Prepare, Blend, and Analyze IBM Cloud Object Storage Data in Alteryx Designer

Ready to get started?

Download for a free trial:

Download Now

Learn more:

IBM Cloud Object Storage ODBC Driver

The IBM Cloud Object Storage ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live data from IBM Cloud Object Storage, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access IBM Cloud Object Storage data like you would a database - read, write, and update IBM Cloud Object Storage IBMCloudObject, etc. through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



Build workflows to access live IBM Cloud Object Storage data for self-service data analytics.

The CData ODBC Driver for IBM Cloud Object Storage enables access to live data from IBM Cloud Object Storage under the ODBC standard, allowing you work with IBM Cloud Object Storage data in a wide variety of BI, reporting, and ETL tools and directly, using familiar SQL queries. This article shows how to connect to IBM Cloud Object Storage data using an ODBC connection in Alteryx Designer to perform self-service BI, data preparation, data blending, and advanced analytics.

The CData ODBC drivers offer unmatched performance for interacting with live IBM Cloud Object Storage data in Alteryx Designer due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from Alteryx Designer to IBM Cloud Object Storage, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to IBM Cloud Object Storage and utilizes the embedded SQL engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can visualize and analyze IBM Cloud Object Storage data using native Alteryx data field types.

Connect to IBM Cloud Object Storage Data

  1. If you have not already done so, provide values for the required connection properties in the data source name (DSN). You can configure the DSN using the built-in Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator. This is also the last step of the driver installation. See the "Getting Started" chapter in the Help documentation for a guide to using the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure a DSN.

    Register a New Instance of Cloud Object Storage

    If you do not already have Cloud Object Storage in your IBM Cloud account, follow the procedure below to install an instance of SQL Query in your account:

    1. Log in to your IBM Cloud account.
    2. Navigate to the page, choose a name for your instance and click Create. You will be redirected to the instance of Cloud Object Storage you just created.

    Connecting using OAuth Authentication

    There are certain connection properties you need to set before you can connect. You can obtain these as follows:

    API Key

    To connect with IBM Cloud Object Storage, you need an API Key. You can obtain this as follows:

    1. Log in to your IBM Cloud account.
    2. Navigate to the Platform API Keys page.
    3. On the middle-right corner click "Create an IBM Cloud API Key" to create a new API Key.
    4. In the pop-up window, specify the API Key name and click "Create". Note the API Key as you can never access it again from the dashboard.

    Cloud Object Storage CRN

    If you have multiple accounts, you will need to specify the CloudObjectStorageCRN explicitly. To find the appropriate value, you can:

    • Query the Services view. This will list your IBM Cloud Object Storage instances along with the CRN for each.
    • Locate the CRN directly in IBM Cloud. To do so, navigate to your IBM Cloud Dashboard. In the Resource List, Under Storage, select your Cloud Object Storage resource to get its CRN.

    Connecting to Data

    You can now set the following to connect to data:

    • InitiateOAuth: Set this to GETANDREFRESH. You can use InitiateOAuth to avoid repeating the OAuth exchange and manually setting the OAuthAccessToken.
    • ApiKey: Set this to your API key which was noted during setup.
    • CloudObjectStorageCRN (Optional): Set this to the cloud object storage CRN you want to work with. While the connector attempts to retrieve this automatically, specifying this explicitly is recommended if you have more than Cloud Object Storage account.

    When you connect, the connector completes the OAuth process.

    1. Extracts the access token and authenticates requests.
    2. Saves OAuth values in OAuthSettingsLocation to be persisted across connections.

    When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

  2. Open Alteryx Designer and create a new workflow.
  3. Drag and drop a new input data tool onto the workflow.
  4. Click the new input data tool and under Connect a File or Database, select Database Connection -> New ODBC Connection.
  5. Select the DSN that you configured for use in Alteryx.
  6. In the wizard that opens, select the fields you wish to include in your query. Where possible, the complex queries generated by the filters and aggregations will be pushed down to IBM Cloud Object Storage, while any unsupported operations (which can include SQL functions and JOIN operations) will be managed client-side by the CData SQL engine embedded in the driver.
  7. If you wish to further customize your dataset, you can open the SQL Editor and modify the query manually, adding clauses, aggregations, and other operations to ensure that you are retrieving exactly the IBM Cloud Object Storage data you want.

With the query defined, you are ready to work with IBM Cloud Object Storage data in Alteryx Designer.

Perform Self-Service Analytics on IBM Cloud Object Storage Data

You are now ready to create a workflow to prepare, blend, and analyze IBM Cloud Object Storage data. The CData ODBC Driver performs dynamic metadata discovery, presenting data using Alteryx data field types and allowing you to leverage the Designer's tools to manipulate data as needed and build meaningful datasets. In the example below, you will cleanse and browse data.

  1. Add a data cleansing tool to the workflow and check the boxes in Replace Nulls to replace null text fields with blanks and replace null numeric fields with 0. You can also check the box in Remove Unwanted Characters to remove leading and trailing whitespace.
  2. Add a browse data tool to the workflow.
  3. Click to run the workflow (CTRL+R).
  4. Browse your cleansed IBM Cloud Object Storage data in the results view.

Thanks to built-in, high-performance data processing, you will be able to quickly cleanse, transform, and/or analyze your IBM Cloud Object Storage data with Alteryx.