Teradata Data Lab provides safe spaces for analysis and testing.

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Freedom to Explore

Teradata Data Lab provides safe spaces for analysis and testing.

Any organization with a production data warehouse faces the challenge of how to allow for data proofing and new value investigations while maintaining the relationships to production data. One solution is internal “sandboxes,” which are places to play, create and mold new designs.

However, bringing concept data into production often creates contention between the need for flexibility and the IT processes necessary to protect and stage data within that environment. Moreover, DBAs may be unable to take on the added responsibility of managing this additional workload, especially since it may have a negative impact on the performance and service levels of production operations.

Now there’s Teradata Data Lab—a solution that allows for the exploration of new data with easy linkage to production data. It also has mechanisms for distributed automated management, provisioning and governance assurance that the production environment will be protected.

Explore, Analyze and Test

Teradata Data Lab refers to workspaces in the data warehouse where users can explore and analyze new data and test theories. Users can add new data and then link it with existing data inside the warehouse with the assurance that mechanisms are in place for protecting production. Unique Teradata Viewpoint portlets, built to support the Teradata Data Lab, can assist in governing, auto-provisioning, and monitoring data exploration and proofing in production.

Data Lab Beneficiaries

Teradata Data Lab helps DBAs, power users and end users—everyone involved in the staging of data—determine whether it makes sense to add the information to production:

  • DBAs. The main concerns for DBAs are the integrity and health of the production system. They also want to share the workload where it makes sense. Data Lab provides integration aspects into Teradata workload management strategies—in particular, Teradata Active System Management. This allows the Data Lab environment to be managed appropriately through wildcard classifications. Once workload management is set up and a portion of database space is allocated, management can hand off to Data Lab owners.
  • Power users and Data Lab owners. These people act as liaisons between DBAs and the business analysts and end users. And as the key enablers for the Data Lab architecture, they also realize the same benefits as the business analysts and end users. In many cases, power users and Data Lab owners are already acting as IT representatives for their team or group where they manage the external repositories for data proofing. With the Data Lab framework and appropriate Viewpoint portlets, these management responsibilities are simplified and more efficient with more productive results.
  • Business analysts and end users. As users, hands-on access is enabled to explore the data and test theories providing confidence that the results will be consistent when implanted in production. Data proofing is made easier for the analysts since it can be managed through email. The Data Lab accelerates and eases the burden of the process flow to migrate new data into production information. And issues of stale data, waiting for periodic data loads from production and instability of “under the desk” infrastructures are eliminated.
  • Other beneficiaries. Individuals responsible for project management, data design and integration find that Data Lab offers the advantages of providing more precise feedback to requirements, improved data quality results and earlier usage input. In the end, these users can make faster, more informed decisions.

The Portlet Advantage

Define, Monitor and Manage

Teradata Data Lab definition, monitoring and management are supported via unique Teradata Viewpoint portlets:

  • Lab Group Setup. View, create and edit lab groups
  • Data Labs. Monitor and manage access to lab groups and/or specific data labs

Teradata Data Lab offers unique Teradata Viewpoint portlets and capabilities. A Data Lab is used for viewing, creating or editing a lab group, which is the space in production carved out for data exploration. Within this portlet, users define the overall size of the lab group and the default size for individual lab requests. Users also establish the lab group default expiration time frame, the distributed ownership, user access, thresholds and management settings.

The Lab Group Setup portlet sets the framework for how the Data Lab area will be managed, accessed and partitioned. This portlet is the key administrative aspect of Data Lab and is tailored to DBA foundation operations. Tabs are set for owners, privacy, default users and approval permissions.

Data Labs, another Teradata Viewpoint portlet, is the workhorse of the architecture and the primary interface for the Data Lab owners, business analysts and end users. The portlet has three tabs—Monitoring, Approvals, Requests—that allow these user operations to be performed once the appropriate permissions have been granted:

  • Create new lab groups
  • Request increase or decrease of lab group size
  • View lab group expiration and request an extension
  • Request the addition or removal of a user
  • Ask to assign a new owner or remove an owner
  • Send other requests
  • View and approve requests
  • Request to promote or drop a table
  • View existing tables and table locations
  • View space usage
Figure: Data Labs Monitoring Tab

Click to enlarge

The Monitoring tab lets users see all the lab groups on the system that they have been authenticated to view. (See figure.) This is where users can add and delete lab groups and view lab status.

The Approvals tab provides an easy interface for approving or denying Data Lab requests and reviewing their status. This tab is primarily used by Data Lab owners to manage incoming requests and is complemented by the underlying email notification architecture.

The third tab, Requests, is used by everyone. Here, Data Lab owners will see all requests for their particular Data Lab, and users will see their requests and the status of each one.

In addition, preferences can be set to easily identify conditions such as lab group space thresholds, aging approvals and requests, upcoming expirations, and table skews of concern. Users also have the option for automated email notifications on approaching lab expirations, lab space utilization, and status of approved or denied requests. Significant efficiencies are gained and simplicity is achieved through the automated request and approval processing being offered in an easy-to-access common location, which is Teradata Viewpoint.

Have It All

Teradata Data Lab provides self-provisioning and management features for DBAs, business users and others. With it, DBAs can easily configure a Data Lab within the lab group hierarchy to simplify governance. They can also assign owners and users to the Data Lab based on database permissions to maintain security and assign feature permissions based on the user’s database comfort level.

Business users will have an easy-to-use collaboration and management environment to rapidly explore unproven data and test theories without long procurement processing. Users also benefit from agility in a well-protected and governed environment. Who says you can’t have it all?


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