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Alteryx Knowledge Base

Definitive answers from Designer experts.

Database Connections: Creating an alias and the advantages of using an alias

Alteryx
Alteryx

Database aliases can help users save time and allow easier sharing of data. Let's take a look at how.

 

The first step to creating a database alias in Designer is to establish the database connection. This can be done with the Input Data tool by selecting any of the database options in the dropdown.

 
Databases we can connect to with Alteryx, an overview.

http://www.alteryx.com/technical-specifications

 

Once you’ve established the connection through the connection admin, a database connection string will appear, like the one shown below.

 

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Next, let’s go to the Manage Database Connections window (or Manage In-DB Connections window for In-DB aliases). This will be under Options > Advanced Options > Manage Data Connections. Here we can add new aliases, and edit or delete, any existing ones.

 

Manage Database Connections overview:

There are two types of aliases:

User: Any user can add a User Alias that only they will be able to access and change.

System: System Aliases can only be added/edited by a local administrator.

 

Available options:

Sync All allows you to sync Gallery Data Connections

Add Connections allows you to create a new alias (see steps below)

 

Additional options can be found when you hover over an existing data connection:


pencil.pngAllows you to edit the password of the Alias. 

 n2Ls12

Allows you to delete an alias

 

 

 n2LYW4

 

When adding a new alias, Alteryx will assist you in making the connection to both MS Sql Server, and Oracle. For all other database connections, select the 'Other' option.

 

There will be three things to include for 'Other' database connection types: the connection type (user vs system), an alias name and the connection string. The reason we made the connection first through the Input data tool is so that we can simply copy/paste that string into our alias manager.

 

When the alias has been created you can access this connection through the Input Data tool dropdown under Saved Data Connections. You’ll notice that the string now says aka:AliasName.

 

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Advantages:

Q: What happens when you have multiple workflows that all reference a connection string and your password changes?

 

A: If using workflows that reference an alias, the user will only have to update the password in the alias manager. If using a regular connection string, every Input Data tool will have to be updated in every workflow that uses that connection.

 

Q: Can I share, or export, a workflow that has database connection strings?

 

A: Yes! If you setup an alias on both user’s machines that are an exact match you will be able to share workflows that use those database connections.

 

Note: The screenshots and steps taken to create the database connection and alias were built in Designer version 11.8.

 

Tony Moses

Customer Support

 

Comments
Bolide
Bolide

We heavily implement this tool internally. Since we are a small enough organization that we can direct all publications through a single user, the use of aliases help streamline that process as I don't have to rebuild the connection strings for every workflow that comes in for publication. Discovering this process was one of the biggest "Ah-Hah" moments for us. Great post Tony!

I have an alias manager and in the company I work for we have to change our passwords every 3 months.  The alias manager doesn't seem to work right for me; what is it that I could be doing wrong.  I thought once I update my company password, it would automatically take in alteryx.  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Bolide
Bolide

You will still need to make the changes in your alias manager. The only thing that this tool does is make it so that you don't have to go in and change every input tool.

 

I say "the only thing" like that's not a big deal, but it is.

Meteoroid

Is it possible to use the Alias in the 'Connect In-DB' node or does it only work for 'Input Data'? 

Bolide
Bolide

Tom there is a separate In-DB alias tool.

Meteoroid

 Thanks for your quick response.

 

Which tool is this?  I can't see an In-DB alias tool in Alteryx or online.

Bolide
Bolide

So there is a semantic mix up here and I apologize. They are no longer actually called Alias's by Alteryx. I believe that they are simply just called "connections". To create one, go to Options > Advanced Options > Manage In-DB Connections. 

 

Connections.png

 

You will need to set this up based on your environment. Once you have created and named it, you should always be able to select that connection to a DB.

 

Connectiosn2.png

 

Now if you are using a gallery and trying to utilize the Gallery Connections, it's a bit different. Your Gallery Admin would need to set those up and then give you access to them. There are a ton of benefits of using the gallery connectors, including but not limited to: A consistent naming convention across all users. Actually that's the best thing ever.