DBA xPress Data Surf

Overview

IconDescription
DBA xPress Data Surf IconData Surf allows you to navigate a tree of related data by resolving foreign keys and then loading data from a target table. For example, you might start with a contact, then you could find the contact's addresses or find any transactions that involved the contact.

Feature Highlights
  • Data Surf enables you to view data in a table and see how that data relates to other tables.
  • Export your customized graph at any resolution

Data Surf makes it easy for you to navigate through related data without having to write repetitive boiler plate code, which can lead to mistakes. Create a new surf in the database that you want to surf, and specify the starting point. Select the row that you want to find related data for, and you can easily find the linked data.   As you surf, a graph is created that lets you track where you have been and the ways the loaded entities relate. You can select any node to view its data, or you can color nodes or groups of nodes to bring clarity to your graph, or you can remove a node or group of nodes. You can also re-load the data related to a node, and then save your surf and re-load it later.

You can also apply your surf to a new set of data. Use the re-targeting feature to re-load the graph based on a new initial data set. You can re-target a graph while loading it, effectively creating a surf template. You can even export the image of your graph so that you can include it in reports.

Creating a New Surf

Create a new Data Surf for your selected target by completing the following steps:

1. Select Data Surf in the SentryOne Workbench to open the New Surf window.DBA xPress select Data Surf

2. Select a database for your surf. Enter a SQL Server connection or select a previous connection from the drop down list. Enter your connection credentials, then select a database for the comparison. Select Next to continue.

DBA xPress New Surf window select SQL Server
DBA xPress New Surf window Enter Credentials
DBA xPress New Surf window select Next

Note:  Data Surf automatically starts a search for local servers when it starts. Select Find Local Servers if you know a new server has appeared since the application started, or the dialog opens before the initial search completes.

Note:  Selecting SQL Server Security gives you the option to enter a username and password. Select a server, then select OK to profile space usage on the server as a whole. Select a database to profile space usage on that single database.

3. Select the table that you want to use as the surf starting point. Select Next to continue.DBA xPress New Surf window Select Table

Note:  You can use the search bar to narrow down the list of displayed tables. Hover over a table to display information about the table columns in a tooltip.DBA xPress New Surf window Select Table search

4. Enter the criteria for your Data Surf. Select the Select rows based on criteria option, then select a column, and enter a match value. Or deselect the Select rows based on criteria option to select all rows from the table. Select Finish to generate your Data Surf.

DBA xPress New Surf window Enter Criteria Select rows based on criteria
DBA xPress New Surf window Enter Criteria

Note:  The match is always an exact match. Whatever you enter in the box then becomes part of the query that's executed against the server.

Success: You can now navigate your Data Surf!DBA xPress Data Surf

Navigating Data Surf

After your Data Surf has generated, you can navigate through your selected information. Make a selection in the data grid to begin surfing: DBA xPress Data Surf select Row

Navigate to a desired node by selecting a node in the Navigate menu:

DBA xPress Data Surf select node in Navigate menu
DBA xPress Data Surf Node opened

Note:  The rows that load for the selected node display in the grid in the lower half of the screen. The selected node is highlighted using a dashed line surrounding it.

Finding Related Data

Find related data for one or more rows by doing one of the following:

  • Making a selection in the grid and using the navigation control

DBA xPress Data Surf select grid and use navigation control
  • Right clicking on a row or selection

DBA xPress Data Surf select row context menu
Related Data TypeDescription
Parent RowRows where a foreign key points from the current table to the other table.
Child RowRows where a foreign key points from the other table to the current table.

Note:  Hovering the mouse over individual tables displays tooltips that show you the name of the foreign key being followed, the name of the related table, and the column names that match.DBA xPress Data Surf row tooltips

Note:  When navigating based on multiple rows, multiple new data nodes are created in the graph. Node creation is based on the number of unique key values in the selected data. In the example image below, four rows are selected, and each contains a unique key value. Four nodes have been created in the graph to represent these unique values.DBA xPress Data Surf select multiple rows

Customizing a Data Surf

Data Surf provides you with multiple customization options to help you navigate your server. Right click a node and select Color node to change the color of the node.DBA xPress Data Surf Color Node

Note:  Hovering over a color displays a preview of the node in that color. The following node colors are available: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue and Purple. Select User Defined to open the Choose Color window and create a custom color.DBA xPress Data Surf Choose Color

Right click on a node and then select Remove Node to the remove the node from the display. Select Remove Node & All Dependents to remove the selected node and its dependents from the display.

DBA xPress Data Surf Remove Node
DBA xPress Data Surf Remove Node & All Dependents

Select a node, and then select Refresh Node Data to reload  the data for the node. 

Data Surf Toolbar Options

DBA xPress Data Surf Toolbar

File Options

Toolbar buttonDescriptionImage
DBA xPress Data Surf New Surf toolbar buttonOpens the New Surf window and allows you to create a new Data Surf.DBA xPress New Surf window
DBA xPress Data Surf Open Surf toolbar buttonOpen a previously saved surf. Select a surf (.dsd) file, then select open to load the surf. DBA xPress Open Surf window
DBA xPress Data Surf Save Surf toolbar buttonSave the current surf as a (.dsd) file. Enter an appropriate surf name, then select Save to save your surf.DBA xPress Data Surf Save Surf window
DBA xPress Data Surf Save Surf As toolbar buttonSave the current surf as a (.dsd) file. Enter an appropriate surf name, then select Save to save your surf.DBA xPress Data Surf Save Surf As window
DBA xPress Data Surf Save Surf Image toolbar buttonSave the current graph in your Data Surf as one of the following image files (.bmp, .jpg, .png). Select Save Surf Image to open the Export image window. Select an image Width, Height, and format; then select OK to open the Save Image window. Enter an appropriate name for your image, then select Save to save the image.
DBA xPress Data Surf Export Image windowDBA xPress Data Surf Save Image window

Navigation Options

Toolbar buttonDescriptionImage
DBA xPress Data Surf Back toolbar buttonGoes back to the previously selected node in the Data Surf.

Note:  You can also go back by selecting CTRL + Left.
DBA xPress Data Surf Back example
DBA xPress Data Surf Forward toolbar buttonGoes to the next selected node in the Data Surf.

Note:  You can also go forward by selecting CTRL + Right.
DBA xPress Data Surf Forward example
DBA xPress Data Surf Retarget toolbar buttonRetarget takes your relational exploration and applies it to a new starting point. You can use retarget to specify a new column and value for the starting point of the surf, and refresh all parts of the surf based on these values.

Warning: Retarget overwrites your existing Data Surf.

Select Retarget to open the Retarget surf window for the Data Surf. Select the column you would like to match, and enter a value to match. Select OK to retarget the surf in the current surf window.
DBA xPress Data Surf Retarget Surf windowDBA xPress Data Surf Retargeted
DBA xPress Data Surf Retarget to New Tab toolbar buttonRetarget to New Tab takes your relational exploration and applies it to a new starting point in a new tab. You can use this option to specify a new column and value for the starting point of the surf, and refresh all parts of the surf based on these values.

Select Retarget to New Tab to open the Retarget surf window for the Data Surf. Select the column you would like to match, and enter a value to match. Select OK to retarget the surf into a new tab.
DBA xPress Data Surf Retarget Surf windowDBA xPress Data Surf Retargeted to New Tab

Important:  The surf can change shape significantly after retargeting for one of the following reasons:

  • A relation that previously held data now does not hold any data, and further relations cannot be explored
  • A relation that previously held a single row now holds multiple rows, and the relations are explored for each key in the available data

View Options

Toolbar buttonDescription
DBA xPress Data Surf Zoom In toolbar buttonZooms in on the selected graph area.
DBA xPress Data Surf Zoom Out toolbar buttonZooms out of the selected graph area.
DBA xPress Data Surf Layout toolbar buttonOrganizes the Data Surf graph in one of the following layouts:
  • Force Directed
  • Circle
  • Grid
  • Spiral
  • Horizontal Hierarchy
  • Vertical Hierarchy

See the table below for a depiction of each view.

Data Surf Layouts

Data Surf arranges the nodes in the surf graph according to the currently specified layout algorithm. The default layout algorithm for surf displays can be specified in the preferences screen.

LayoutImage
Force DirectedDBA xPress Data Surf Force Directed graph example
CircleDBA xPress Data Surf Circle graph example
GridDBA xPress Data Surf Grid graph example
SpiralDBA xPress Data Surf Spiral graph example
Horizontal HierarchyDBA xPress Data Surf Horizontal Hierarchy graph example
Vertical HierarchyDBA xPress Data Surf Vertical Hierarchy graph example