How do customers want their data? We’re exploring the various ways OpenEdge users can access data and helping them choose the option that best meets their needs.
When it comes to reporting in the OpenEdge world, there are different options available to all users who need access to data. Access to data is something that everyone wants and needs, but over time things like cloud-based data sources and applications have made it complicated.
In this blog post, we’ll look at different ways OpenEdge users can access their data, regardless of where it lives.
Rather than asking, "What do you want?" with regards to data, we now ask, "How do you want it?" To put it another way, we want to know how customers would like to access their data and we offer three different choices as to how a customer can access it: direct, indirect or punt.
Marv Stone, a Progress Software Engineer, frequently encounters customers that want access to their data in a variety of different ways. With several ways to access data, he spent time with us walking though the pros and cons of each option. As someone who frequently helps customers decide which choice might work best for them, the following are his expert observations.
Direct access means you want direct access to the data source. This is the way reporting has been done traditionally and there are many users that still prefer this method, as they have a large selection of tools at their disposal. Progress has bundled the industry-leading ODBC and JDBC driver into our products through our DataDirect drivers. These drivers allow these tools to connect directly to the OpenEdge database.
The advantage of direct data access is it already comes with the OpenEdge database.
One important criterium to take into consideration is that this schema might be somewhat complicated. Additionally, unless you have database protection set up, there may be security concerns because you are offering direct access to the data. Unless you have database security, hackers could have access to all the data.
Indirect access means that you provide access to your data through APIs. This way of reporting is the solution to the security concerns of direct access. The latest version of OpenEdge (the OpenEdge 12 series) is built to be more service-oriented. This means we provide external services and can expose them as data sources, which is what the DataDirect Autonomous REST Connector does.
The benefit of indirect access is it provides security. With the security built into the class files, the same security is followed in reporting as well. Along the same lines, data filtering by, for example, region, warehouse and customer, will be followed by the reporting if provided by the API.
A thing to consider with indirect access is that you must have the APIs, and a lot of applications do not have those APIs exposed yet. That work would have to be done by developers who understand the application and know how to create these APIs before you could get a solution. Another downside is that indirect access is a read-only solution.
Punt is the last option, which entails moving the data out of OpenEdge. OpenEdge Change Data Capture has made this simpler, tracking changes at a database level. This makes data changes easier to identify.
Progress has Pro2, an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tool for OpenEdge. OpenEdge Pro2 pulls data out of the OpenEdge database and imports it to Oracle, SQL server or another OpenEdge database. Like direct and indirect, this also has its pros and cons.
The advantage of Pro2 is that it is very flexible, allowing you to take information from various places and move it in different ways. Also, there are a lot of transformation capabilities allowing you to link files or fields together. It is a powerful tool for moving data out of an OpenEdge database.
If you’re considering using Pro2, keep in mind that it is not a disaster recovery solution. Meaning, should something happen to your OpenEdge database, it would not be useful for disaster recovery purposes. However, we do offer other tools in that area, such as OpenEdge Replication plus, which we would be happy to talk to you about if you have the unfortunate need for a disaster recovery solution.
Accessing data can sometimes be problematic due to various cloud-based deployments. But Progress DataDirect Hybrid Data Pipeline solves that issue. It allows you to connect to data sources without having to open holes in the firewall.
Progress Hybrid Data Pipeline lets users consume or share data in a timely and compliant manner regardless of the application they use or the location of the data.
There are specific drivers that allow you to access data from Salesforce without storing it, eliminating storage fees. Leaving data in place can be a more secure and less costly option. That’s what Hybrid Data Pipeline provides.
Regardless of your preferred reporting option, there are challenges in today’s mixed environment of cloud applications, on-premises applications and data stores that are hosted in a cloud environment. Our Professional Services team, armed with the tools discussed, can help solve those challenges for you.
If you have more questions on reporting in OpenEdge, contact your Progress representative. Our team is here to help.
Jordan Barrett was a part of the Demand Generation team at Progress assisting with OpenEdge, DataDirect and Corticon solutions.
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