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One of the three database options when setting up the Alteryx Server is to connect into a User-Managed MongoDB instance. Why would you want to set up your own implementation of MongoDB? The main benefits are to take advantage of the features of MongoDB that are not included with our embedded instance.
As Alteryx analysts, we’re whipping up insight at blazing fast speeds. Workflow after workflow, tool after tool, we’re gleaming functional understanding from inert webs of data that empower us to make better decisions. Good insight is only as good as it is shareable, however, and to enable better sharing any Alteryx analyst can take advantage of their Workflow Dependencies to simplify input or output path dependencies in shared workflows.
How To: Adding a Worker Node
Many customers need to expand their Alteryx Server environment to support a growing number of users, additional departments, increased data sizes, frequent job queuing, or a myriad of other reasons. This document walks through the process of adding a Worker Node to an Alteryx Server environment. These steps apply regardless of the size of the existing Alteryx Server environment.
Product - Alteryx Server
Additional required assets:
Alteryx Server and Data installs
Provision a new physical or virtual machine meeting the Alteryx Server minimum requirements, which are 4 cores, 16GB RAM, and 1 TB Disk. It is recommended to w ork with your Alteryx representative to understand what is an optimal system setup for your use cases, data set sizes, and business requirements.
Install applicable ODBC Drivers and configure System or User DSNs to match the existing Worker(s). In-Database connections should also be created for any data sources where In-Database processing is being used.
Install Alteryx Server and any Data packages using the same install files from your existing Alteryx Server environment. This ensures version compatibility between the Controller and the new Worker Node. There are a couple of ways to verify the same version is being used.
Check the version reported in Gallery at https://MyGalleryHostname.com/#!help/version
Check the version reported by Alteryx Designer running on the existing Alteryx Server machine.
Ensure this matches the version reported by the file name of the Alteryx Server installable on the new Worker node.
On the Alteryx Server Controller machine, open the System Settings and navigate to the Controller -> General section. Copy the Controller Token and save it for step 6.
On the new Worker Node where Alteryx Server has been installed, launch the System Settings wizard. For the Environment Setup Type, choose Custom - Enable Worker.
Continue to the Controller -> Remote section. Enter your Controller Hostname and paste the Controller Token saved in step 4. Click Test to ensure the Alteryx Server version, Controller Hostname and Token match.
Configure the Worker and Engine settings as desired. Typically this involves matching the settings of an existing Worker but there are situations where it makes sense to have different settings across Workers, such as the number of workflows allowed to run simultaneously, QoS settings, Job tags, Map Rendering, etc... An example Worker Configuration
Complete the System Settings wizard and validate the AlteryxService is Running on the new Worker node.
Validate the new Worker shows up in the Gallery Admin -> Diagnostics page in the Workers panel.
Ensure the new Worker has access to any locally stored Macros or data sets. It is recommended to move all locally stored Macros and data sets to a network share or similar storage device that is accessible by all Workers, and then update Workflows based on the new locations. Storing files locally and copying to all Workers isn't recommended as it requires a method to keep them all in sync, increases data storage requirements, and introduces version differences across the environment.
Finally, run a few representative workflows through the new Worker to verify everything is working as expected.
With just a few simple steps a new Worker node can be added to an Alteryx Server environment to provide redundancy, higher throughput, shorter job queue times, and many more benefits.
Worker System Settings
Considerations for Scaling Alteryx Server
Measuring and Scaling a Private Server
Scaling a Private Server: Five steps to greater throughput
This is a very common error that can occur if the AlteryxService shuts down unexpectedly. Most commonly the error is caused by MongoDB not shutting down properly and the lock file does not get released. This prevents MongoDB from starting the next time you try to start the AlteryxService and returns an error message.
Have you ever built an Alteryx App only to realize that some part of the process must remain in Excel? Instead of abandoning your Alteryx App all together, you may be able to use the Alteryx API and call your app from Excel. We’ve put together all the necessary VBA code so that it should be quick and easy for you to call an Alteryx App from Excel and get the results back. The Alteryx app for our sample, API Tester.yxzp, has been included in case you want to upload it to your private gallery and test out the Excel to Alteryx API using your Alteryx server.
SAMPLE EXCEL FILE - Input
We are going to be working with the attached “Reverse String.xlsm” to demonstrate the API. Suppose you wanted to reverse a string in excel (“Hello World” should be converted to “dlroW olleH”). You can’t quite get it in Excel, but you could quickly use the ReverseString function in Alteryx. Now the only trick is getting your data from Excel to Alteryx and back to Excel. We’ll have the user enter the string on cell E5 and then hit the Run Alteryx Button. Cell E6 will then be the results we get back from Alteryx
HOW TO SETUP THE VBA
When working with the Alteryx API, you need to setup some settings/configurations in your excel file before you can deploy it. If you open up the VBA editor (Alt + F11), there is Sub called Doer where we will have to enter a few key settings that apply to your Alteryx App. This is a one time setup for each different application that you setup.
strKey – this is your unique Alteryx Key. It is unique to all the apps in your private studio. It can be found here for the Alteryx public gallery
strSecret – this is your unique Alteryx Secret. It is unique to all the apps in your private studio. It can be found here for the Alteryx public gallery
strAppID – this is your app’s unique ID. When you look at your app in a browser, the appID is the unique ID at the end of the URL. For our sample, our AppID “589b70eceffc2a0bb0a2d530” can be found at the end of the App’s URL
AlteryxURL – this is the base URL where the app resides. For the public gallery, it is : https://gallery.alteryx.com. You would switch this your URL if you were going to use your private gallery. A private gallery would be of the format resembling: https://server.domain.com/gallery.
Data – Any data that needs to be passed from Excel to Alteryx can be saved as string variables in the VBA. For our simple app, we’re only passing one item, the string that we want reversed. In order to pass more complex data, we’ve found it easier to save the data to a .csv and then have the Alteryx App read the .csv as part of the app.
strQuery – This is the entire set of information that is being sent from Excel to the API for processing. It’s in JSON format. For each item, you need a name and value. The name corresponds to the interface tool’s name in your Alteryx App. The value corresponds to the value that want to set. From our Alteryx App, you can see that we’ve given our textbox tool the name “input_string”. For the value, we’ll be passing whatever string the user enters into excel.
To see all the questions for a given app, the API documentation is immensely helpful. After you enter your key and secret, you would go to the second GET, type in the appID, and then try it out to get a list of the name value pairs that we must send from Excel to Alteryx. Note that you only send the name and value fields from the response body.
Save – This variable is a Yes or No answer for whether or not you want to save the data coming back from Alteryx. In this case we would say Yes. For more complex apps, we may have our Alteryx workflow save the data to a network folder that our excel VBA would go grab once Alteryx is done. That post run coding would be added under the Part_Deux sub in the VBA editor. There we would have Save=”No”
Output_Name – this is the column name of the output data that we want to retrieve from Alteryx. In our sample, the column Name is “Output_String”. This only applies if Save=”Yes”
SaveLocation – this is the cell range where the output should be written. This process currently only supports writing one cell of data back to excel. Anything more complicated should be handled through custom VBA in the Part_Deux sub. This only applies if Save=”Yes”
NOTES ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON BEHIND THE SCENES
While I won’t go through everything that is going on in the background, here are some key points:
Ensure that you have references to Microsoft XML, 6.0 if any errors pop up.
The VBA takes all the settings and adds the time and a random string before posting a request to the Alteryx Server to run the job in the RunAlteryx sub. It has to combine all these items, URL encode certain parts, create a base64 hash, and send this to the Alteryx server in just the right order.
It then makes a Get request to check the status. If the status is complete, then the VBA moves on to get the results; otherwise, the VBA creates another request to check the status in 1 second. Note that Excel will be operational during this time since it’s not during any work. This loop will continue until the status is either completed or error. Note that it will update the status on the bottom left of your screen to indicate that Excel is waiting on Alteryx to run the job.
Once the Alteryx app returns a completed status, the VBA will then make another get request for the output that you’ve requested (only if save=”Yes”). If Save=”Yes”, the VBA then saves the output to the specified cell.
If you want to write any of your own code that should execute when the code is done, place it in the part_Deux sub. For example, perhaps you have a private server setup where the Server will write an output file to a network folder that excel can read in from. The code in part_Deux might look something like the below:
Dim ActBook As Workbook
Dim FromAlteryx As String
FromAlteryx = "\\server\" + Environ$("username") + "_out.csv"
Set ActBook = ThisWorkbook
On Error GoTo 0
Selection.PasteSpecial Paste:=xlPasteValues, Operation:=xlNone, SkipBlanks _
Workbooks(Environ$("username") + "_out.csv").Close
SAMPLE EXCEL FILE - Output
Assuming we have everything setup correctly, our app should return the reverse of the string that is input:
I had a user recently ask about having an app on their Gallery run, produce an output, and have a second workflow send an email with the output from the app. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this, but I came up with an idea that I thought would be useful to share with the Community as they may find this feature useful for many situations.
The idea was to make it simple for the user so that they didn't have to use a chained app. The user just wanted the second workflow to run, but not put the Email tool on the Server. The solution is to use the Events > Run Command in the Workflow Configuration to schedule the email workflow after the app is run.
To accomplish the task, you can use a command line option that will add a specified workflow to the scheduler queue.
Scheduling a workflow via the Command Line:
The Run Command is in the Events tab; click on your Alteryx canvas and in the Workflow Configuration window select Events > Add > Run Command:
Run Event When: to "After Run"
C:\Program Files\Alteryx\bin\AlteryxService.exe (This may not be exactly where your company has the AlteryxService.exe saved. Please check with your Server Admin.)
Command Argument [Optional]:
addtoqueue=C:\location\of\workflow\to\schedule.yxmd,Server name,Controller Token,true
C:\Program Files\Alteryx\bin\AlteryxService.exe addtoqueue=C:\Temp\simpleoutput.yxmd,dib-ps-tst-12,3EA75D9170E4956DC3583C23224BA0898A98376D,true
Where to find Server name:On the machine the holds the server - Windows Start>Control Panel>System>Computer Name
Where to find the Controller Token: Open your Alteryx System setting on the Server and click Next until you reach the General screen under the Controller section. Click View to see the Controller Token and copy the token.
Once the first workflow is run, the Scheduler will queue up the scheduled workflow and run the workflow on the Scheduler immediately.
Hopefully, this will give you some creative ideas to use this operation!
This is Part 2 of the Alteryx Gallery Series - The Gallery Series only refers to the Alteryx Server where you can host your Private Alteryx Gallery. This Article with refer to 'Alteryx Gallery' as a privately hosted Gallery on the Alteryx Server.
Part 1 Alteryx Gallery Series - The Lay of the Land 101: Gallery Admin Edition
Part 3 Alteryx Gallery Series: App Publishing & Version Control 101 - Alteryx Community
Part 4 Alteryx Gallery Series: How to make the most of your Alteryx Gallery – Use Cases
Each section of the user interface is outlined and described below:
Often utilizing and navigating the Private Alteryx Gallery for the first time (or even for veterans) can be difficult. This article aims to make this process simpler by giving a step-by-step guide on where to find the main areas of the Alteryx Gallery, as well as those hidden features.
Finding the Alteryx Gallery
The URL is typically the ServerMachineName(or IP)/Gallery unless another domain has been defined.
**** Speak to your IT or Alteryx Server Contact to find URL address.
If it is an internal server, the user will need to be logged into your organization’s VPN before accessing the Gallery.
Accessing the Gallery
User visits the Gallery on their own:
Depending on your pre-defined user authentication setting, the user may be granted access to the Gallery the first time he or she visits the URL.
If your Gallery utilizes Windows Authentication, a Gallery Account is automatically created when a new user visits the site.
If your Gallery utilizes Built-In Authentication, the new user may create their own Account profile by “Joining” the Gallery from the Gallery home page.
Gallery Admin invites user to the Gallery:
The Gallery Administrator may invite users to join the Gallery. This allows the Administrator to set up all of the users specific privileges before that user views the site.
If your Gallery utilizes Windows Authentication, the admin would enable “No Access”. You will receive no notification from Gallery once you have registered.
If your Gallery utilizes Built-In Authentication, the admin would disable the “Sign-Up Form” (Link to gallery admin page). The user will receive an invitation email and be asked to validate their account.
Lay of the Land: Everyday Gallery User
“HOME is where the heart is”
When you create a workflow, macro or app in the Alteryx Designer and upload in to the Alteryx Gallery you can CHOOSE to share your workflow to the Public Gallery (Home). You will need to be a Data Artisan to publish to the Alteryx Gallery (Link Permissions page).
Users with access to your Gallery URL may access the Public Gallery section. External users cannot view and run workflows in the Public Gallery unless they have been invited by an Admin and have network rights to access the Gallery website.
Users often upload proof of concepts or demo applications to the Alteryx Gallery which other users can use for reference.
Public Gallery section that have been tagged (after publishing) with a specific keyword set by the Gallery Administrator.
“The last of the thirteen DISTRICTS of Panem”
Districts are Alteryx workflows shared in the Public Gallery section that have been tagged (after publishing) with a specific keyword set by the Gallery Administrator.
Districts are used for housing macros which are used within different internal departments.
“Welcome to my Private Studio”
A user will ONLY receive their own Private Studio if their user permission level (set by the Alteryx Gallery Admin at sign up or before) are designated an Data Artisan User. This will allow them to publish Alteryx workflows from their Desktop Designer.
By default, a Data Artisan will only see the workflows they have published themselves in the Private Studio section. To see content created by other Data Artisans, a workflow may be shared in the Public Gallery or via a Collection or Studio.
"Brand new Insights"
New feature added in the Alteryx Server 2018.2 allowing you publish interactive charting directly into a web browser
This dashboarding features offers users the ability to filter and drill down into Analytical Insights
“You’re the chosen one, welcome to my Collection”
Collections are a means for ensuring only specific users may access workflows to which they are assigned.
Collections are managed by users NOT by the Gallery Administrator.
Collections are tied to one Private Studio only.
A user must have their own (paid) Private Studio OR be a member of another Private Studio in order to run workflows shared via a Collection.
Data Artisans can invite Users to a collection through the users tab inside of the collection. These Users will have to sign up to the Alteryx Gallery or be users in the same domain as the Alteryx Gallery is hosted on.
You can have Multiple Admins for collections
“Let’s see these Workflow Results”
Gallery Users may view the results/output of their own previous workflow executions.
You can never see the results of other user’s executions via the Gallery.
'Let's automate that for you' - Scheduler
In Alteryx 11.0 the gallery Admin can allow users to schedule directly from the Alteryx Gallery.
You can click on the scheduler tab and schedule your workflow by choosing the workflow and frequency you wish to run the schedule on.
You then get visibility to your schedules only, and have the ability to edit the schedule and remove the schedule from being run.
This is Part 1 of the Alteryx Gallery Series - The Gallery Series only refers to the Alteryx Server where you can host your Private Alteryx Gallery. This Article with refer to 'Alteryx Gallery' as a privately hosted Gallery on the Alteryx Server.
Part 2 Alteryx Gallery Series - The Lay of the Land 101: User Edition Part 3 Alteryx Gallery Series: App Publishing & Version Control 101 - Alteryx Community
Part 4 Alteryx Gallery Series: How to make the most of your Alteryx Gallery – Use Cases
The Lay of the Land 101: Gallery Admin Edition
The Gallery Admin is the Godfather of a Alteryx Gallery. The Admin is less involved with the workflow content of the site and more involved with management of users and their overall experience on the Gallery. This article will help the Gallery Admin navigate the Admin settings within the Private Alteryx Gallery.
Each section of the Admin interface is outlined and described below:
A Subscription is another name for a Studio. A Studio allows Alteryx Designer users to publish and share workflows privately within their organization.
Each user that creates a Gallery account is automatically given their own subscription which can become a Private Studio if the user permission level is designated an Artisan. As a Gallery Admin you will have to make this user an Artisan, take a look at the ‘users’ section below which details how to do this.
Each Studio includes a limited number of artisans and members – assigned by the Gallery Admin.
Once a subscription has been created, it can be deactivated but not deleted. Gallery Admins are the only ones with permissions to create subscriptions.
Creating and adding users to Private Studios
To create a studio (subscription) click on ‘subscription tab’ and click on ‘Add New Subscription’. You will now have the ability to create a studio (subscription)
This will be the subscription screen below:
Gallery Admin can create studios as well as manage the users and workflows assigned to them.
There are numerous options when creating a Subscription or Studio:
Private Studio Name: The name for the studio, which displays at the top of the page when the user clicks “Private Studio” on the left menu of the Gallery page.
Contact Name: The person who owns and manages the studio.
Free: Artisans and Members who are part of the studio can run workflows in the Public Gallery
Paid: Artisans who are part of the studio can publish and run workflows in that studio and Members can run workflows
Artist Seats: The number of Artisan seats available in the studio. Artisans can publish, run, and share workflows.
Member Passes: The number of Member seats available in the studio. Members can run workflows in studios for which they have been assigned.
Expiration Date: The date the Paid subscription expires. When a paid subscription expires it is downgraded to a Free subscription.
API Enabled: Access to the Private Server Gallery API is enabled by default. The Gallery API supports the ability to authenticate, list apps, run apps, and retrieve app results using an API Key and Secret which are accessible via Gallery Settings.
Disable user sign-ups: Limits who can sign up for your Gallery. Forces users to be “invited” to join the Gallery.
Allow anyone to run public workflows without singing in: If this option is selected, anyone with access to your Gallery URL may run workflows that are available on the Home Page.
This is how to add a user to a studio (Subscription). You need to take the subscription key from the ‘subscription’ section (above screenshot) and add this into the studio key within the User profile below.
When a user now publishes from there Alteryx Designer to the Alteryx Gallery they will see the studio name they are associated with. This is linked by the same subscription and studio key.
Users can only be part of one Studio at a time.
Gallery Admins can add users directly to the Gallery or they can send an email inviting user to log in and add themselves via the Join now form on the main page of the Gallery.
User permissions are managed in the users profile (or in “Permissions” if using Windows Auth) as well as in their assigned studio.
The new user is added to the Users page. The users name, email (for Built-In Auth), and name of their studio display in the user box as well as icons that represent their permissions.
When using Built-In Authentication, the Gallery Admin can designate the permission level of users before they sign up to Alteryx Gallery on the users tab
Built-in Permissions Screen (Users permission level for the whole Alteryx Gallery)
Windows Auth Permissions screen (Users permission level for the whole Alteryx Gallery)
Gallery Admins can manage user permissions in the Permissions page when using Windows Authentication only.
A default permission level (No Access, Viewer, Artisan, Curator) can be set for any new or existing user who joins the Gallery.
Admin Tip: Set the default permission to No Access or Viewer if Content Security is of chief concern. This will require users to be invited to run workflows on the Gallery
Once a user has been created, it can be deactivated but not deleted.
Gallery Admins can add workflows, apps, and macros to the Gallery and manage their icon, description, Run Mode settings, and exemptions.
Admins can also create “tags” and associate them to workflows so searches within the Gallery return better results.
Run Mode: Determines the level that workflows are permitted to run in the Gallery. Workflows that contain certain tools or access may need to be blocked. The default Run Mode is selected when the server is configured.
Unrestricted: Any workflow can be run.
Semi-Safe: Workflows using Run Command, Download, Email, “R”, or Events will be blocked.
Safe: Workflows using above tools or accessing/storing data on non-local drives will be blocked.
Requires Private Data: Indicates if the workflow requires licensed data to run.
Private Data Exemption: An exemption can be given to a workflow with private data so that it can be run.
Gallery Admins can create new districts and modify the district name, description, and icon image. Once the District has been created, it will be displayed below the “Home Page” menu option on the Gallery.
This tab within the Gallery Admin section is only available for Alteryx Server Version 11.0 and above
This tab will give you the option to pre-define credentials that can be sent down to designer users
This will help when managing access and Alias creation on both Designer & Server
DSN-less connections will run straight away. DSN connections will need to be set up on the location machine and server machine
Set workflow credentials which can be use when running a workflow from the server. These will also appear in the designer when uploading/scheduling a workflow
Click on 'change; and you get the following options
Use Default Credentials
This will use the server service account details to run workflows if nothing has been set in the 'Run As' section of the Server System Settings
Require User Credentials
When running the application from the Alteryx Gallery the users will have to enter in credentials
Allow users to set options for credentials option
The best practice would be to ask users for their credentials so they can only access the data they have privileges for within your internal IT environment.
The interface will look like the screenshot below. When uploading an App from your Alteryx Designer (File>>Save as>>>My Company's Gallery) you can click on 'Workflow Options' & 'Set Workflow Credentials'.
This will give the user three options
'User is not required to specify credentials' - The application/workflow will run as the default Alteryx Server user account (Run As settings in system settings on server config).
'Always run this workflow with these credentials' - The user can enter the credentials at this point, however preset credentials can be added within the Alteryx Gallery Admin section ("Workflow Credentials")
This is where you can give users permission to schedule workflows they upload to the Alteryx Gallery. This will allow all artisans to schedule workflows.
The server can send email notifications for various events. The SMTP server information is entered when the server is configured. Gallery Admins can manage the types of notifications and the message text.
Admin Tip: Disable notifications so your users don't get spammed by the Gallery.
Customize your Alteryx Gallery!
Banner Ads can be added to be displayed below the search bar on the Home page. Uploaded Files can be added to the site to which Gallery Users can access via Links.
You have the ability to change the Gallery Name, Logo and Color Scheme within the web Browser.
This is often used to house FAQs, Help & Links
Add link to your Page or URL in the Header or Footers.
If you have any outstanding questions please reach out to our Alteryx Support
Alteryx Server provides a fully scalable architecture that allows an organization to scale Alteryx to automate data analytics, tackle bigger projects, process larger datasets and put self-service data analytics into the hands of more decision makers. From scaling Worker nodes to Gallery nodes to the MongoDB persistence layer, Alteryx Server allows organizations to efficiently manage their automated and self-service data analytics needs.