A few months ago we had an article that talked about using saved connections to make your scripts more secure and easier to setup when they involved database connections. Today I wan to focus more on why you should use them for your data sources too.
If you look at how you normally develop maps and then deploy them, one of the most common setups is doing all the development and testing work on one server and then moving everything to the live server when the testing is finished.
In the past, any of those connections you made in the data source for each map had to be updated individually. Now, we can setup a default connection and then use it on multiple maps so once the move is made to the live server all you need to do is update the saved connections and have the changes roll down to any of the maps that use that connection.
To setup a saved connection go to Setup -> Generic Defaults -> ODBC Data Source (or any of the other sources) in SmartConnect 2011. When the window opens, you can name and setup a connection to any ODBC source - in this case, my sql server.
Once you have the connection setup you can use it in any map data source that is connecting to the same location. In the screenshot below, I am setting up an ODBC data source and choosing the saved connection rather than setting up a new one.
When I later move my maps to a new server, I will go back to the saved connection and update that rather than each map individually which will save a lot of time.