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About data and datasets in Rational BI

Data in Rational BI comes in two flavors: The open data that is made available through the platform that is available to everyone and the private data that you upload or set up connections to that is private to your account and subject to the access control policies you set up within your account.

When you create your account, the only data that is available is the open data and you can use it to start getting some experience building reports and exploring the possibilities made available through the platform.

You’ll probably want to bring your own data pretty quickly, though. Working with your own data gives you a better sense of context and the reports and analytics you build will be more relevant and meaningful.

Datasets, schemas and databases

Rational BI accesses data through datasets which are virtual databases with a schema and metadata to describe the data made available through them. Datasets are not themselves physical databases but instead virtual objects that point to the actual data.

For example, a dataset can point to a remote file living on a cloud drive filesystem. When you access data through the dataset, the system will load the data from the file and present you with a virtual database you can work with.

You can also make a dataset that points to a remote database. In that case, the dataset will simply act as a proxy that forwards any queries you make to the real database. The dataset will hold the connection information and enforce security according to the access controls you have put in place through your account configuration.

Dataset types

There are fundamentally four classes of datasets that all work in similar ways but have important distinctions: