Announcing SentryOne Document General Availability, Data Dictionary Capability

Tyler Lynch

Published On: November 5, 2019

Categories: Cloud, Data Lineage, Documentation 0

In a major milestone in our mission to help data managers master some of the critical but time-consuming data management tasks they face, today we’re announcing the general availability of SentryOne Document, our cloud-based documentation and data lineage analysis solution.

If you didn’t jump into the Preview of SentryOne Document—or if you missed my account of what became available in the Preview release—make sure to check out that blog post to read about the data lineage analysis and documentation capabilities.

What’s New in GA for SentryOne Document?

We’ve jam-packed many enhancements and new features into the latest iteration of SentryOne Document. I’ll be spending the rest of this post diving into how you can customize your documentation using the Data Dictionary, and how you can use Documentation Compare to pinpoint metadata changes between two points in time.

For a complete listing of what’s now available, you can check out the release notes here.

How to Build a Data Dictionary

After you’ve generated your documentation, you might want to add additional information to supplement the metadata that has been captured, including:

  • Specifying who deployed a report
  • Showing who’s responsible for the maintenance of a database
  • Adding business definitions to technical items in the documentation

With the Data Dictionary in SentryOne Document, this is exactly the level of customization you can achieve. First, you’ll start by defining a “category.” These are the fields into which you enter data—so you might have a category for Business Owner, one for SLA, and one for Emergency Contact, for example. These categories have a data type (e.g., Text, Number, DateTime) and can apply to a collection of different object types within your solution. For this example, I’m defining a Database Tester category for all the databases in my VM SQL Server solution. The data type I’ll be using is DropDown, which will allow me to use a list of QA Testers I’ve pre-defined as part of a value list.

SentryOne Document Add Category ScreenshotCategory I've defined that will allow me to annotate who is responsible for database testing across my VM SQL Server solution.

 

SentryOne Document Create New Value List

A value list I've defined that contains all the QA Testers. These are what will populate the DropDown data type that I specified in my category.

 

Now that I’ve configured my category, the next snapshot I take of a SQL Server in my VM SQL Server solution will allow me to specify who the designated QA Tester is at the database level—either Billy, Chris, or Tyler.

SentryOne Document Designated Tester

For this AdventureWorks database, I've annotated that Tyler is the designated tester.

 

Bottom line is, the Data Dictionary allows you to customize your documentation in a way that’s understandable to everyone.

Using Documentation Compare

As part of the SentryOne Document Preview launch, the ability to track changes in your documentation over time using the “Point in Time View” became available. With the General Availability launch, you’re now able to compare this historical documentation with any other historical (or current) documentation. This new feature can be crucial in giving your team visibility into determining the differences in a single environment over time, or among different environments. Having the ability to compare snapshots can aid both developers and DBAs who are trying to track down the source of either consistency or performance problems.

SentryOne Document Documentation Comparison

Side-by-side comparison of two sets of documentation.

 

SentryOne Document Diff View

In the “Diff View,” we can clearly see the differences between the two versions. The total number of columns present within dbo.Widgets changed from 6 to 3, and the table’s definition was altered.

 

Get Started with SentryOne Document

We’re super excited to deliver these new features to you and would love to hear your feedback. You can get started with a feature-packed 30-day trial of SentryOne Document. For more information, including pricing, check out the SentryOne Document product page.

If you missed my first blog post about the new data lineage analysis capabilities available, check it out here.

Tyler is an Associate Technical Product Manager, assisting in the development and delivery of the SentryOne Data DevOps product portfolio. After working as a software developer for almost two years, he transitioned to Product Management with a desire to be more directly involved with SentryOne customers and to leverage the technical experience he's gained to understand the problems and solutions in the industry better. He is thrilled to be a part of the next generation that is committing to improving the lives of the Microsoft Data Professional.


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