The Cloud: it’s a relatively new way of describing something that’s been around for a while. It sounds rather mystical, but in truth, it’s really just a physical infrastructure of many computers housed in massive warehouses located all over the world. In this age of uninterrupted connectivity, the Cloud holds massive appeal to everyone from grandmothers to multi-national corporations. It’s getting harder and harder to find people who don’t depend on the Cloud for its many services, including software as a service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), and of course, data management and storage. When you think of Cloud services for database administration, Database as a Service (DBaaS) is what tends to comes to mind, but one of the ways that the Cloud has had an enormous impact on our work productivity is in the area of collaboration.
In the Manage your MySQL Data on the Go with Navicat Cloud and iOS article, we saw how mobile apps can connect to the Cloud so that DBAs can perform administrative tasks wherever they may be. In that article, we were introduced to the Navicat Cloud and accompanying iOS app. In today's article, we'll explore some of the possibilities offered by the Cloud using the latest version of Navicat's desktop MySQL administrator: Navicat for MySQL. It, along with all of Navicat's database admin apps, incorporates Navicat Cloud, which offers a central space for DBA team members to collaborate on sharable components including connection settings, queries, and models.
About Navicat Cloud
Navicat Cloud was specifically designed for storing your connection settings, queries, models, and virtual group information as well as sharing them with team members. Storing them in one place allows you to synchronize across all of a team members’ devices. Hence, any changes in the Cloud are instantly reflected in your administration tool in real-time as long as you’re connected to the service.
Cloud Storage has come under fire recently after numerous high profile security breaches. Understandably, this has made company owners squeamish about leaving their data in someone else’s hands. That’s what makes Navicat Cloud a sensible alternative. Since it only stores your connection settings, queries, model files, and virtual groups, your database passwords and data are never stored on Navicat Cloud, so it remains under your own control at all times.
Signing Up for the Cloud Service
Navicat Cloud comes in two flavors: the basic plan is available with all of the Navicat Database Administration products. It allows up to 3 Projects with up to three members each and 150 storage units. The Pro Plan may be purchased from the Navicat Store for $99.00 USD per year or $9.99 per month. It includes 500 Projects at 500 members per project along with 5000 storage units. You can get to the Navicat Store from the Navicat for MySQL application:
1. First, sign in to Navicat Cloud:
2. Choose File > Navicat Cloud… from the main menu.
3. Click Upgrade. A browser will open with Navicat Cloud Portal site.
In the next section we’ll cover how to sign into Navicat Cloud from an application.
Connecting to Navicat Cloud from Navicat Desktop
For those of you who are interested in following along, a trial version of Navicat for MySQL may be downloaded from the Navicat website. The 14-day trial version of the software is identical to the full Enterprise Edition so you can get the full impression of all its features. Moreover, registering with PremiumSoft via the “location 3” links gives you free email support during the trial period.
Navicat for MySQL is available for the Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. For the purposes of this tutorial, instructions and screenshots will pertain to the Windows edition. On your O/S, procedures and appearances may differ slightly. Please refer to the documentation for more specific information.
In the Manage your MySQL Data on the Go with Navicat Cloud and iOS article, we learned how to log into the Navicat Cloud using Navicat Premium Windows Edition. In Navicat for MySQL, the access point for Navicat Cloud is the same: under File > Navicat Cloud… on the main menu.
Before you can use the service, you need to create your Navicat ID and password using the Create Navicat ID link on the Sign In screen. The ID does double duty as both your registered email and ID.
Once submitted, a confirmation email is sent to the email address that you provided. Click the Activate Now link in the email, and you’re ready to login to Navicat Cloud immediately, via the Sign In screen.
Figure 1: Navicat Cloud Sign In Screen
After adding a connection to Navicat Cloud, its connection settings and queries are immediately stored in Navicat Cloud. You can also synchronize model files to Navicat Cloud and create virtual groups in Navicat Cloud. All of the Navicat Cloud objects are located under individual projects. Projects along with their stored objects may be shared with other Navicat Cloud accounts for collaboration.
You will notice the Navicat Cloud objects appear at the Connection pane on the left-hand side of the screen. The Connection pane is divided into two parts: Navicat Cloud and My Connections. Objects under Navicat Cloud are shared between project team members while those under My Connections are accessible by you alone.
Figure 2: Navicat for MySQL
Creating a Shared Project
In Navicat Cloud, a project is a shared workspace where you and your team members collaborate on a project in real-time. There won’t be any objects under the Navicat Cloud Header the first time that you sign into Navicat Cloud. Let’s start by adding a project. To create one:
- Right-click the Navicat Cloud header and select New Project from the popup menu.
- In the New Project dialog, enter the name of your project.
The project will immediately synch with Navicat Cloud.
- Once it appears in the Connection pane, you may create a new connection, new group, or collaborate with others by right-clicking the project and selecting a command from the popup menu.
Creating a New Connection
Every project may contain one or more database connections. For instance, it is not uncommon to have a development, testing, and production database within the same project. The database may be local or hosted on a remote server running on a different platform, including Windows, Mac, Linux or UNIX.
To create a new connection:
- Right-click the project and select New Connection… from the popup menu or choose File > New Connection from the main menu.
- Enter the necessary information in the Connection Properties window.
After you have created a connection, your databases/schemas appear in the Connection pane. If the Show objects in Connection pane option is checked at the Options window, all database/schema objects are also displayed in the pane. To connect to a database/schema, simply double-click it in the pane.
Once a connection has been established, you can edit the connection properties by right-clicking the connection and choosing Edit Connection from the popup menu.
Creating a New Group
Every project has at least one associated member – the project owner - but many have many other members. All members within a project share connection settings, queries, models, and virtual group information. To add members to a project:
- Right-click the project in the Connection pane and choose Collaborate with… from the popup menu.
On the Collaborate with dialog:
- Click the Add Members button to reveal the Add Member(s) textarea.
- Enter each member's Navicat ID, separated by a comma. Note that entering the Enter key automatically inserts a comma.
- Select the member role to apply to the new member(s) from the dropdown list. There are three member roles to choose from:
- Admin: Read Objects, Write Objects and Manage Members
- Member: Read Objects and Write Objects
- Guest: Read Objects
- Click the Add button to append them to your project members.
There is a fourth member type: the project Owner is the person who created the project. This special member type is granted all rights, including Read Objects, Write Objects, Manage Members and Delete Project.
Figure 3: Adding a Member in the Collaborate with Dialog
Once a member has been added, you can always edit member settings - including his/her role - by reopening the Collaborate with dialog. The project owner and Admins get an _X_ button that removes the member from the group. The project owner can remove any member, while an Admin can’t remove the project owner.
Figure 4: Collaborate with Dialog Showing Team Members
With your team members in place, you are ready to collaborate on the project.
Sharing a Connection with your Project Team Members
Usually, the first objects to share with team members are the database connections. A connection can either be created directly for a Navicat Cloud Project or it can be shared from your own stored connections, found under the My Connections heading.
To create a new MySQL connection:
- Right-click the project in the Connection pane and choose New Connection > MySQL… from the popup menu.
- On the MySQL – New Connection dialog, enter the connection information as you normally would and click OK to close the dialog.
The new connection will appear under the project in the Connection pane.
When sharing a connection from your own stored connections with your team members, you have the option of either copying or moving the connection to Navicat Cloud.
To copy a connection:
- Right-click (in Windows) the connection under My Connections in the Connection pane and choose Copy Connection to > from the popup menu and select your project from the list:
Figure 5: Copy Connection to Command
You can also drag a connection to copy it. The plus sign (+) informs you that the connection will be copied.
To move a connection:
- Right-click the connection under My Connections in the Connection pane and choose Move Connection to > from the popup menu and select your project from the list.
You can also copy or move any connection from Navicat Cloud to My Connections by right-clicking the connection in the Connection pane and choosing the corresponding command from the popup menu.
Holding down the Control key while dragging a connection also performs a move action.
Figure 6: Copying a Connection using Drag & Drop
Sharing other Database Objects
In addition to connection settings, Navicat Cloud also enables the sharing of queries, models, and virtual group information using any of the methods described above. Moreover, any of these objects may be removed from Navicat Cloud by simply dragging it over to a database under Navicat Cloud in the Connection pane, or made private by dragging it back to your own connection.
Virtual Groups provide a platform for logical grouping of objects. Each project may contain many connection settings, so you can use Virtual Groups to help associate connections/database objects with the group that uses them, for example, a test connection with a testing group and the production connection with the development group. To create a Virtual Group:
- Right-click (in Windows) the project in the Connection pane and choose New Group from the popup menu.
- The name immediately becomes a textbox so that you may assign a name to the group. Hit the Enter key to accept the group name.
Once you’ve created a group, you may create new connections or copy/move existing connections to it.
*Note that Virtual Groups are available in all editions except iOS.
Navicat Cloud Activity
Whenever a team member performs an action, it’s appended to the Navicat Cloud Activity pane located on the right-had side of the screen. It shows the project members and their actions within Navicat Cloud, much like database auditing. You can limit activities to a specific project by selecting it in the Connection pane. Likewise, you can show activities for a particular Navicat Cloud object by selecting it in the Object List pane. To view or hide the Navicat Cloud Activity pane, choose View > Show Navicat Cloud Activity from the main menu.
Figure 7: The Activity Pane
Sign out Navicat Cloud
When not working on Navicat Cloud, you may log out as follows:
- Right-click Navicat Cloud and choose Close All Connections to close all connections under Navicat Cloud. (If there are no open connections, this command will be greyed out)
- Select File > Navicat Cloud… from the main menu.
On the Navicat Cloud dialog:
- Click your email and choose Sign Out from the popup menu.
In the realm of database administration, the Cloud can offer a lot more than Database as a Service (DBaaS) and storage of large data objects such as blobs. Going forward, one of the primary ways that the Cloud will play an ever-increasing role on our work productivity is in the area of collaboration. The Navicat Cloud service is a perfect example of how the Cloud can be utilized to share database objects such as connection settings, queries, models, and virtual group information with your peers.