Creating Connections to Data Sources

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Accessing and Saving Data > Creating Connections to Data Sources


Opening and Saving provide an easy way to use and transform data tables that are stored locally or on the web.  Often, though, you need to work with data that is stored in a database system, such as MySQL Enterprise, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, or IBM DB2.  Strata enables you to create a direct connection to these databases so that you can open the tables, perform analysis on them and even save tables to them, if given the proper permissions.  Strata also enables you to connect to local folders, if you wish to have a handy connection to local data tables stored outside of a project.


You can also import and export data from database systems, however, it is often beneficial to be able to just quickly work with existing data, without going through an import/export process.  Creating direct connections to data sources make this possible.



Connecting to a Local File


You can quickly connect to (or "mount") a local folder within your project panel, without having to actually open or import the tables.  To do so, select "Create Connection" from the File menu and a Connection dialog will appear:




Click the Browse button and select the folder to which you want to be connected.  Once you identify the folder, select the Connect button and the folder will display, as a shortcut, on your project panel.  Open the folder, and all files in the folder will be displayed.  You can then double-click on any table and it will open, just like you would expect with the Open functionality.


Please see the discussion about working with tables below for further information.



Connecting to a Database System


Similarly, you can connect directly to a database system, such as MySQL Enterprise, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2 and other systems using an ODBC driver.  To connect to an external system, select the appropriate tab on top of the Connection dialog and you will get a connection page.




To connect to the database, enter the connection information and then click the Next button.  The required connection information is as follows:


Server: Enter the name of your server. This can be entered as an IP address (e.g., or as a domain name (e.g., hostname.domain.ext)
Database: Enter the name of the database within the system.
Port Number: Enter the port number.
User Name: Enter in your login name, if any.
Password: Enter your password, if any.


Once the connection information is entered, select the Connect button and the database system will be displayed as a folder on your project tree.  Open the folder, and all tables in the database systesm will be displayed.  You can then double-click on any table and it will open, just like you might  expect with the Open functionality.


Please see the discussion about working with tables below for further information.


NOTE:  The option to connect to MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, DB2 and other database systems may first require the installation of appropriate database drivers.  For example, you may need to download and install the MySQL Connector/ODBC driver for MySQL or the Oracle Call Interface (OCI) driver for Oracle. Please contact your system administrator for further information.  Third-party drivers are in no way affiliated with Strata or its licensing agreement.  Please contact the third-party providers of these drivers for further information on licensing and usage terms.



Working with Directly Connected Tables


Using connected data tables is very similar to using regular tables in your project.  You can simply open up folders, double-click on tables, and begin using your data.




However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using connected data:


1.  You can delete files from folders and systems.  It is important to note that a connected folder is a direct view to your local file system or external database system.  If you delete an item in the connected folder on the project panel, it will be deleted from the local folder or from the database system (if you have the proper Write permissions). We encourage you to be extremely careful when deleting or removing items within a connected folder.


2.  You can edit the cells in data tables.  It is important to note that, if given Write permissions to the database, that you can edit and delete data from the database. We encourage you to be extremely careful when editing items within a connected table.


3.  You may experience slower processing times.  Similar to opened local data files, connected tables may process slower compared to using tables that are saved in your project.  Some operations on the connected data rely on the speed of the server and network bandwidth between your computer and the remote server.


4.  Some file types may not open. Strata displays all files in a connected folder, even if they are not data files.  Therefore, even if they are displayed in the project panel, Strata will not always be able to open all files in the folder.  See opening and saving data for further information on the file types that can be used by Strata.


5.  Some functionality may not be available.  Because databases all handle data a little bit differently and also do not have the same structure as internal Strata tables, you may not be able to experience the full breadth of the analysis functionality.  For example, relationships only work using local data tables.



Opening TXT Files


When you connect to an external folder, it may include text files that are not text-delimited tables.  For instance, it may contain a script.  When you double-click a text file, the software's default behavior is to open the text file as a table.  However, to override this behavior and open the file explicitly as a text document, simply find the text file in the Project Panel, right-click and select "Open as Text".