Publish Reports with IBM Cloud Object Storage Data in Crystal Reports

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IBM Cloud Object Storage ODBC Driver

The IBM Cloud Object Storage ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live data from IBM Cloud Object Storage, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access IBM Cloud Object Storage data like you would a database - read, write, and update IBM Cloud Object Storage IBMCloudObject, etc. through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



Use the Report Wizard to design a report based on up-to-date IBM Cloud Object Storage data.

Crystal Reports has many options for offloading data processing to remote data; this enables real-time reporting. The CData ODBC Driver for IBM Cloud Object Storage brings this capability to Crystal Reports. This article shows how to create a report on IBM Cloud Object Storage data that refreshes when you run the report.

Connect to IBM Cloud Object Storage Data

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs.

Register a New Instance of Cloud Object Storage

If you do not already have Cloud Object Storage in your IBM Cloud account, follow the procedure below to install an instance of SQL Query in your account:

  1. Log in to your IBM Cloud account.
  2. Navigate to the page, choose a name for your instance and click Create. You will be redirected to the instance of Cloud Object Storage you just created.

Connecting using OAuth Authentication

There are certain connection properties you need to set before you can connect. You can obtain these as follows:

API Key

To connect with IBM Cloud Object Storage, you need an API Key. You can obtain this as follows:

  1. Log in to your IBM Cloud account.
  2. Navigate to the Platform API Keys page.
  3. On the middle-right corner click "Create an IBM Cloud API Key" to create a new API Key.
  4. In the pop-up window, specify the API Key name and click "Create". Note the API Key as you can never access it again from the dashboard.

Cloud Object Storage CRN

If you have multiple accounts, you will need to specify the CloudObjectStorageCRN explicitly. To find the appropriate value, you can:

  • Query the Services view. This will list your IBM Cloud Object Storage instances along with the CRN for each.
  • Locate the CRN directly in IBM Cloud. To do so, navigate to your IBM Cloud Dashboard. In the Resource List, Under Storage, select your Cloud Object Storage resource to get its CRN.

Connecting to Data

You can now set the following to connect to data:

  • InitiateOAuth: Set this to GETANDREFRESH. You can use InitiateOAuth to avoid repeating the OAuth exchange and manually setting the OAuthAccessToken.
  • ApiKey: Set this to your API key which was noted during setup.
  • CloudObjectStorageCRN (Optional): Set this to the cloud object storage CRN you want to work with. While the connector attempts to retrieve this automatically, specifying this explicitly is recommended if you have more than Cloud Object Storage account.

When you connect, the connector completes the OAuth process.

  1. Extracts the access token and authenticates requests.
  2. Saves OAuth values in OAuthSettingsLocation to be persisted across connections.

When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

You can then follow the procedure below to use the Report Wizard to create the IBM Cloud Object Storage connection.

  1. In a new report, click Create New Connection -> ODBC.

  2. In the resulting wizard, click Select Data Source and select the DSN in the Data Source Name menu.

Design a Report

After adding a ODBC connection to IBM Cloud Object Storage, you can then use the Report Wizard to add IBM Cloud Object Storage data to your report.

  1. Click File -> New -> Standard Report.
  2. Expand the ODBC node under Create New Connection and double-click Make a New Connection.
  3. Configure the data source by selecting the tables and fields needed in the report. This example uses the Key and Etag columns from the Objects table.

You can then configure grouping, sorting, and summaries. For example, this article groups on Key and summarizes on Etag. See the following section to use the aggregate and summary to create a chart.

Create a Chart

After selecting a column to group by, the Standard Report Creation Wizard presents the option to create a chart. Follow the steps below to create a chart that aggregates the values in the Key column.

  1. In the Standard Report Creation Wizard, select the Bar Chart option and select the column you grouped by, Key in this example, in the On Change Of menu.
  2. In the Show Summary menu, select the summary you created.
  3. Select filters and a template, as needed, to finish the wizard.

Preview the finished report to view the chart, populated with your data. If you want to filter out null values, use a SelectionFormula.

Working with Remote Data

To ensure that you see updates to volatile data, click File and clear the "Save Data with Report" option. As you interact with the report, for example, drilling down to hidden details, Crystal Reports executes SQL queries to retrieve the data needed to display the report. To reload data you have already retrieved, refresh or rerun the report.

You can offload processing onto the driver by hiding details elements and enabling server-side grouping. To do this, you will need to have selected a column to group on in the report creation wizard.

  1. Click File -> Report Options and select the Perform Grouping On Server option.
  2. Click Report -> Section Expert and select the Details section of your report. Select the Hide (Drill-Down OK) option.

When you preview your report with the hidden details, Crystal Reports executes a GROUP BY query. When you double-click a column in the chart to drill down to details, Crystal Reports executes a SELECT WHERE query that decreases load times by retrieving only the data needed.