Enhanced Data Pipeline for Appian Cloud

This page applies to Appian Cloud only. It may not reflect the differences with Appian Government Cloud.

Enhanced Data Pipeline is available to customers that are on Advanced or Enterprise Support with High Availability. Appian customers must purchase Advanced or Enterprise Support to use the functionality described below. The functionality described below is not included in the base Appian platform.

Overview

Appian Cloud provides customers with a dedicated relational database management system (RDBMS) instance to optionally use as a business data source.

Appian Cloud customers enrolled in Advanced or Enterprise Support can connect directly to their business data source and utilize their data management tools such as Extract Transform Load (ETL) processes, business intelligence, data warehousing and reporting.

Enhanced Data Pipeline RO

Benefits

Enhanced Data Pipeline enables a native endpoint to connect to the business data source on an Appian Cloud instance and to integrate it further with your data processing procedures. Some benefits include:

  • Increased flexibility to access your data: This service allows you to use a MySQL or MariaDB compatible database client (for example, MySQL Workbench) and analyze data in a more familiar way.
  • Seamless integration with data analysis tools: You can integrate your Appian Cloud business data source to your enterprise reporting processes for unified enterprise analytics (for example, Tableau, PowerBI).
  • Simplified ETL processes: You can export, transform, and move your data to your existing organization data marts and data warehouses located on your corporate infrastructure.

Setup

Appian Support will create a database user in your business data source with read-only privileges for client authentication purposes. You will then configure your database client tools with these credentials, along with required security connection parameters.

Database traffic between your tools and the business data source will be forwarded over an IPSec VPN tunnel established to your Appian Cloud instance. As an additional security mechanism, connections to your business data source will be encrypted using SSL/TLS to a custom hostname <your-instance>.db.appiancloud.com. To prevent certificate errors in your applications, you may need to install the *.db.appiancloud.com certificate in the appropriate trusted certificate stores for your tools and systems. Installing third-party certificates varies on each tool and platform. See your tool's documentation on how to connect to an external database using SSL/TLS and how to import a third-party certificate.

Using Enhanced Data Pipeline

The Appian Cloud database cluster in high availability configuration has three nodes: a primary node and two replica nodes. The primary node services the requests generated by your Appian applications and the replica nodes are waiting for a failover, providing redundancy. Under normal circumstances, the replica is always in sync with the primary node. However, under certain edge case scenarios, the replica nodes can lag behind the primary node.

The queries from Enhanced Data Pipeline are routed to the replica instance as opposed to the primary database node in your highly available Appian Cloud database cluster. This allows the primary node to service the requests from Appian applications while one of the replicas service the Enhanced Data Pipeline requests. Thus, under the edge case scenarios, the data available for Enhanced Data Pipeline can have a replica lag.

Customers who want to leverage Enhanced Data Pipeline are advised to test and plan for the additional database load generated by the external queries accordingly. Queries generated from your tools could significantly degrade the overall performance in your Cloud instance if the queries overload the Cloud business datasource instance. Appian recommends extracting your data through Enhanced Data Pipeline during periods of low usage. In most cases, connecting data analysis tools directly to production transactional databases is not considered a good practice as queries generated by heavily used reporting tools could have performance implications in production instances. Additionally, Appian recommends testing your database queries thoroughly in lower environments first and assessing any performance impact before using your queries against your production instances.

Prerequisites checklist

Prerequisite Description Organizational Role
Advanced or Enterprise Support (including High Availability Order Form) This offering is available via Advanced or Enterprise Support (including High Availability) Business relationship owner
MySQL or MariaDB compatibility Your database client tools must be compatible with MySQL or MariaDB. You may need to install additional connectors or drivers to be able to query the business data source in your Appian Cloud instance. Consult your tool's documentation for details. Server administrator
Set up IPSec VPN Tunnel or AWS PrivateLink connection Configure VPN tunnel(s) from your corporate network to your Appian Cloud instance or an AWS PrivateLink connection. Network Administrator / Authorized support contact
Set up name resolution Your database tools and any other systems will connect to your business data source using the FQDN <your-instance>.db.appiancloud.com. This typically requires creating a record in your DNS infrastructure pointing to the private IP address(es) of your Appian Cloud instance(s). DNS/Server administrator

Steps

  1. Open a Support Case to request setting up access to the external RDBMS.
    • Provide the instance name(s) you wish to configure with this functionality.
    • Provide the name of the schema(s) that the database user must have access to.
      • Note: Creating additional schemas in phpMyAdmin is only available for Appian Cloud databases using MariaDB. If you don't have additional schemas, just provide the default schema name: "Appian" or "AppianAnywhere".
  2. Appian Support will configure your instance to enable external access over the VPN tunnel.
  3. Appian Support will create a user with read-only permissions in your business data source.
  4. Appian Support will schedule a maintenance window and deploy the necessary configurations.
  5. Prior to the agreed maintenance window, Appian Support will communicate the connection parameters to your business data source including port (3306), database name, username and a temporary password.
  6. External access to the business datasource of your instance will be enabled after the maintenance window.
  7. Have a database administrator generate a new password for the provided database user in phpMyAdmin by using the AppianProcess.changeEDPUserPassword stored procedure.
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