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Managing database connections with the IBM Data Studio web console

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In today's enterprise organizations, data is managed across a complex ecosystem of heterogeneous data sources and data assets. One challenge faced by database administrators (DBAs) is to ensure that the requisite database connection information is securely and efficiently shared with authorized applications and users.

IBM Data Studio (comprising the Data Studio full client, Data Studio administration client, and Data Studio web console) is a portfolio of tools for simplifying database development and administration. For an overview of the Data Studio clients and web console, see Getting started in IBM Data Studio.

This article outlines how IBM Data Studio offers a new solution that allows you to promote database connection sharing across your Data Studio user base. Starting with IBM Data Studio V3.1, you can use the Data Studio web console to store your connection information in a single repository to share among team members. Database connections are shared by all components and users of the web console.

Prerequisites

Data Studio web console

The Data Studio web console can be used to create and manage the lifecycle of any available Linux®, UNIX®, or Windows® or z/OS® database connections within the enterprise. Before you set up database connection sharing on Data Studio, you need to install and configure the Data Studio web console.

If you are planning to make the web console available to multiple users, you will also need to have an existing database to use as the repository database. Any connections you want to specify for sharing must be added after the repository database is defined. Connections created before the repository database is defined are lost.

For more information on installing the web console, see Installing and configuring Data Studio web console.

Data Studio Eclipse-based clients

The IBM Data Studio product line include two Eclipse-based clients:

  • IBM Data Studio full client
  • IBM Data Studio admin client

The IBM Data Studio full client provides complete editing capability, well suited for developers or consumers of other compatible IBM products, such as IBM Rational® Software Architect or IBM Rational Application Developer.

The IBM Data Studio admin client, on the other hand, provides a lightweight environment, focused on data management, that non-Java™ developers tend to prefer. The full client and the admin client include two explorers to manage the lifecycle of their connections:

  • The new Administration Explorer (see Related topics) is always being associated with a separate display view, called the object list view. Such a view represents the underlying data objects of each connected connection, along with their respective properties.
  • The Data Source Explorer displays a complete hierarchical structure for each connected connection.

As both explorers offer a different presentation layer, we will refer to the Administration Explorer moving forward, but keep in mind that this is interchangeable.

Managing connections within the enterprise

In today's enterprise systems that span development, production, testing, internal migration, and more, DBAs face an increasingly complex number of data connections to manage. With the factoring in of necessary updates driven by day-to-day administration — updated port number, temporary relocation, additions, etc. — comes the need for constant communication between DBAs and their consumers.

To reduce the human communication and data management overhead, the new IBM Data Studio capability allows DBAs to centrally manage and share the data connection information from the IBM Data Studio web console. The information will then be easily distributable to all Eclipse-based Data Studio clients.

Defining connections in the Data Studio web console

Upon starting the IBM Data Studio web console, new database connections can be easily defined by using the dedicated Databases page, in the top-left corner.

Figure 1. Databases area lets you manage your database connections
Image shows Databases area
Image shows Databases area

From the Databases page, database connections can be fully managed. You can add, test, edit, delete, and group the database connection.

Figure 2. Adding a connection to the Data Studio web console
Image shows adding a connection to the Data Studio web console
Image shows adding a connection to the Data Studio web console

The figure below displays the new connection added within the web console.

Figure 3. Connection displayed within the IBM Data Studio web console
Image shows the new connection added in the web             console
Image shows the new connection added in the web console

Importing connections in IBM Data Studio

After you define a database connection in the IBM Data Studio web console, you can import the connection into the IBM Data Studio full or admin client. The first step is to configure the web console URL location. You can easily configure the web console through a shortcut in the Task Launcher interface. In the Monitor tab, click Configure the Data Studio web console URL and preferences. On the Preferences page that appears, you configure the web console simply by providing its URL. As the credentials will never be shared, you do not need to provide any authentication information.

Figure 4. Configure the Data Studio web console URL
Image shows configuring the Data Studio web console URL
Image shows configuring the Data Studio web console URL

Configuring the web console is as simple as a single URL. As credentials will never be shared, authentication is not required.

Figure 5. Data Studio web console URL preference
Image shows Data Studio web console URL preference
Image shows Data Studio web console URL preference

You can import database connections into the Data Studio client by clicking on the Import action from the Administration Explorer toolbar. This allows all IBM Data Studio web console connections to be locally replicated. You do not need to modify the web console URL in the Import dialog since the dialog automatically picks up the URL you previously set from the Preference page.

Figure 6. Importing web console connections
Importing web console connections
Importing web console connections

After you click the Import Connection Profiles dialog, the connections will be added to the Administration Explorer. As credentials are not imported, the username and password properties will need to be filled by the user at connection time. Alternatively, you can use the new Change User Names and Passwords dialog to manage all credentials within a common interface.

Figure 7. Usernames and passwords need to be set on imported connections
Image shows that usernames and passwords need to be set on imported connections
Image shows that usernames and passwords need to be set on imported connections
Figure 8. Managing credentials on imported connections
Image shows managing credentials on imported connections
Image shows managing credentials on imported connections
Figure 9. Connected connection displayed in the Administration Explorer after import
Image shows connection displayed in Administration Explorer after                     import
Image shows connection displayed in Administration Explorer after import

Managing connections within the Data Studio client

In this initial release of the solution, updates made within the Data Studio web console will not transparently be retrieved by each Eclipse client. Following the steps of the import scenario, subsequent refreshes will follow a similar path, as detailed below. Within the IBM Data Studio web console, individual connections can be edited, for instance, to specify an updated port number.

Figure 10. Editing connections within the IBM Data Studio web console
Image shows editing connections within the IBM Data Studio web console
Image shows editing connections within the IBM Data Studio web console

To refresh the imported connections of the Administration Explorer, the import dialog will be brought again (see Figure 6). Once dismissed, the following reconciliation will be processed:

  • Connections removed within the IBM Data Studio web console will be left unchanged within the IBM Data Studio Eclipse clients.
  • Connections added within the IBM Data Studio web console will be added to the requesting IBM Data Studio Eclipse client.
  • Imported fields of previously imported connections are being evaluated for update. New imported values will unconditionally override existing values. Note that the username and password values are not imported, so they cannot be overridden.

Conclusion

In this article, we have reviewed how the IBM Data Studio portfolio, bringing an intuitive solution to sharing and maintaining updated connections among a wide network of Data Studio clients.


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Zone=Information Management
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ArticleTitle=Managing database connections with the IBM Data Studio web console
publish-date=11102011