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3 min read

Setting Up Your TimeXtender Project

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In TimeXtender, your modern data estate consists of an ODX and one or more modern data warehouse projects. Your work is organized in projects stored in a repository on a SQL Server. Each project is basically a collection of data warehouses, tables, fields, business units, execution packages, semantic models, etc.

Missing from the list above are data sources. They are covered in the knowledgebase article on Data Sources.

If you use an ODX server, data will be copied directly from the ODX server to a data warehouse. Consequently, you won't be using business units, including the staging database and the data sources that make up a business unit.

Project Repositories. Your projects are stored in a project repository on a SQL Server or Azure SQL Database. When you open TimeXtender for the first time, you can set up a repository in the “Get Started” wizard. If you do not, you will be prompted to set up a repository when you try to, for example, add a new project.

When you install a new version of TimeXtender, you will be prompted to run an upgrade script that automatically updates the repository to ensure compatibility with the new software version.

With that, please note that the repository settings are saved for the current user and installation of TimeXtender. This means that if you open two instances of TimeXtender and change the repository settings in one of them, you will change the repository settings for both.

Projects. A TimeXtender project contains all other elements of the data warehouse. You can only have one project open at a time. However, if you want to compare different versions of a project, you can open another instance of TimeXtender and load another version of the project to view side-by-side.

Data Warehouses. A data warehouse in TimeXtender is a SQL Server database on-premises or in Azure where your data is stored for queries and analysis. Often, a TimeXtender project consists of one data warehouse where you consolidate data from one of more staging databases and a number of data sources.

During execution of a project, TimeXtender extracts data from the staging database or ODX data storage and transfers it to the data warehouse. Initially, the data resides in what is known as raw table instances in the data warehouse. TimeXtender applies data transformations and data cleansing rules and saves the resulting data in valid instances of the tables, ready for queries and analysis.

Business Units and Staging Databases. In TimeXtender, a business unit is any part of your organization that you want to treat as a separate entity in your project. For example, you may want to treat a company headquarters and each of its subsidiaries as separate business units. Each business unit in your project has a staging database and a number of data sources.

The staging database can be stored on SQL Server or on Azure SQL Database. It stores the data selected for extraction from the data sources. Additionally, many of the validation and transformation processes take place in the staging database. This ensures that the cleansing process has limited impact on the transaction database.

The difference between a staging database and a data warehouse is minimal. You can add custom tables, views, scripts, table relationships, security to a staging database just as if it was a data warehouse database.

One Note: If you use the ODX Server, data will be copied directly from the ODX Server to a data warehouse. For this reason, you won't be using business units.

Team Development. TimeXtender supports multiple developers working on the same project at the same time. Version notes enable developers to share details about their changes to the project, and work items allow developers to see which objects other team members are working on to prevent them from modifying the same objects simultaneously.

When collaborating on a project, developers should avoid working on the same object on the same time. If this happens, the outcome depends on the type of change made. The team development feature of TimeXtender depends on the developers to take care when working together as the feature itself does not prevent developers from making conflicting changes.

Project Perspectives. The purpose of project perspectives is to make it easier to work with large projects. In big projects, it can be hard to maintain a good overview and find an individual object quickly. The idea is that you can create different perspectives on a project. A perspective is a subset of the project objects that relate to a specific area or task. For example, you could create a “finance” perspective that contains all the tables, dimensions and cubes that are related to finance. When this perspective is active, anything else will be hidden.

For more information – This is a summary overview. You can find out much more about setting up your projects at the TimeXtender support site that hosts the published user guides.

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