Release Notes V R1 (General Availability)¶
Check out a high-level overview of Alation V. For more comprehensive and detailed information, read on.
Alation now provides a public API to interact with Articles. The API provides an interface for all CRUD operations, allowing for programmatic management of articles. For further details and code samples, refer to the API documentation.
Alation now exposes a public API to get the database accounts that have queried an object. This information used to be exposed only in the Top Users field, and only for a certain number of users. The documentation for this feature can be found here.
Users of Advanced Search can now filter conversations based on whether or not there are responses, allowing for the rapid identification of any lingering questions or comments.
Users can now perform searches based on the contents of Rich Text fields. This is enabled for both quick and advanced search. Please note that after upgrading, it will likely take several hours to re-index objects and see this change come into effect.
Customize Catalog now includes a new Custom Field type: Multi-Select Picker. Similar to Picker, it provides a dropdown menu to select from predefined values, but with a checklist for multiple value selection. Advanced Search allows faceting by values in these fields.
On Table Catalog Pages for Hive Data Sources, Alation now shows a link in Properties to the Catalog page to the HDFS file or directory that backs the Hive Table. The HDFS File System must also be cataloged in Alation for this feature to work. On HDFS File System catalog pages, Alation now shows a link in Properties to the Catalog page to the Hive Table if this file backs the Hive Table. To enable this, the alation.feature_flags.enable_hive_links feature flag must be set to True.
Catalog sets now allow users to pick and choose specific objects(Datasource, Database Catalog, Schema, Table, Column) through the “Manual” set tab (accessible through Admin -> Catalog Sets). This is helpful when simple conditional rules can’t express the group. In addition, users now have the ability to sync fields (title/description, custom fields, flags and tags) across the children of the manual set members. Once the manual set is created, the fields that have to be synced can fully be customized through the “Sync Children” tab on the catalog set page. This is useful when there are duplicate items (with the same name) across different schemas or datasources and fields would normally have to be copied manually to the duplicates. When syncing is enabled for the first time or the sync settings are modified, the metadata is copied from the children in the order of how their parents were added in the set. Metadata is synced across the children when one of the children is modified (through catalog UI / API / data dictionary upload). More details on how syncing works is present on the “Sync Children” tab. With Manual Catalog Sets enabled, Object Equivalence feature is deprecated, as Manual Catalog Sets support synchronization of tags, flags, and custom fields, in addition to title and description. Existing Schema Equivalences defined on the Object Equivalence tab in Admin Settings have been migrated to Schema Manual Catalog Sets with children syncing (for tables and columns) on title and description. Object Equivalence can still be used when Manual Catalog Sets is disables. As Object Equivalence is a deprecated feature, it will be removed from Alation in the near future. The new catalog set features can be enabled by `alation_conf alation.feature_flags.enable_cognates -s True`. Any user can create/view manual sets but field synchronization settings can be enabled/modified only by admins.
For users of Compose, Trust Check is now available in conjunction with Compose Previews to trust the data they’re querying. With Trust Check, flags added to the catalog are shown to the right users at the right time, so they have more impact with less effort. The data objects documented in the catalog are now brought forward in Compose through color coded highlights or underlines in the query text as you type. Users have control over the indicators in Compose. They can choose whether to get indicators for depreciations, warnings, and endorsements, or for objects without any quality flags.
For customers with Tableau Server 10.4 or later connected to Alation. Data Sources in Tableau will now be certified when the equivalent data source is endorsed in Alation. For Admins: Enable this feature by setting these two flags to True in alation_conf. Run these commands from the Alation Shell: alation_conf alation.feature_flags.enable_tableau_alation_integration -s True alation_conf alation.feature_flags.enable_tableau_certified_datasource - True
For Admins of PostgreSQL environments, Alation now supports Behavior I/O using EDB audit logs. To take advantage of this, enable Query Log Ingestion from a Postgres Data Source Settings page.
Alation now supports a Lineage GET API that will return a list of all relevant lineages for a given table key and table type. For details, refer to the API documentation. Note: The lineage results do not currently include query or script text for performance reasons.
Admin Release Notes¶
Alation now supports authentication with HttpFS or WebHDFS using kerberos with SSL encryption. This should enable QLI, HDFS extraction, and upload to HDFS functionality if your WebHDFS or HttpFS service is configured with kerberos and SSL. On QLI settings page, ensure the WebHDFS Server has the value like “https://YOUR_WEBHDFS_HOSTNAME” and that the port is correct. If there are self-signed certificates, those need to be imported into Alation. See installation guide for details on installing certificates.
Admin can now toggle feature flags on/off via a new feature flag admin page, reducing the need to use the alation shell. Changing flags will cause all users’ pages to reload
Alation can now collect query logs for PostgreSQL data sources. Admins can configure Query Log Ingestion through CSV Logs (by default) or Audit Logs in the Data Source Settings page. Features such as Popularity, Top Users, Joins, Filters, and Lineage are driven by this data. For PostgreSQL data sources, Alation previously took into account only queries run in Compose. Now Alation can take advantage of query logs for a more comprehensive picture of usage.
Alation now supports Metadata Extraction from Salesforce Einstein Analytics. This can be configured by following the steps in the Add New BI Server page in Admin Settings. Due to limitations of the Salesforce APIs, Lineage is only available to datasets, and is unavailable between datasource and datatable. This feature is enabled by alation_conf Set the generic bi flag (if not already set) alation_conf alation.feature_flags.enable_generic_bi -s True Set the salesforce flag alation_conf alation.feature_flags.enable_salesforce_bi -s True
Alation now supports Metadata Extraction from Salesforce DB as a datasource, further expanding the array of datasources accessible through Alation. SObjects are extracted as tables, using Fields as columns. These are all extracted under one schema, “sobjects,” and schema filtering has been disabled as a result. Also note that Compose, Sampling, and Usage data are disabled. Admin users can enable this feature through the UI by going to Settings > Admin Settings > Labs -> and toggling “Enable SFDC Database Type”
Alation now supports Metadata Extraction from IBM Cognos as a BI Server. In Admin Setting, Add New Bi Server, register a Business Intelligence Server IBM cognos Limitation: Usage stats are currently only supported when Cognos is configured to use Oracle or SQL Server database types to store usage This feature is enabled by alation_conf Set the generic bi flag alation_conf alation.feature_flags.enable_generic_bi -s True Set the cognos flag alation_conf alation.feature_flags.enable_cognos -s True
Alation now supports Azure SQL Data Warehouse as a data source. To use this feature, navigate to Settings, Add a new data source and choose Azure SQL DW as the DB type. This feature is enabled by toggling the following Labs Setting: Settings -> Admin Settings -> Labs -> Enable Azure SQL Data Warehouse Database Type
Support for Execution Engines has been improved. The Add Datasource wizard now allows adding “Presto” as a multi-catalog datasource. The previous support as a single Hive Catalog is supported through the datasource type “Presto on Hive”. Existing Presto datasources will continue to work as a Presto on Hive single catalog data sources. This feature is enabled through a Labs Setting Settings -> Admin Settings -> Labs -> Enable Presto Database Type with multiple catalogs
For HDFS Users, Alation now supports the extraction of filesystem metadata from HDFS instances. Any distribution/version of HDFS that supports the WebHDFS REST protocol is supported. Path filters, along with connection and authentication parameters are specified in the settings page. The catalog pages for folders and files that match the path filters are displayed in the Alation UI.
For SAS DB Users, Alation now supports the extraction of metadata from SAS DB instances. To enable this, please run “alation_conf alation.feature_flag.enable_datasource_sas -s True” from the Alation shell.
For Cassandra users, Alation now supports cataloging Cassandra as a data source. Note that Compose and Query Log Ingestion is currently disabled. To use this, please run “alation_conf alation.feature_flags.enable_datasource_cassandra -s True” from the Alation shell.
For Users of Amazon S3, Alation now supports the cataloging of S3 as a Filesystem. Alation will display each S3 bucket as a hierarchy of directories and files representing the keys in S3. To use this, run ” alation_conf alation.feature_flags.enable_filesystems -s True” from the Alation shell.
Alation BI Support has been reworked to accomidate a significantly wider array of tools. Currently, this framework supports Microstrategy, IBM Cognos, and Salesforce Einstein Analytics, but users can expect to see support for a wide array of BI solutions in future releases. To use this framework, turn on the feature flag by running “alation_conf alation.feature_flags.enable_generic_bi -s True” from the Alation shell.
For SAP HANA users, Alation now supports the ingestion of SAP HANA Query logs.
On Table Catalog Pages for Hive, Alation now shows a clickable link in Properties to the underlying location that backs the Hive Table for Amazon S3 (in 5.0.0 we released this for HDFS-backed tables). To enable this, the alation.feature_flags.enable_hive_links feature flag must be set to True.
Resolved an issue introduced in 4.20.0 where Compose scheduled queries at monthly, weekly, or daily intervals would fail to execute with an error about being outside the delay tolerance (could be addressed by lengthening the delay tolerance). These schedules now work with the standard delay tolerance.
Resolved an issue where Compose results would sometimes not render until the user switched tabs and switched back.
Resolved an issue where Compose SmartSuggest would not return a full list of matching objects when the data source has objects with uppercase characters in the name. SmartSuggest should now show up to 10 matching items, regardless of case.
Resolved an issue where Compose SmartSuggest did not suggest tables in order of popularity. Now SmartSuggest should suggest the most popular tables first.
Fixed a bug where enabling “Tableau Data Source Certification” in the Labs admin tab only worked if Tableau Workbook Certification was also enabled from the backend. Now they can be enabled independently. Also added the option to enable “Tableau Workbook Certification” from the Labs tab.
Admin Release Notes¶
Further improvements to Snowflake support. Alation now supports metadata extraction, sampling, and Compose access for Snowflake Data Warehouse. Query Log Ingestion is not yet supported.
Alation now supports nonstandard system home directory and shell for UNIX accounts used by Alation on the server.
Alation Installation no longer depends on the “which” command, allowing for installation on “minimal” Linux distributions.
Improved support for Tableau release 10.5.
Fixed a bug introduced in 4.18 which would prevent the “Shared With Me” section of the Compose Query Browser from loading.
Fixed an issue with upgrades where very long table names would cause the underlying migrations to fail
Fixed an issue where Alation would strip all comments from scheduled queries and queries run through Excel Live Report. These comments could contain semantic content, such as hints to the database engine. Alation now sends the comments along with the query, but will not send them as a statement by themselves (i.e. a comment that is the last line in a query)
Fixed an issue where, in some enterprise environments, Alation was unable to provision linux system users with the right permissions in the Alation Shell environment, which would result in a failure during software upgrade. Alation will now check and reset the permissions if necessary.
Fixed a bug introduced in 4.18.0 where killing an in-progress Tableau Extraction or Virtual Data Source upload job would hide the status of any current or past jobs of that type. The actual jobs would continue to run on schedule, but not be visible in the settings pages. This could happen if the machine or server was restarted in the middle of one of these jobs or they were killed by the OS or a sysadmin. Now, current and past Tableau Extraction and Virtual Data Source upload jobs will show on settings pages.
This release disables a control for video uploads to the rich text editor (used in Articles). Previously, video files were being uploaded to an external website for staging purposes. We have verified that any uploaded videos were deleted from the external server shortly after upload. Users can continue to embed video from YouTube, Vimeo and other sources.
For customers with Salesforce Einstein Analytics connected to Alation, Analytics dashboards will now be certified with a prefix when the equivalent dashboard is endorsed in Alation. If a user manually edits the title in Salesforce and removes the prefix, when the next metadata extraction job runs in Alation we will correct the title back. Users of Salesforce Einstein Analytics can enable this integration from Alation Labs. The service account associated with the Salesforce Einstein Analytics instance in Alation needs to have “Manage Dashboards” permissions in Salesforce for all the folders(shared, private, etc). When dashboards in Alation are endorsed, warned or deprecated we propagate the information to Salesforce Einstein Analytics as follows:
If a dashboard has been marked as deprecated by at least a single user we will prefix (DO NOT USE) to the dashboard title in Salesforce.
If a dashboard has not been deprecated or warned by anyone, and if it is endorsed by at least a single user we will prefix (CERTIFIED) to the dashboard title in Salesforce.
Dashboard titles for Salesforce in Alation will now synchronize with the corresponding titles on the Salesforce website.
Previously, the DataDog reporting agent was run by its own user. To improve the installation process, the DataDog agent is now run by the Alation user
Fixed an issue where, starting in 4.20, Alation would strip authentication information from the URI used for Hive/Impala QLI. This information is now properly passed to the server.
In some cases Microstrategy extraction would exhaust available memory before completion. Users can now disable permission mirroring as a workaround for this problem. Note that this a fix for a specific customer issue and not generally recommended to disable permission mirroring.
Fixed an issue where Impala QLI would fail while attempting to parse log files that have a slightly different timestamp format than expected. Alation is now able to handle the new timestamp format.
Fixed a bug where database identifiers that began with unicode characters would cause Metadata Extraction to fail.
Fixed a bug where upgrading to a higher version of alation with a lower build number would leave Alation in an inconsistent state.
Added metadata extraction support for SQL Server instances configured with case-sensitive collation.
Previously, Amazon S3 extraction worked if a folder is specified, but failed for full extraction. The recursion technique used in the call to S3 for bucket objects has been replaced by the do-while loop. So, Alation can now support more than 10 million objects of a S3 bucket.
Previously, Alation would not be able to parse encrypted assertion when authenticating a user with SAML. Now, this has been resolved. SAML HTTP POST binding is not supported now.
After upgrading to 5.0.8, NullPointerExceptions were occurring on running Microstrategy extraction for some projects with shortcut. This fix handles the exception and the extraction now runs successfully.
Metadata extraction was failing for Greenplum due to a filter value in the metadata extraction query. To resolve this issue, the pattern to exclude the system schema has been corrected to ensure that user schema names with prefix “pg” do not get excluded during metadata extraction.
Previously, the multi-picker fields on the article page were displaying wrong values on page refresh. This issue has been resolved. Now, the correct value of multi-picker fields is displayed on the article page on page refresh.
Previously, Alation Restore would fail when the recovery config file was not present. This issue is now fixed.
Alation has discovered a serious updater issue in V R1 builds below 5.0.12. In case /opt or /opt/alation were symlinks, the updater could potentially remove the dataset. This problem has been fixed. All upgrades to V R1 must only use builds 5.0.12 and above.
Alation now enforces SAML signature validation to avoid potential privilege escalation attack in SAML authentication.
We used to have an issue when scripts could be injected into certain fields in Alation and then executed when users visited their User Profile page. This issue has been addressed and any injected script execution is no longer possible in Alation.
Previously, if the user drags and drops a file into an article while editing it, the file was temporarily saved outside Alation. Now, these files are stored inside Alation. The size of image inserted in an article should not exceed ALATION_MAX_UPLOADED_ATTACHMENT_FILE_BYTES size. This limitation is enforced now for images inserted into an article using the corresponding widget.