New licensing model
In version 5.4.2, we’re introducing a new licensing model for the Data Catalog. Starting from v5.4.2, the Data Catalog is available for unlimited users in all Server editions in spaces that don’t use Active Directory.
For spaces with Active Directory (only in the Enterprise edition), the Data Catalog add-on is required, and it enables unlimited users in all spaces with Active Directory. Also, the price for the Add-on has been significantly reduced. The new pricing is already available on our website.
Permissions and user roles
In spaces that don’t use Active Directory for authentication, all users have full permissions. Any user can create and retrieve Catalog items of any type, which is very similar to how users can now work with Server tasks.
In spaces with Active Directory, there will be a new roles and permissions model starting from 5.6. The permissions will include not only the Catalog but all other features of EasyMorph Server: Tasks, Files, etc.
The Enterprise edition will also allow configuring user roles and identity providers. Each user role will have its own set of permissions. Also, other identity providers will be supported besides Active Directory (e.g. Google, Microsoft). Server administrators will no longer be anonymous and will always have an identity.
Also, in version 5.6 (or a bit earlier), we will be introducing a new item type, the Metric. Metrics are intended for displaying business KPIs (key performance indicators). Unlike regular Catalog items, they don’t have to be retrieved. Instead, they will display their value instantly. They will look somewhat like this:
From a technical standpoint, each metric is linked to a value in the Shared Memory. It also has lower and upper thresholds to indicate “good” and “bad” ranges. Metrics are updated when the respective Shared Memory values are updated using an EasyMorph workflow (or an API call).
Since metrics get their values from the Shared Memory, it means even external applications can update or obtain metrics via an API call. In other words, the use of EasyMorph workflows for updating metrics is optional. Metrics can be calculated by external applications. Metrics can also be consumed by external applications such as BI systems.
The File browser has already been announced. It will be integrated with the Catalog – it will be possible to add a file(e.g. in OneDrive) to the Catalog in one click. Also, the Catalog will get the “Folder” item type which will open the specified folder (e.g. in SharePoint) in the File Browser.
Queries will be another built-on application in EasyMorph Desktop, similarly to the File Browser. It will be possible to open multiple database queries in tabs, run them, and switch between them. Queries will also have the Analysis View, so the query results can be additionally filtered and analyzed.
For easy collaboration, queries can be published to the Catalog, or opened from the Catalog in a single click. Queries are on the roadmap, but the release version has not been assigned to this feature yet.
This is not on the roadmap yet, but an interesting direction we’re thinking about. In the Catalog, dataset fields can be classified to designate sensitive information (such as home addresses, phone numbers, etc.). It will be possible to configure user roles (described above) to have access to only particular data classes. Data classification will be specified in Catalog item properties. Additionally, data classes can be applied to dataset columns dynamically, using a special action “Classify columns”.
Somewhere later this year, we will introduce collections of Catalog items. Users will be able to create their own collections of items picked from different directories. For instance, a collection can be created to organize work over a business project or goal. A collection can include metrics, datasets, queries, files and folders related to the project or goal.
All in all, we are making the Catalog a convenient way to organize work with business data coming from different sources. It creates actionable collaborative virtual workspaces for users with different technical skills that can work with the data they need no matter where it’s located.
I personally think that we’re on track to introduce an interesting alternative (or addition) to traditional BI platforms that are high-ceremony, labor-intense, expensive, and suffering from low adoption.
How does our roadmap look to you? Please feel free to post comments and questions below.