Data Sources

Data Sources!
Data Sources!
Data Sources!

Yes, that’s a throwback to one of my favorite tech memes of all time – with Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft at the time.) So, in all its shining glory I present:

Where would we be without the lowly data source? Absolutely Nowhere!

What really is a data source? A data source, according to Techopedia, is the location where data that is being used come from. In other words, there are thousands of different sources for your data:

• Databases (SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, PostGres, Maria, or any of the
other hundreds of NoSQL databases)
• Excel spreadsheets
• Flat files (CSV, Tab-delimited, etc…)
• XML Files
• JSON Files
• Facebook
• Twitter
• MailChimp
• Microsoft Exchange
• Or any of millions of other types

In other words, data sources are pretty much anything that you can get to via electronic means. It can be small or large. It can be one file or thousands of files. For example –

One small file – It was once common practice to have a text file in a secure directory that few users would have access to. In that file would be the password that was needed for a login that could be used for certain processes. This kept everyone from knowing that password (since it was not in a directory that everyone has access to), but it would allow certain users to be able to change the password as needed. That file would then be parsed into the process so that the process could run without having someone to monitor the process.

One large file – At one company I worked for, we received one large XML file each day – I’m talking 800+ GB each day. This file had all of the previous day’s stock trades and stock information. So, we’re talking lots of great information – especially for a company that deals with stocks and trading them! This file was loaded into our main SQL Server via a SSIS process and processed so that all of the stock traders had all of their necessary information for the day.

Thousands of files – I have a process that gathers up approximately 6 files for each stock listed in the major exchanges. It is then picked up via a SSIS process and pushed/transformed into a database for use by the client.

These are just some of the ways that I use data sources. Next time we’ll go into things such as what are not data sources and what can we do with data sources. Join me, won’t you? 😊

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