Aster Lens is a new interactive Web application for Aster 5.10.  It allows Users to find, view, and share results from their nPathViz and cFilterViz functions.  It’s a quantum leap forward compared to the old way of visualizing where the answer set would provide you with a URL that you have to Copy/Paste into a Web browser.  This presentation will cover the basics on how to setup, configure and use Aster Lens.

 

Installation

Aster Lens is included in the 5.10 release.    To get started, download the Aster 5.10 Release Notes (Product ID: B700-1003-510K) for software/hardware requirements.  There is also a Webinar ‘Unveiling Aster Lens’ that is now on InfoHub at: http://sharepoint.teradata.com/infohub/aster/default.aspx. Check out these resources before you install.

Although it is recommended to install on the Queen, I installed on one of the Workers without incident.  I manually installed via a BIN file named AsterLensInstaller.bin.  During the initial install process, you will receive the following Welcome screen:

The first paragraph is good advice.  You will need to go  to /opt/AsterLens/asterlens and edit the asterlens.properties file to point to the IP address of the Aster Queen.  In my case, I changed the following line:  aster.host1=100.100.100.100 and typed in the correct IP address of the Queen:  aster.host1=192.168.100.100

 

The install consists of four Steps as follows:

Step 1 of the install gives you the option of installing example Charts in Aster Lens.  It doesn’t cost any extra, so I opted to install these.  Step 2 creates the visualization catalog table.  If you edited your asterlens.properties file correctly, then they should be created without incident.  Step 3 installs the example Charts.  This typically takes the longest amount of time.  Finally Step 4 starts Apache Tomcat.

After the install process, I would recommend reviewing the examples-script.sql file to see how the initial seed tables and Charts are created.  This file is located under /opt/AsterLens/Examples.

 

Navigating the Interface

You logon to Aster Lens via a Web browser.  The URL is: http://<IP-address-where-installed-Lens>/asterlens/portal/login.  The default credentials are admin/admin, but it is recommended you setup a LDAP configuration if possible.  After logon, you’ll see a page similar to below:

 

In the left vertical pane, you have 2 captions: RESULTS and CATEGORIES

RESULTS gives you two options:  RECENT RESULTS and  ALL RESULTS is just that.  It shows you every Chart that exists in the nCluster. 

CATEGORIES are a way to partition your Charts.  Essentially, it’s a landing area for your charts. For example, I could group Charts by Department, Owner, or Function.  By default, the Abandonment Carts Example and Cart Conversion Example are created when you install Aster Lens. 

The right pane displays the existing Charts.  The thumbnail icons are called ‘Cards’ which display a Graphic of the Chart type (Sankey, Chord, Tree, Sigma, or 3rd party).  Optionally, you can go to ‘List View’ which provides an Excel-like interface.  The button bar above the Charts allows you to Filter by time, Sort or Search on tags.  3rd party Charts will have to be downloaded to visualize in their respective open-source applications; more on that later.

Perhaps the most click object in the right-hand pane is the REFRESH button.  As you test Aster Lens by creating new Charts, they won’t be default immediately appear in Aster Lens.  You’ll need to click the REFRESH button to update the cache so you can see your new ‘Card.’

 

Creating new Categories in Aster Lens

New charts are stored under the CATEGORIES header in Aster Lens.   As you noticed in the above graphic, there were 4 Categories to choose.  The first two categories listed were created during the install process, and I manually created the bottom two.  Here’s the code that was run from the install script to create the two hard-coded Categories:

insert into aster_lens_catalog values(1,'aster_lens','cart_abandonment', 'Cart Abandonment Example');

insert into aster_lens_catalog values(2,'aster_lens','sales_completed', 'Cart Conversion Example');

 

Values added are:

 

ID:  Integer value that determines the order of the Category name that is displayed in Aster Lens GUI

Schema: Always ‘aster_lens’

Visualization table: This is where your new Chart will be housed

Category:  This is the name that will display in the Aster Lens GUI

 

I manually created the Marks Examples and cFilterViz Examples categories myself by running the following code:

INSERT into ASTER_LENS_CATALOG values (3, 'aster_lens', 'Webinars', 'Marks Examples');

INSERT into ASTER_LENS_CATALOG values (4, 'aster_lens', 'Marks_Stuff', 'cFilterViz Examples');

 

As shown above, to add new categories, you add a new number (1 and 2 were created for the Abandonment Carts Example and Cart Conversion Example categories so you should start at 3 and increment by 1 for other Categories.   ‘aster_lens’ is the schema.  The third value represents the VISUALIZATION table.  This is where the BLOB (the actual content of the Chart) will be stored.  And the 4th value signifies the Category name that will be displayed under the CATEGORIES header in the GUI.  The integer number you enter in the INSERT statement tells you the order in which it will be displayed.  Hence the ‘Marks Examples’ category is listed 3rd in the Web page. 

 

One note of caution here.  After INSERTing a new Catalog, you may receive an error when opening up the Aster Lens web page afterwards.  I got around this issue by doing a Soft Restart of Aster via the Aster Management Console.

 

When a user creates a new Chart, they have to point to one of the VISUALIZATION tables listed in the ASTER_LENS_CATALOG.  The Visualization table points to the Category that the Chart will be under in the GUI.  So let’s move on to the next section to see how this is accomplished when a User creates a Chart.

 

Creating new Charts

Creating new Charts isn’t that much different than the pre-5.10 days.  All you have to do is add one additional line of code. Here’s how it works:

The very first Chart you create for a new Category, you will have to add a CREATE TABLE clause to your code as follows:

CREATE TABLE Aster_lens.Marks_Stuff distribute by hash(id) as                                                             

(SELECT * from nPathViz on (….

After the 1st chart is defined for a Category, all other Charts for that Category will need nothing more than a simple INSERT clause as shown below:

INSERT into aster_lens.Marks_Stuff select * from nPathViz(on(………

Of course, if you wanted to be use the preexisting Visualization tables that were hard-coded during the install process (‘cart_abandonment’ and ‘sales_completed’), all you would need would be an INSERT clause since these Categories have already been seeded with existing Charts.

What happens if you forget your CREATE TABLE or INSERT clause?  You’ll get something like this:

If Aster Lens is properly configured, you should get the follow Result set:

 

One more thing.  As a best practice going forward, I would recommend naming both the Visualization table and the Category name the same when doing the above INSERTs.  This removes any doubt by the User creating a Chart what the Visualization table name is.  All they would have to do is logon to Aster Lens, and the name of the Category is the name they would use in their INSERT clause during the Chart creation (As the Administrator, I always do the first CREATE TABLE statement for a new Category.  This means anyone else adding a Chart this Category just has to use the INSERT clause)

 

Anatomy of a Chart

When you click on the ‘Card’ thumbnail, the Chart opens to display a 3-paned window as follows:

  1. Title:  From ‘title’ argument in the SQL-MR code
  2. Header:  Various parameters typically sourced from arguments in SQL-MR code
  3. Chart:  Can be one of various chart types

Here is a snippet of the code that created the above Chart:

INSERT into Webinars

select * from nPathViz(on(….

partition by 1 graph_type('chord') frequency_col('freq') path_col('path')

arguments('start_date=09/27/2011', 'end_date=09/28/2011', 'owner=ASTER', 'tags=Breaking Bad')

title('Chord-Channel Surf 20 minutes before Breaking Bad'));

 

 

Three Cool things you can do with Charts

 

1. Creating Multiple Charts with one SQL-statment

 

You can create multiple Charts with one SQL-MR nPathViz statement using the PARTITION BY clause.  As shown by the graphic below, I PARTITION BY store_id.  I have 2 stores in my input table so 2 Charts will be produced in Aster Lens.  By the way, the ACCUMULATE argument in the below code means I want to display the storeid value in Title suffix.

 

 

2. Adding Aggregates in the Header section of the Chart

This functionality allows you to add an Aggregate (ie: Min, Max, Sum, etc) to the Header of the Chart.  It requires an additional ON clause in the SQL-MR code as shown below:

insert into Aggr_cfilter (select * FROM cFilterViz (ON cfilter_output_sales as input partition by storeid ON (select storeid, max(z_score) from cfilter_output_sales group by storeid) as aggregates  partition by storeid score_col('score') item1_col('col1_item1') item2_col('col1_item2')cnt1_col('cnt1') cnt2_col('cnt2')arguments ('start date=04/20/1958', 'owner=Juli Nimitz', 'tags=product')title('Aggr_Store_$$$') subtitle ('To Discover cross sell potential') accumulate('storeid')));

Note that I used a CREATE TABLE statement instead of a INSERT.  This is because Aggregate Charts must have their own Table structure (to hold the additional column value).  In my case, I am aggregating on STORE_ID so want to find the maximum count for each store.  Here’s an example showing the difference between 1 ON clause (non-aggregate chart) and 2 ON clauses (aggregated chart):

 

3. Viewing third-party application Charts

Aster Lens allows for third party visualization applications to display cFilterViz charts.  Aster Lens supports both gexf and graphviz format.  For example, in my SQL-MR code, I would define ‘graph_type=(‘gexf’)’.   To view the Chart, I need to click the DOWNLOAD button so you can select the 3rd party application (in our case, Gephi) so it can be viewed.  Here’s the process:

 

In conclusion

Visualizing your Answer set is a great way to see insights you might have overlooked. It allows you to see ‘the forest through the trees.’  And Aster Lens is the tool that brings Visualization to life.  Consumers can now find, share and search for Charts in a simple GUI interface.  And it enables a central repository for the enterprise to publish and share their Charts as need.  Plus it provides a mechanism to display the Chart and the metadata together (ie: Owner of the Chart, Date chart was run, Start-End dates of the data in the chart, etc.). What’s not to like??

 

 

Discussion
dlabar 5 comments Joined 06/11
04 Oct 2013

Thanks for the introduction, Mark--it looks promising.  How would you compare/contrast Aster with Aster Lens to something like a combination of R, Shiny from RStudio, and D3 (see this for an example of R/Shiny: http://spark.rstudio.com/uafsnap/ak_daily_precipitation/)?

Anubeig 3 comments Joined 12/13
17 Dec 2013

Hi,
 

s@ir@m 2 comments Joined 05/13
26 Dec 2013

what is the main usage of aster ?
diff b/w view point and aster ?
 
Ratnam

gfcandau 5 comments Joined 09/13
1 month ago

Hi,
I am using Teradata Aster Express version 6, and I managed to see as a root both the visualization tables (i.e. cart_abandonment, sales_completed) and the visualization catalog table (i.e. aster_lens_catalog) in the public schema.
Also I've checked that within asterlens.properties the aster.host1 is 192.168.100.100.
The issue I've got is that I am not able to connect to Aster Lens using the browser as I have done with the AMC.
Links I have tried:

  • http://192.168.100.100/asterlens/portal/login
  • http://192.168.100.100:10/asterlens/portal/login

Is there anything else I have to do? Am I doing something wrong? 
Any help would be really appreciated 
 
Thanks in advance
Gonzalo

Teradata_Mark 14 comments Joined 09/10
1 month ago

Maybe the Apache web server has not started for Aster Lens.  From PuTTY, login to the Aster Lens server.  Then navigate to the /opt/AsterLens folder.  Then type:  bash start-asterlens.sh
 
That should do it.  Go back to a web browser and type in the first URL listed above in your comment and it should bring you to the Aster Lens login page.  Note there might be a lag time to startup Apache web server so may have to wait 30 seconds or so before getting the URL to bring up the web page.
Cheers...

gfcandau 5 comments Joined 09/13
1 month ago

Hi

 

Thanks for the quick reply.

 

I've done what you said, below you can see the log:

 

Starting Apache ...

httpd (pid 59176) already running

Starting Tomcat ...

Aster Lens is now running on 'aster-queen'. Point your browser to this host to view Aster Lens

 

Then I go back to the browser and I type the first URL I've got an error:

 

Not Found
The requested URL /asterlens/portal/login was not found on this server.
 
AMC is located in /home/..   and looks like Astelens in in /opt/. Could that be the problem?
 
Thanks
Gonzalo

 

Teradata_Mark 14 comments Joined 09/10
1 month ago

The problem may be that you installed Aster Lens on the Queen.  My understanding is that you can get this to work by editing a few files, but I have never found this documentation stating how to do so.  So I always installed Aster Lens on one of the Workers.  By installing on the Worker, I was able to access Aster Lens with no problems at all

gfcandau 5 comments Joined 09/13
1 month ago

I havent installed anything, I just downloaded Aster VM version 6 (AsterExpress60.7z) and looks like Aster Lens is by default on the Queen node.
Maybe I could try to install it on the Worker, should I first uninstall Aster Lens from the Queen?
 
Thanks
Gonzalo
 

gfcandau 5 comments Joined 09/13
1 month ago

To install Aster Lens on the Worker I'll follow your post but there is something I dont get. You mention that
"The first paragraph is good advice.  You will need to go  to /opt/AsterLens/asterlens and edit the asterlens.properties file to point to the IP address of the Aster Queen.  In my case, I changed the following line:  aster.host1=100.100.100.100 and typed in the correct IP address of the Queen: aster.host1=192.168.100.100"
Even If we are installing Aster Lens on the Worker, do we have to pont to the IP  address of the Aster Queen?
Then on the print screen you attached the URL you are using is 192.168.100.151, What is the reason for that? Shouldnt we use 192.168.100.150?
 
Thanks
Gonzalo
 

Teradata_Mark 14 comments Joined 09/10
1 month ago

Since Aster Lens was installed on the Queen, there is extra work that must be done.  Unfortunately, Aster Express 60 does not appear to be configured correctly. See 5.10 Aster Analytics Foundation User Guide on how to configure Aster Lens when installed on the Queen (http://info.teradata).  Note the directions in the User Guide appear to be for a 2 Worker ncluster whereas the Aster 60 Express is for a 1 Worker cluster so there may be some issues here.
Personally, I would uninstall from the Queen and then install on the Worker.  It's much simpler this way. I also notice they mention in the User Guide that you should not install Aster Lens on the Queen except for demo purposes.  That sounds like good advice.
Regardless of where you install Aster Lens, you always point to the Queen's IP address (in my case, 192.168.100.100) in the asterlens.properties file.

gfcandau 5 comments Joined 09/13
1 month ago

Hi,
Eventually I managed to make Aster Lens works on the Queen node (by default on version 6) using the following URL:
http://192.168.100.100:10/asterlens/portal/welcome
The issue was an error with the browser: Error SSL.
So I included https://192.168.100.100 as a trusted site with the option 'Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone' unticked.
I hope it helps :)
 
Regards and thanks for your support
Gonzalo
 

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