Azure Data Catalog is a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering in Azure, part of the Cortana Intelligence Suite, for registering metadata about data sources. Check this post for an overview of Azure Data Catalog key features. (I'm a big fan of what Azure Data Catalog is trying to accomplish.)
There are a couple of particulars about Azure Data Catalog which make it a bit more difficult to set up a Demo/Test/Learning type of environment, including:
- You are required to sign into Azure Data Catalog with an organizational account. Signing in with a Microsoft account (formerly known as a Live account) won't work for Azure Data Catalog authentication, even if that's what you normally use for Azure.
- One Azure Data Catalog may be created per organization. Note this is *not* per Azure subscription - if your account has access to multiple subscriptions, it's still one catalog per organization.
These restrictions are because the intention is for Azure Data Catalog to be an enterprise-wide sole system of registry for enterprise data sources.
Summary: Creating a Demo/Test Environment for Azure Data Catalog
Because of the above two restrictions, we need to create a Demo/Test/Learning sort of environment in a particular way. For the remainder of this post, the objective is to create a Data Catalog outside of your normal organizational Azure environment - i.e., associated to an MSDN account for instance.
With some very helpful advice from Matthew Roche (from the Azure Data Catalog product team at Microsoft), the best method currently to create a Data Catalog test environment is as follows:
- Sign into the Azure portal with a Microsoft account (not with your organizational account). You should be the administrator of this subscription. For instance, my subscription is associated with my MSDN.
- In your Azure Active Directory (AAD), create a new AAD account. This cannot be associated to a Microsoft account; it needs to be a native AAD account. A native AAD account is recognized by the Data Catalog service as an organizational account.
- Allow this new AAD account to be co-administrator of the subscription. This will permit the AAD account to provision the new Azure Data Catalog service.
- Go to the Azure Data Catalog portal at www.azuredatacatalog.com and sign in with the new AAD account. Provision a new Azure Data Catalog from here. You will continue to do all of the work in Azure Data Catalog with this separate AAD ID (and additional AAD IDs if desired).
The objective of this is to leave the Azure Data Catalog in your 'real' organizational Azure subscription free of test or temporary use data sources - i.e., you wouldn't want users in your environment to discover something like an AdventureWorks sample database in the catalog (loophole: if you are paying for the standard version of Azure Data Catalog, rather than the free version, you do get security capabilities and could restrict a data source to just yourself so others can't find it).
Sidenote: One additional important thing to be aware of with Azure Data Catalog is that a data source may be registered in the catalog only once. This is to prevent duplicates which could be really confusing to users of the system.
Below are further details about how to make this approach work.
Details: Creating a Demo/Test Environment for Azure Data Catalog
Step 1: Sign into Azure portal for which you are an administrator.
First, sign into the Azure portal with your Microsoft account (such as firstname.lastname@example.org). As of the time of this writing (April 2016), Azure Active Directory is still managed in the old portal not in the new portal yet. The old portal can be found at https://manage.windowsazure.com/.
For our demo/test purposes, this should not be your organizational account (such as email@example.com). And of course, you need administrative privileges for the Azure subscription.
Step 2: Create a Native Azure Active Directory Account.
Go to the Active Directory menu, then select your default directory: