PORT 365 is a powerful tool developed
by Agora Consulting Partners. This blog will show you how to schedule downloads
to minimize impact on the site and maximize intelligence for reporting.
One of our Enterprise Apps, the Project
Online Reporting Tool 365 allows you to download all of your Project Online
data into a local database with the same schema as the Reporting database in
2013/2010. This makes accessing your data much easier than trying to write
reports that go against the oData feeds. Now you can use Excel Services, SQL
Server Reporting Services, or whichever Business Intelligence tool you prefer.
In my experience, not having access to their data is the number one reason why
clients will not move to the cloud. PORT 365 eliminates that fear.
PORT works by downloading data from Project Online on a
schedule. Each “scheduled job” has a few parameters listed below:
Start Date and Time
Whether to Create a Snapshot or not
Which data to download
How often to run the job
I realize everyone would like to be constantly downloading
everything all the time but that is just not realistic. When creating your
scheduled jobs you need to consider which data you need and when you need it.
Then you can approach creating your scheduled jobs.
For example, let’s say you have a timesheet report that you
need to run every Monday morning. So that the data is as fresh as possible, it
would probably be best to create a Timesheet scheduled job like the one in the
image below: set to run every Sunday at 10pm.
This is an example of the type of decisions you will have to
make. First, to determine when you need the report in your hands, then second,
to schedule the download of the required data as close to that time as
possible. Would it be nice if you could run the timesheet report with the
latest data at any time? Of course, but given the time it takes to download
data you will have to choose when you need it the most, in this case, Monday
Many organizations have trending reports, which analyze the
status or cost of a given project over time. To create a scheduled job to
satisfy this report, we will need to make use of this checkbox.
Per the usual steps, you need to determine when you need the
report and what your time phase is (by week or by month). Let’s say we want to
see each project’s budget at the end of each month. The correct scheduled job
would be set to run on a Monthly basis on the last day of the month. You could
also have created a Weekly job, however if the report is meant to be a month by
month picture, selecting Weekly would be unnecessary. The data on the report
most be accurate, and impact on the system should be minimized.
It is important to remember the following with scheduled
jobs that snapshot: the download will take up more disk space as the
information will be stored as a “snapshot”, a copy of the data to be used for
historical purposes. Again, it would be great to have a snapshot of all data at
the end of each day, but you have to balance what your reports really need with
the stress on the system.
It would be easy if I could provide a list of jobs that
would work for everybody. There is only one that I can recommend to all
organizations. Other apps in the Enterprise Apps suite (Portfolio, Status
Manager) depend on the data pulled down by PORT 365. To ensure that users are
working with the latest project information, this job will help.
It is an hourly download of the core Project Server objects.
A download like this will take between 5-10 minutes (depending on how many
projects/resources you have) and does not create much stress on the site.
PORT 365 makes it possible to query your data again. By determining
when you need reports and by creating your schedules accordingly, you will not
notice a difference between real-time data and the data present in your report.
When PORT 365 is configured properly, you will forget you even have it.