 

Best regards,

Gabriel

patrick_digan
17 - Castor
17 - Castor

Thanks so much @gabriel_ignacio!  Really helpful info.

 

For number 3, where is the database stored on Designer and Server?  

 

2 followup questions: 1) Suppose I have a connection and credentials in DCM, it's shared with 10+ other designers (it's the same credentials), and the password needs updated.  Once the password is updated in the source system and I update it in my DCM, how does the new password get synced to the other 10+ designers? 

2) Did I read the help doc correctly that DCM cannot currently be used inside a macro? 

patrick_digan_0-1649418757298.png

 

OndrejC
Alteryx
Alteryx

Hi @patrick_digan ,

for number 3) on Designer it's stored in user AppData folder (../Local/Alteryx/) in encrypted format. On the Server it's stored inside Server storage database.


DCM inside macro) any tool with DCM support can be used also inside a macro. However passing connection parameters via macro interface (as DCM connection) is being added in 22.1 release.

 

hope this helped,

Ondrej

OndrejC
Alteryx
Alteryx

Synchronization with multiple Designers: right now the syncing is done via connected Server and it's based on timestamp (newest wins), so following scenario applies:

  • user is changing his password on DesignerA
  • user is syncing to ServerA (and his password is being updated on the ServerA)
  • user is syncing on DesignerB and his password is propagated from ServerA to DesignerB

hope this helped,

Ondrej

patrick_digan
17 - Castor
17 - Castor

@OndrejC Thanks for all the info! For your synchronization scenario, that makes sense and I have 1 question. For the second user syncing on DesignerB, 1) Will alteryx automatically sync everytime it's opened? Assuming the answer is no based on what @gabriel_ignacio mentioned above, then 2) would DesignerB use the old password until they manually sync? 

OndrejC
Alteryx
Alteryx

hi @patrick_digan ,

you are right answer is no: Designer will not sync automatically to Server (it's triggered by user from Connection Manager manually).

 

Yes the local Designer will be using old local password and it will fail with the error that password is not correct.

Ondrej

patrick_digan
17 - Castor
17 - Castor

Thanks @OndrejC ! I've added an idea about making the sync automatic

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