Starting in version 12.4, Cerberus FTP Server Enterprise Edition introduces major improvements to our reporting feature; these include:
- Relative dates in report generation
- Enhanced saved reports management
- Automatic sending of saved reports via Events Scheduler.
This blog entry will go over each of these additions as well as some of the caveats that come with emailed content.
Saving a Report
When you go to Reporting / Generate Report, you’ll see a few new items as shown below in the ‘Updated Generate Report tab’ screenshot. Starting at the top are the Saved Reports. To use those, you need to configure a report first, so we’ll come back to that a bit later.
Below that are the six report types. These each have their own set of parameters. For example, for a Login Report, we can select a time period. For Ranges, you can put in a Date from and a Date to. You can also leave either or both blank to indicate from the beginning and until the end respectively. If you do select a date, it’s a fixed date and will never change. The other option is to select a Search back; for those you can specify the number of hours, days, weeks, months or years and all report generation actions will run from that relative time until now.
The other parameters in the Login Report allow you to focus on a particular user, specify how the report should be ordered and limit the number of results. These can generally be left at their defaults.
Clicking Generate Report will create a report using the parameters you selected. If you’re happy with the report, you can click the “Save This Query” button in the top right or switch back to the Generate Report tab and click “Save Report”. Either way, you’ll come to the Save Report dialog where you provide a description of this report.
Once you’ve saved a report, the Saved Reports dropdown will list reports ordered by Type and then by description as shown below in the ‘Saved Reports dropdown’ screenshot. You can then select a report and click Load Report to recall all the parameters you specified. From there you can quickly regenerate the report by clicking the Generate Report button.
You can also Load an existing report, change parameters and then Save again. If you don’t change the description, the saved report is updated, otherwise a new version is saved.
Finally, if you’re done with a saved report, just select it in the dropdown and click Delete Report; you’ll be prompted to confirm if you really want to permanently remove this Saved Report.
Emailing a Report
Once you have a Saved Report, you can schedule to run and email that report. In Event Manager / Scheduled Tasks, create a new Scheduled Rule. Once you’ve entered a name, you can set a schedule by setting the Start Date and frequency. Finally, create a new Action. Selecting “Email Saved Report” will allow you to select the email server, saved report, to whom it should be sent, as well an optional subject line. An example is shown below in the ‘Email Saved Report Scheduled Task’ screenshot.
Email clients are notoriously finicky about what type of HTML they will display. We have tested reports with a number of the most common email clients, but there are too many to test all of them and there is no one solution that works exactly the same way everywhere.
Generally speaking, email clients don’t appreciate long emails. So if you’re running a report without a limit or using an authentication source with thousands of users, you’re probably going to have issues viewing the email. Depending on the email client, the email may be very slow to render or will clip the content.
For Outlook, HTML emails are rendered using the Word engine and support very limited CSS customization. Considerable effort has been invested in making reports look good in Outlook, but Outlook may still automatically insert links.
Currently Gmail has a hard limit of 102kB that the web client will display; after that you get a message saying “[Message clipped] View entire message.” However, at the current time, the entire message view gets all CSS stripped out of it. We’re continuing to work on this issue, but we’re not entirely sure there is a solution for large reports without some updates by Google to the Gmail web client.
We’ve added a new option to Sync Manager called “Include Saved Reports” as shown below in the ‘Sync Manager Options’ screenshot. Enabling this option will sync all Saved Reports. Note: this option is automatically enabled if you sync Events by enabling “Include Events” as Events may depend on Saved Reports.
These are just some of the new features that are now available in Cerberus FTP Server 12.4 Enterprise edition. To learn more about all of the new features in Cerberus FTP Server 12.4, check out our release notes.
We hope you share our excitement about these new features we are adding to Cerberus. The ability to save reports and email them are some of the most requested features from our customers, and we look forward to hearing how our customers use these features and how any additional improvements would help you with your reporting needs. As always, we would love to hear your feedback.