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Visio Services: Details for Administrators

Visio Services: Details for Administrators

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In previous posts we've introduced Visio Services and shown you how you can publish your Visio diagrams to SharePoint. We've also given you a quick introduction on how to install and configure Visio Services. In this post, we'll cover more details for IT Administrators about running Visio Services in SharePoint 2010. This post contains lots of links to detailed documentation on TechNet as well as other blog posts.

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Overview

Visio Services is implemented as a service application in SharePoint Server 2010. The service allows users to share and view Microsoft Visio Web drawings (*.vdw files). The service also enables viewing of data-connected web drawings, and the underlying data and drawing can be updated from various data sources. Drawings can be embedded in SharePoint pages using the Visio Web Access web part.

Extensibility

There are several ways in which you can build on top of Visio diagrams with Visio Services:

  • Visio web drawings can be used as the basis for visual mash-ups. You can build code free mashups using Web Part Connections , or you can use the JavaScript API to create custom mashups.
  • Visio Services supports OLEDB or ODBC data sources. The driver for the data source must be installed on every application server that is running Visio Services, and it must be a trusted data provider. When using Visio client to create the Web Drawing that contains the data connection to the data source, the machine used must also have the driver installed.
  • You can write custom data providers to connect to any data source. Custom data providers need to be implemented as .NET assemblies that accept connection strings and return data as ADO.NET data sets. Look for a blog post next week with more information about custom data providers!

Service Administration

Because Visio Services is implemented as a service application, managing the service is simple through both SharePoint Central Administration and Windows PowerShell.

For detailed information about common administrative tasks, see the Visio Services Operations Guide.

Visio Services maintains a few performance and caching settings, as well as a list of trusted data providers. For more details, see this article that explains the various service settings.

Connecting to Data

Visio Services supports connecting to various data sources. Administrators need to understand how their organizations will use data with Visio Services and plan appropriately. The Visio Services Planning Guide will help you understand the implications of data connected web drawings.

By default, Visio Services supports connecting to the following data sources:

  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Excel Services (Excel workbooks stored on a SharePoint Server 2010 that is running Excel Services)
  • SharePoint lists
  • OLEDB or ODBC connections
  • Custom Data Providers implemented as .NET Framework assemblies

Administrators have the ability to control what data sources the service is allowed to connect to by managing the Trusted Data Providers.

Connecting a web drawing to SharePoint lists and Excel Services does not require any additional configuration.

To connect web drawings to external data sources (like SQL or an OLEDB data source), the administrator must setup an unattended service account with the Secure Store Service. The unattended account is a low-privilege domain account that is used by Visio Services when connecting to external data sources. The credentials for this account must be stored in a Secure Store target application, and Visio Services must know the name of this target application. For more information about the unattended account and the security implications of connecting to external data, and other authentication methods, see this article on Visio Services security.

Security

Visio Services gives administrators a significant level of fine-grained control for the processing and displaying of Visio Web Drawings and what data sources they can connect to. This article on planning Visio Services security details the security implications that you should consider when deploying Visio Services.

Documentation

The following is a list of resources that are available on TechNet for administrators planning to deploy Visio Services:

The following is a list of posts on this blog that contain more information about Visio Services:

We hope this overview and set of links will make it easy for IT administrators to deploy and use Visio Services. Let us know what you think by commenting on the blog or using Send a Smile.

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