Alteryx Designer Knowledge Base

Definitive answers from Designer experts.
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User DSN versus System DSN


User versus System DSN


When setting up your database connection you may be unsure whether selecting a user or system DSN is the best option.



The main question you need to ask yourself is whether anyone else within your organization will need to see the same database connection? If the answer is no then a User DSN would be the correct choice, however if you are looking to share a workflow then the system DSN would be a better choice.


A User DSN is for a specific user on a workstation. For example, if I log into my machine as ‘Jordan’, set up the DSN as myself and then log back in I will be able to see that database connection. However, if my colleague ‘Tony’ logs onto my machine he will not be able to see that database connection. For Tony to see this connection I would need to set up a system DSN, so no matter who logs into my machine they will be able to see and access that database connection.


A system DSN can often be advantageous when sharing workflows within a department because if someone makes that database connection it can be shared amongst colleagues. If this creates concern for your IT department it is really easy to set up an Alias for this connection and as a result the username and password for that connection can be hidden. 


The user and system DSN can be configured by using the two tabs marked below in the ODBC admin.


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Jordan Barker

Client Services Support Engineer