Running a Subset Action from the VIP Server Controller

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Using the VIP Server Controller is the recommended approach to running Subset Actions. This article provides an overview of the approach and is referenced throughout the subsequent articles for running the individual actions.

The VIP Server Controller is a desktop application that provides a simple UI for specifying parameters and rapidly running actions using VIP. It furthermore enables you to save Actions parameters easily as Config Files, re-running parameterized Actions rapidly in future.

The VIP Server Controller can be opened from your start menu or from your desktop if you created a desktop item during its installation. The application is called “VIP Server Controller”.

Note: The VIP Server Controller must be opened in administrator mode. This allows it to access the files it needs. Right click The VIP Server Controller desktop icon and select “Run as administrator”.

The VIP Server Controller is separated into two tabs:

  1. The Flow Cache Server
  2. Run Flow

The Flow Cache Server tab

The Flow Cache Server is used to put the automation workflows “in memory”. This improves the speed with which the Subset actions are run. It should be set up before “Run Flow” is complete.

In the Flow Cache Server tab, you must specify the location FlowCache.txt. This file specifies the location of the .vip flows that will be put in memory. If you load the default Executor.cfg config file, the default location of FlowCache.txt will be set automatically.

An example Flow Cache Server tab appears as follows:

Flow Cache Tab

The Run Flow tab

The Run Flow tab provides the location of the .vip that will run the automation, as well as the name of the Flow Cache Server that will run the automation. The parameters are entered on this screen. You can also toggle “Debug” mode and can also specify the location a TXT file used to terminate the automation:

Run Flow Tab

Put Flows in Memory

Before running an automated Subset action using the VIP Server Controller you should commit the automation workflows used to run the actions to memory. This improves the performance of the automation.

Complete the “Flow Cache Server” by entering the following parameters:

  1. The Flow Cache Server Name: Enter the name of the “Flow Cache Server”. This can whatever you choose, but must be mirrored in the “Run Flow tab”. If you load the default Executor.cfg config file, the default “SubsetMaskAndClone” will be set for both.
  2. The Flow Cache Server File: Enter the location the the FlowCache.txt. If you kept the default install locations, the template file is stored under C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMaskRun . This is set automatically by loading the Executor.cfg config file. This default file points to the four .vip workflows used to run the actions contained in subsetting, masking and cloning. If you copied the template subsetting files to a dedicated folder, the default Flow Cache will be included in that folder. Note: If you kept the default location during installation, you do not need to edit the FlowCache.txt. However, if you changed the install location you will need to update the FlowCache.txt file. For each flow in that file must update the file directories to reflect the location of the “VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMaskRun” folder.
  3. Log to Folder: This field is used when you want to gather more detailed log reports, for instance for the purpose of debugging your automation. It specifies the location to which a more detailed log report will be created. You can click “Start Logging” and “Stop Logging” to toggle logging on/off. Note: This detailed logging can also be set in the “Run Flow” tab by selecting the debugging mode. Setting “Log to Folder” in the Flow Cache Server tab is ad hoc and will run debug mode until stopped. Selecting “Debug” in the “Run Flow” tab will run debugging when that one Action is executed. If you use load the Executor.cfg config file, this will be set to C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMaskRun\Subset\SQLServer\Output

Once you have completed the Flow Cache Server, click “Start”. You will see the below message when the workflows have been committed to memory. Note: the “Server” name in the final line matches the name provided under “Flow Cache Server Name”.

Flows in Memory

Parameterise and Run an Automated Action

Once you have committed the workflows to memory, you are ready to parameterise and run the automation. Move to the “Run Flow” tab and fill in the fields as follows:

  1. Flow Path: This field is used to specify the location of the .vip workflow that will run the automation. For Subsetting, you will use two workflows: “SQLActions.enc.vip” and “SQLSubset.enc.vip”. SQLSubset.enc.vip should be specified in the Flow Path field. The location of SQLActions.enc.vip should be specified as an argument (see below). If you used the default install locations when installing VIP and the VIP Server Controller, both flows will be stored under C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMask. Loading the default Executor.cfg config file will specify the location of both workflows.
  2. The Flow Cache Server Name: Enter the name of the “Flow Cache Server”. This can whatever you choose; however, it must match the name specified under the “Flow Cache Server” and used to Put Flows in Memory. If you use load the Executor.cfg config file, this will be set to C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMaskRun\Subset\SQLServer\Output
  3. Log Directory: Provide the directory to which Logs will be saved. If you use load the Executor.cfg config file, this will be set to C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMaskRun\Subset\SQLServer\Output
  4. Debug: Debug mode will generate more detailed log reports, for instance for debugging. Note: This detailed logging can also be set in the “Flow Cache Server” tab by specifying a “Log to Folder” location and clicking “Start Logging”. Setting “Log to Folder” in the Flow Cache Server tab is ad hoc and will run debug mode until stopped. Selecting “Debug” in the “Run Flow” tab will run debugging when that one Action is executed.
  5. Arguments: Further parameters are provided as “Arguments”. All mandatory parameters should be specified, except those that are specified by fields in the VIP Server Controller. These are specified in the parameter list. In the “Arguments” file you should provide the following mandatory parameters, otherwise the defaults will be used. You can also specify any optional parameters at this point.

You should enter one argument per line into the Arguments box. When you are ready to execute the parameterized Action using the VIP Server Controller, simply click “Start” in the “Run Flow” tab.

Note: When using the VIP Server Controller you must enter the parSQLActionsPath

parSQLActionsPath parameter as an Argument and specify the location of the SQLActions.enc.vip flow. You do not need to do this when executing from a command script.

A completed “Run Flow” tab appears as follows:

Run Flow

To run the Action, make sure your Control Spreadsheet, Log File and Subset Report are closed. Then click “Create File” followed by “Start”.

When you run an Action from the VIP Server Controller, you will see any messages displayed in the dialogue below the arguments box. The automation will also update the Log and Subset Report.

Config Files

A significant advantage of using the VIP Server Controller instead of the Command Line is the ability to save template “Config Files”. This saves a view of parameters that had been entered into the screen. Opening the Config file then loads the parameters.

When working through the actions involved in a Subset, you often only need to change the parAction argument for each Action. Saving a Config file therefore makes it far quicker to run a Subset. The alternative would be repeatedly specifying the same parameters for each action.

You can save a Config file from the “Flow Cache Server” tab. This will save any parameters and arguments entered into both the Flow Cache Server and Run Flow tabs. To save a Config file click “Save Config” at the bottom of the Flow Cache Server:

Config Files

To load and re-use a previously saved Config, click “Load Config”. Browse for your saved .CFG file and open it. This will enter all previously saved parameters and arguments into the Flow Cache Server and Run Flow tabs.

Using Executor.cfg to quickly define a new Action

A default “Executor.cfg” Config file can be located in each of the data-type folders in C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMaskRun\Subset

Loading this folder sets defaults for the following mandatory and optional parameters:

  1. Flow Cache Server Name – this is set to SubsetMaskAndClone in both the Flow Cache and Run Flow tabs.
  2. Flow Cache Server File – this is set to “C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMask\FlowCache.txt” . If you kept the default location during installation, you do not need to edit the FlowCache.txt after loading Executor.cfg.
  3. Log to Folder: This is set to C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMaskRun\Subset\SQLServer\Output
  4. Flow Path – this is set to “C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMask\SQLSubset.enc.vip”. If you kept the default location during installation you do not need to edit Flow Path after loading Executor.cfg.
  5. Log Director – This is set to “C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMaskRun\Subset\SQLServer\Output”
  6. parAction – This is set to GETMETADATA. You will change this for each action you run.
  7. parControlExcel – this is set to “C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMaskRun\Subset\SQLServer\VIPSubsetSQLServer.xlsx” Change it to specify the location of your Control Spreadsheet.
  8. parDatabaseType – this is set to SQL Server by default. Change it to match your database type.
  9. parPrepenvAllTables This is set to “True”
  10. parReportFile – This is set to “parReportFile=C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMaskRun\Subset\SQLServer\Output\SubsetReport.txt”
  11. parOverrideBuildmodelRequirement – This is set to False
  12. parCleardownReport – This is set to “True
  13. parCommandTimeout – This is set to “600”
  14. parSQLActionsPath – This is set to “C:\VIPTDM\SubsetCloneAndMask\SQLActions.enc.vip”. If you kept the default location during installation, you do not need to edit this parameter.

When running a standard Subset Action, you will typically only need to update the following parameters. These changes reflect the Action you want to perform and the location of your Run Directory:

  1. Log to Folder
  2. Log Directory
  3. parAction
  4. parControlExcel
  5. parDatabaseType
  6. parReportFile

Using Executor.cfg thereby provides a quick approach to defining and running new Subset Action. You can then save a new Config file and re-use it across all Subset Actions used in a particular Subset job. Insodoing, you will typically only need to update the parAction parameter between jobs.

Note: If you did not keep the standard file locations during install, you will additionally need to update the following:

  1. Flow Cache Server File
  2. Flow Path
  3. parSQLActionsPath