KnowledgeBase - What are Parent-Child profiles and how do they work?

What are Parent-Child profiles and how do they work?

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Webtrends Reporting Center 6.0x

Last modified: 1/1/2011

Use Parent-Child profiles to automate the creation of profiles and reports for multiple domain names contained in one or more log files. This is helpful when an ISP or web hosting service hosts multiple customer sites on their web servers. To a web site visitor, a customer's site can appear as a distinct, standalone domain, but often the web activity data for each customer site is recorded and lumped together in the service provider's main web server log file. If service providers want to offer their customers a set of basic web activity reports with data specific to each customer's site, they need a means of breaking out data by customer. Because service providers also want to reduce management and maintenance of this data splitting process, they want their software to auto-discover and split out these data subsets while parsing the log file. Parent-Child profiles provide this auto-discovery functionality, and also create profiles called Child profiles, for these data subsets. Currently supported criteria for splitting out data subsets are:
  • URL (does not support auto-discovery)
  • Domain Name
  • SmartSource Site ID
  • URL Query Parameter
With the exception of URL, the split criteria you specify is used to auto-discover and automatically create the Child profiles. URL requires you to configure each Child profile, specifying the URL strings to parse for in the log file. Parent-Child profiles work best when the Child profiles do not need very much customization. Because it is mostly an automated process, Parent-Child profiles simplify how service providers can create and administer profiles for multiple users.

After Child profiles are created, either automatically or manually, these Child profiles are used to analyze and report on their associated web activity data. Parent-Child profiles enable administrators to:

  • Improve configuration - Easily create new profiles and reports. For example, when a service provider adds a new customer, a profile will be automatically created for them, and reports based on that profile will be automatically generated without Webtrends Reporting Center or the server needing to be restarted.
  • Improve performance - Splits log file data into subsets of the data, with each data subset being associated with a Child profile. Because Webtrends only analyzes these data subsets instead of the entire log file, each Child profile's data is more quickly analyzed and reported upon. In addition, each Child profile can be individually updated and reconfigured at any time.
  • Streamline reporting - Child reports are smaller than standard reports. This is useful for clients who may not need the full scope of report data that Webtrends can provide.
  • Simplify user interface for users - Users can only read reports. They do not have access to Webtrends Reporting Center or profile configuration.
Parent-Child Terminology

  • Parent profile - This profile automatically creates smaller Child profiles, which point to subsets of the log file data or a limited set of log files (for example, only the log files for a specific customer).
  • Child profile - This is a profile that is usually automatically created by a Parent profile. A Child profile analyzes subsets of a log file or a limited set of log files (for example, only the log file records that relate to a specific customer).
  • Split field - The field in a log file record that contains the string that determines how to split the log file. This is specified when you build a Parent profile. This can be a domain name, URL, SmartSource Site ID, or URL query parameter.
  • Split log file - This is a subset of the log file or set of log files pointed to be the Parent profile. It is created when Webtrends first analyzes the Parent profile.
  • Child profile key - This is the key that file names and profile names are based on for a Child profile. In most cases, this will be the split field.
  • Parent-Child execution - The process of analyzing a Parent profile. It includes the full cycle of splitting the log file data, creating the Child profiles, analyzing the Child profiles, and cleaning up.
Two Types of Parent Profiles:
You can create either Full-featured Analysis or Express Analysis profiles. Both let you split the log file data into Child profile data sets so that you can produce individual reports on each Child profile. The difference is that Full-featured Analysis physically creates individual log files for each Child profiles, and then uniformly applies any standard profile settings, Advanced Features, Filters, Campaigns, etc., to all of its Child profiles. In effect, the Parent profile settings function as a "template" that is applied to the associated Child profiles to customize any of these settings for an individual Child profile. In contrast, Express Analysis does not split a web server log file into smaller files. Instead, it relies on the SmartSource tags embedded in your web site pages to create a database into which Child profile data is aggregated upon analysis. While aggregating this data, SmartSource tags embedded in each page trigger the generation of content groups, filter application, campaign creation, and the application of other standard profile features. The result is that Express Analysis more fully automates profile creation, although individual customers will need to include SmartSource tags in the pages they want to associate with Advanced Features or other settings. Because these profiles differ in how they handle configuring standard profile settings, you will find that when editing an Express Analysis Parent profile, many user interface options will be unavailable or grayed out. Specifically, the following options will be unavailable:
  • Advanced Features
  • Campaigns
  • Custom Reports
  • Filters
  • Home
  • Post-processing
  • Pre-processing
  • Site Configuration
In addition, because Express Analysis does not physically split the log files into smaller logs, there is no need for the Delete Split Logs After Child Analysis Completes option.

How do Parent-Child profiles work?
Parent profiles point to a main log file or files. When Webtrends analyzes Parent profiles, it parses the log file and automatically splits the data into either smaller files (Full-featured Analysis) or places that data in a database (Express Analysis). Webtrends performs the split based on the criterion that you specified - either domain name, URL, SmartSource Site ID, or URL query parameter.

Note: If you selected Full-featured Analysis, and selected URL, you must configure each Child profile manually. Webtrends does not support auto-discovery of Child profiles when URL is the split criterion. Analysis of the Parent profile also results in the creation of a Parent-Child configuration file, the creation of Child profiles for each split out data set (which often equates to a customer's web site), and the analysis of each Child profile. This process is explained in further detail in the following section.
Building the Parent profile:
The Parent profile is built using the same Add New Profile wizard used for standard Webtrends profiles. The settings configured in the Parent profile will be applied to the Child profiles that are created from it.

The Parent-Child configuration file:
When the Parent profile is run, Webtrends parses the log file (or files) specified by the Parent profile, creates the Parent-Child configuration file, and splits the log file data into data subsets for each Child profile. This configuration file, which is a list of Child profiles that Webtrends Reporting Center will be creating, is saved to the following directory. .wtm_wtx/datfiles/ehost The file uses the naming convention of .ini, and is the basis for how Webtrends Reporting Center administers the Parent profile's "children."

Editing the Parent-Child configuration file:
The Parent-Child configuration file controls how a Parent profile executes. For example, you can do the following:
  • Split files by domain name, URL SmartSource Site ID, or URL query parameters.
  • Exclude or specifically include certain records from its analysis based on split criterion strings that you specify. For example, if you want to exclude a specific domain name from analysis, you could specify the domain name.
  • Delete split log files after analysis (Full-featured Analysis only).
  • Create Child profiles without splitting or analyzing the log file data.
  • Specify which character separates multiple entries so Webtrends Reporting Center does not search for one long match criteria string.
Typically, you only have multiple split criteria for one Child profile when using domain as the split criterion. For example, you would want and to be viewed as the same customer site. You would therefore enter these two strings as the match pattern, but then you would need to tell the software what character separated them so that it did not read the match pattern as one long string.

Parent-Child execution:
Webtrends parses the log files specified by the Parent profile and either creates split log files for each Child profile (Full-featured Analysis) or aggregates Child profiles data into a database (Express Analysis) for each Child profile. It also creates user entries in the Parent-Child configuration file, which administrators can modify to update user access to the Child profile reports. After Webtrends has completed creating the Child profiles, it analyzes each one and reports based on these Child profiles are posted to the default directory.

File and Directory Names

File Names:
A Child profile will be given the names .wlp, where parent profile name is the name of the Parent profile file (minus the file extension) and split field value is the string used to split or the name field if there is a [profile] section in the Parent-Child configuration file. Split field value is modified by having spaces and periods converted to underscores.

Parent profile: mspparent.wlp
Split field value:
Child profile name: mspparent_www_webtrends_com.wlp

Following the naming convention of a standard Webtrends profile, the Child profile dictates the name of the report directory, the database directory, and the status log file.

Directory location of split log files (Full-featured Analysis)
The root directory for split log files created with Parent-Child Full-featured Analysis can be specified in either wtm_wtx.ini or the Parent profile.

The key and default directory are as follows:

ehostlogfiledirectory = ./wtm_wtx/datfiles/ehost_logs

Under the root log file directory, subdirectories are created for each Parent profile. Under these Parent profile directories, subdirectories are created for each Child profile. As above, the Child name is based on the split key or the name field if specified in the [profile] section of the Parent-Child configuration file. Periods and spaces in the Child name are converted to underscores.

Parent profile: mspparent.wlp
Split keys:,,,
Root log file directory: ./wtm_wtx/datfiles/ehost_logs

The resulting directories will be created for log files:
./wtm_wtx/datfiles/ehost_logs/mspparent/www_webtrends_com/ ./wtm_wtx/datfiles/ehost_logs/mspparent/www_audittrack_com/ ./wtm_wtx/datfiles/ehost_logs/mspparent/www_webtrendslive_com/ ./wtm_wtx/datfiles/ehost_logs/mspparent/www_egsoftware_com/

Limitations of Parent-Child profiles:
New users are not automatically created. During the profile creation process, blank entries are created in the users section of the configuration file for any profiles that are not already listed in the section. You need to add user names to the configuration file to grant new users access to the reports.
The Parent-Child profiles cannot be used for analyzing data stored in a Webtrends Warehouse database. Unlike standard Webtrends profiles, Parent profiles cannot read from Webtrends Warehouse database data, and cannot save split log files to a Webtrends Warehouse database.
A Child profile will not have server clusters, even if the Parent profiles is configured to use them.
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