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Configure Your Discovery Hub Environment

Overview

This document covers the overall requirements and configuration options needed to begin using Discovery Hub.

Complete the following steps to properly configure your system. Click the links to jump to each section.

  1. The Discovery Hub Environment
  2. Server Configuration
  3. Install Software Prerequisites
  4. Configure Accounts and Permissions 
  5. Download and Install Discovery Hub
  6. Configure the ODX Server (Optional)

 

1. The Discovery Hub Environment

To properly architect the Discovery Hub environment, it’s important to first understand how the application interacts with SQL server.  

The Discovery Hub platform can be understood as a database abstraction layer on top of MS SQL Server (or Azure SQL alternatives).  Any working Discovery Hub environment primarily consists of 4 working parts, the application (UI)services, project repository, and data storage DBs. The application user interface is used to define a set of data models, movements and transformations. Clicking Save then stores these “definitions” as metadata in a SQL server database known as the project repository. During deployment, Discovery Hub uses this metadata to generate instructions (SQl stored procedures) which are sent to the desired data storage format. During execution, SQL server will carry out these instructions, loading data from source systems, transforming it and loading it into the defined models in the target databases. The Discovery Hub services ensure things like schedule execution and multiple environments continue to work without users present.

 

2. Server Configuration

Discovery Hub has many Supported Data Storage Platforms 

Depending on where you wish to house the Discovery Hub application and which database platforms you use, multiple configuration types are available. Some recommended configuration options are outlined below.  

Azure Cloud (Recommended)

DHCloud.png

Running both Discovery Hub and your data platform on Azure drastically reduces costs associated with maintenance and downtime. In addition, the Azure Data platforms are highly scalable, enabling you to increase performance or reduce costs within minutes.
Found in the Azure Marketplace, Discovery Hub deployment templates are available in several configurations. These templates deploy Discovery Hub and your choice of corresponding Microsoft data platform(s). For each template, the configuration and prerequisites have all been preinstalled and thoroughly tested - reducing the time it takes to prepare your modern data estate and begin deploying data.
See here for Supported Data Storage Platforms & Configuration Options.

On-Premises BI Server

The Discovery Hub application, services and SQL Server databases are all installed on the same on-premise windows server. Due to the simplicity of this configuration it is easier to maintain and offers some performance advantages due to zero network latency.  

Separate On-Premise Application and Database Servers 

 

The Discovery Hub application and services are installed on an On-Premise application server. When performing ADO.net transfer from a data source, data is passed through the application server then lands in the target SQL server database. Be sure the application server and network throughput can support moving the desired amount of data.  

The project repository and target SQL databases are housed on a separate on-premise server specifically created for running SQL server.

 

3. Install Software Prerequisites

Note: This step is not required when using the Azure marketplace templates as all prerequisites come preinstalled.

Please consult the Discovery Hub Prerequisites article for the minimum software requirements for Discovery Hub. 

4.  Configure Accounts and Permissions 

Permissions will vary depending on the environment configuration, but the accounts are the same regardless of deployment. 

Accounts 

User Accounts 

Identify and/or create the following user accounts. Azure Active Directory (AAD), is recommended if using the Hybrid or Cloud configurations but the permissions are the same for local Active Directory (AD). If utilizing Azure Analysis Services then Azure Active Directory is required.  

  1. One user account for each Discovery Hub developer. 
  2. One Service Account must be created for each “non-development” environment. These will be used to run the Discovery Hub Multiple Environment and Scheduler Services. 

Security Group 

Create an Active Directory (AD) Security Group called TXDevelopers and add the developer user accounts. This will make it easier to apply permissions as developers work on and off the project. 

Application Server 

Local or Domain Administrator on the Application Server. This is required to be able to start and stop services. 

Database Permissions 

On-premise SQL Server 

See the following requirements if using SQL Server either on-premise or hosted in a virtual machine in Azure. 

  • Data sources – db_datareader. 
  • Target databases – sysadmin or dbOwner. Note that if using dbOwner instead of sysAdmin, a user account with at least dbCreator rights must log in and create the project repository database from within the project repository settings dialog. 
  • SQL Server Integration Services (if applicable) – db_ssisadmin on msdb system database. 
  • SQL Server Analysis Services (if applicable) – server administrator. 

Azure SQL Database 

The following permissions are needed when using Azure SQL DB: 

  • Data sources – db_datareader 
  • Target databases - Server admin, Azure Active Directory admin or dbmanager role in the master database. If hosting the project repository in Azure SQL DB then a SQL account is required. If using contained database users, then use the db_owner role. 

See the following article for more information on Azure SQL Database logins: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/sql-database/sql-database-manage-logins  

Azure SQL Managed Instance 

The following permissions are needed when using Azure SQL Managed Instance: 

  • Data sources – db_datareader. 
  • Target databases – sysadmin or dbOwner. Note that if using dbOwner instead of sysAdmin, a user account with at least dbCreator rights must log in and create the project repository database from within the project repository settings dialog. 

Azure Analysis Services 

The following permissions are needed when using Azure Analysis Services (AAS): 

  • Analysis Services Admin permissions based from an Azure Active Directory login.

 

5. Download and Install Discovery Hub

Note: This step is not required when using the Azure marketplace templates as the latest version of Discovery Hub is preinstalled.

Install Discovery Hub on the Application Server if you have not already. Download the software in the version that matches your SQL Server bit version. Consult the How to Install Discovery Hub or Upgrade to a Newer Version article for installation instructions. 

 

6. Configure the ODX Server (optional)

The ODX server is ideal when extracting and storing large amounts of raw data in a Data Lake or Relational SQL database.

Please see the article, Configure the ODX Server, for configuring the ODX Server and adding data storage.

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