Each month in “From the Mailbag,” we give clear, straightforward answers to commonly asked questions about Exago BI. This month, our topic is data and data handling.

Q: Can Exago BI handle large amounts of data?

A: Yes indeed. There is technically no limit to the amount of data Exago BI can handle, but the larger the data set, the more hardware will begin to impact performance. Exago BI’s performance in handling large quantities of data depends primarily on the network speeds between the Exago BI server and 1) the client machine, 2) the database server, and 3) any other remote execution or scheduler servers. Performance is also dependent on each machine’s processing power.

Q: How does Exago pull data together from different types of sources?

A: For an administrator, joining objects from different data sources—even different types of data sources like a MySQL table and a Postgres table—is just like joining objects from the same source. It is even possible to join an object from a structured data source with one from an unstructured data source, since the latter must be converted into a table format for reporting purposes.

Q: Where does Exago host data?

A: We don’t! You maintain control over where and how your data and your clients’ data is stored. Exago BI simply connects to and reads from those data sources. It does not have the ability to modify the original data in any way.

Q: If Exago BI doesn’t host the data, how does it access the database?

A: Exago BI connects to data sources by way of connection strings. The connection string points Exago BI to the correct server, identifies the database in question, and supplies the database’s authentication layer with login credentials. Below is an example of how a connection string might look in the admin console.

Q: How quickly is the data updated? Are we seeing real-time live data?

A: As soon as new data appears in the database, Exago BI has access to it. By default, when a report is exported, Exago BI retrieves the most up-to-date information from the database, unless you’ve enabled report execution caching (v2017.1 and later). With execution caching, end users have the option of dramatically reducing execution time for large reports by executing from the cached data rather than hitting the database.

Dashboards operate somewhat differently than reports do and can be set to refresh at a specified regular interval.

In the event that a large report requires several seconds to load, the dashboard can be made to update “silently” so that the dashboard visualization updates only once the execution is complete, eliminating refresh hourglasses/pinwheels.

To learn more about data handling in Exago BI, visit our Knowledge Base.