What's New in DataFinder Server 2017

Publish Date: Nov 12, 2018 | 1 Ratings | 5.00 out of 5 | Print

Overview

DataFinder Server is data management software that allows scientists and engineers collaborating in companies and workgroups to find and retrieve information based on their shared data files. Unlike traditional databases, which are optimized for IT priorities and involve significant overhead to set up, DataFinder works out of the box by indexing data files in specified folders on computers or on a network. As the searchable data index builds, it adapts and maintains itself automatically as your test files change. Since its introduction in 2006, DataFinder Server has made it possible for thousands of users to quickly locate the data they need. This article explains the new features introduced in DataFinder Server 2017.

Table of Contents

  1. New Web-Based DataFinder Server Manager
  2. Data Preprocessor (included with DataFinder Server Advanced and Professional)
  3. Custom Hierarchies (included with DataFinder Server Advanced and Professional)
  4. Introducing Customizable DataFinder Server Licensing
  5. New DataFinder Server Licensing
  6. DataFinder Server: The perfect companion for the Analysis Server
  7. Appendix: DataFinder Server Terms
  8. Additional Resources

1. New Web-Based DataFinder Server Manager

DataFinder Server 2015 and previous versions use an application installed on the server machine to configure DataFinder Server. This means the DataFinder Server administrator needs to be present at the machine or use remote desktop software to configure the DataFinder Server. Starting in version 2017, DataFinder Server can be configured using a web client on any PC or mobile device.

 

Figure 1: Use the web-based TDM Server Manager to manage DataFinder and Analysis Server.

 

You can use the TDM Server Manager to create a new DataFinder, configure its search areas, and give users permission to access it. You can also enable and disable the DataFinder from this client.

 

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2. Data Preprocessor (included with DataFinder Server Advanced and Professional)

The Data Preprocessor is a new feature introduced in DataFinder Server 2017 to standardize, enrich, and validate data before using it for other purposes. By using the Data Preprocessor, you eliminate time wasted upfront in preparing your data files and save yourself from making costlier mistakes further downstream.

The Data Preprocessor has six configurable steps:

 

Figure 2: The Data Preprocessor has six configurable steps.

 

Metadata Names—Map metadata, or property, names that have slight variations to a single, standardized name. For example, channel names “Engine,” “Engine Type,” and “Fuel” can be mapped to “Engine_Fuel_Type.”


Metadata Values—Similar to the step above, map property values with slight differences in representation to a single, standardized representation. For example, values “Diesel,” “D,” and “Fuel_Diesel” can be mapped to “Diesel.”


Engineering Units—Automatically convert measurements to standardized units using a comprehensive, built-in unit library. For example, convert displacement measurements in feet and inches to meters.


Signal Statistics—Calculate characteristic values for the data and store as properties. For example, calculate mean for one channel of measurement data.


Final Validation—Check that actual data is within an expected range. For example, if 1,000 data values are expected but only 250 are present in the file, exclude this data and flag for error condition.


Store Data—Store the standardized, enriched, and validated data as a “master” copy in another disk location on the server machine or over the network. This “master” copy is saved into a high-performance, low-footprint file format for optimized loading and storage. The original data files are never deleted or modified.


The 64-bit versions of DIAdem Advanced and Professional provide the interface to configure the above Data Preprocessor steps. At the end of the configuration, DIAdem saves a configuration file (*.DPP), which you upload to the DataFinder Server using the TDM Server web client. Afterward, TDM Server Manager becomes your interface for starting and stopping the preprocessor, as well as pointing it to the location of raw data to process.

Each Data Preprocessor uses a new DataFinder Server component called a compute node. A Data Preprocessor requires at least one compute node license to execute. More compute node licenses can be purchased to speed up preprocessing tasks by working in parallel.

 

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3. Custom Hierarchies (included with DataFinder Server Advanced and Professional)

DataFinder Server Professional 2013 and DIAdem 2012 SP1 introduced the ability to view data in a way that makes the most sense to your application. This feature has now been added to DataFinder Server Advanced in DataFinder Server 2017.

Figure 3: An example of Custom Hierarchies in DataFinder Server.

 

With a custom hierarchy, you can rearrange your view of the data without changing its structure on disk. For instance, if you have engine test data, you may be interested in seeing the location of the tests followed by the specific engine data. Alternatively, you may want to know who performed the test and what engine types they tested. In Figure 3, the exact same data set is shown with two different data custom hierarchies: one that shows test location in the first level and one that shows test operator on the first level. The different views help you find the data you need faster.

 

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4. Introducing Customizable DataFinder Server Licensing

A DataFinder Server license consists of multiple components:

  1. DataFinder Server Instances—Every DataFinder Server has at least one instance. You can use additional instances to create another DataFinder Index within a DataFinder Server. Common reasons to do this is to keep the size of each DataFinder instance small enough to respond to queries quickly or to keep data in separate indexes. Each Data Preprocessor (available in DataFinder Server Advanced and Professional) also uses a DataFinder Server instance.
  2. Client Connections to the DataFinder Server—Each client connection (whether created by DIAdem or LabVIEW through the LabVIEW DataFinder Toolkit) consumes one connection to the DataFinder Server. The maximum number of client connections that can be opened to the server at one time cannot exceed the number of connection licenses available.
  3. Compute Nodes—The Data Preprocessor (included in DataFinder Server Advanced and Professional) requires at least one compute node license in order to execute. Additional compute nodes can speed up preprocessing tasks by working in parallel.
    DataFinder Server 2015 and previous versions have a set number of connections and instances for the base, advanced, and professional versions. In DataFinder Server 2017, you can increase the number of instances, connections, and compute nodes above the minimum that comes with each edition. For example, DataFinder Server Base includes five client connections by default; you have the option to add more than five connections, in increments of one. You cannot purchase DataFinder Server editions with less than the minimum instances, connections, and compute nodes than the default configuration (below).
      • Base: 1 instance, 5 connections, 0 compute nodes
      • Advanced: 3 instances, 25 connections, 1 compute node
      • Professional: 6 instances, 40 connections, 2 compute nodes

The NI Volume License Manager is now required to manage all aspects of DataFinder Server licensing. With this, you can properly manage and track all your licenses using one tool. Learn more about the NI Volume License Manager.

 

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5. New DataFinder Server Licensing

New features in DataFinder Server 2017 and more flexible licensing also deliver changes to the feature set in each edition of DataFinder Server. The three editions (base, advanced, professional) now include the following minimum license configurations and features.

Figure 4: A comparison of DataFinder Server 2015 and DataFinder Server 2017 Licensing.

 

As mentioned earlier, you can add extra connections, instances, and compute nodes to each of these packages to fit your exact deployment needs. Because of the new DataFinder Server licensing changes, there are also new pricing options for each edition. To find out more about DataFinder Server pricing, have an NI sales engineer contact you.

 

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6. DataFinder Server: The perfect companion for the Analysis Server

NI introduced the Analysis Server in 2017 in addition to DataFinder Server 2017. The Analysis Server makes it possible for you to extract the maximum value from large amounts of data in minimal time by harnessing the power of server technology to analyze large amounts of data and generate reports. DataFinder Server complements the Analysis Server by ensuring data is standardized and verified with a Data Preprocessor before analysis, in addition to enabling the Analysis Server to perform complex search queries on data distributed throughout the organization.

Figure 5: DataFinder Server and Analysis Server can be purchased together within the Data Management Software Suite.

 

To learn more about the Analysis Server and Data Management Software Suite, visit ni.com/data-management-software-suite.

 

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7. Appendix: DataFinder Server Terms

Connection
Each client connection (whether initiated by DIAdem or LabVIEW through the LabVIEW DataFinder Toolkit) consumes one connection to the DataFinder Server. The maximum number of client connections that can be opened with the server at one time cannot exceed the number of connection licenses available.

Instance
Every DataFinder Server has at least one instance. You can use additional instances to create another DataFinder Index within a DataFinder Server. Common reasons to do this is to keep the size of each DataFinder instance small enough to respond to queries quickly or to keep data in separate indexes. Each Data Preprocessor (available in DataFinder Server 2017 Advanced and Professional) also uses an instance.

Compute Nodes
The Data Preprocessor (included in DataFinder Server Advanced and Professional) requires at least one compute node license to execute. Additional compute nodes can speed up preprocessing tasks by working in parallel.

Custom Hierarchy
With a custom hierarchy, you can create a custom view based on the metadata of your measurement data without changing its structure on disk. For instance, if you have engine test data, you may be interested in seeing the location of the tests followed by the specific engine data. Alternatively, you may want to know who performed the test and what engine types they tested. Creating custom views of your data helps you find the data you need faster.

DataFinder Server Federation (Professional)
Create a federation of DataFinder servers, regardless of their locations. Sending a query to the DataFinder federation server will aggregate the results from all member servers, giving you detailed insight into your data. You can have up to 100 member servers connected to a single federation and you use a configuration-based dialog box to set up the federation hierarchy.
*To create a DataFinder Server Federation, DataFinder Server Professional edition is required. DataFinder Server Federation members must be DataFinder Server Advanced or Professional editions to be a member.

ASAM ODS Server and Interface
Use a DataFinder as an ASAM ODS server to read the data from a DataFinder Server through the ASAM ODS interface. You can connect programs as ASAM-conform clients with this server through the ASAM ODS interface.
*Feature only available with DataFinder Server Professional

 

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8. Additional Resources

  • Learn more about DataFinder Server, Analysis Server, and the Data Management Software Suite here.
  • Download the latest DataFinder Server and Analysis Server Free Evaluation here.

 

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