This post helps you with loading your data from Chargebee to MS SQL Server. If you are looking to get analytics-ready data without the manual hassle you can integrate Chargebee to MS SQL Server with RudderStack, so you can focus on what matters, getting value out of your subscription and financial data.
Access your data on Chargebee
The first step in loading data from Chargebee to any kind of data warehouse solution is to access your data and start extracting it.
Chargebee has a well-designed API that can be used to access the platform programmatically. It is built around more than 20 different resources, something that indicates the richness of the platform and the API. These resources include things like Customers and Events. So, in the data, you will find from typical pages that do not change that often like customers, to time series data like events. You need to account for the different data types that are included and design your database schema accordingly.
Chargebee as any other REST API can be accessed over the web with HTTP requests. They also offer and maintain a large number of different SDKs for some of the most popular languages and frameworks.
In addition to the above, the things that you have to keep in mind when dealing with an API like the one Chargebee has, are:
- Rate limits. Every API has some rate limits that you have to respect.
- Authentication. You authenticate on Chargebee using an API key.
- Paging and dealing with a big amount of data. Platforms like Chargebee tend to generate a lot of data, as financial transactions and subscription management involve many different events that can happen. Pulling big data volumes out of an API might be difficult, especially when you consider and respect any rate limits that the API has.
Chargebee is a subscription management and invoicing platform. You can use it to create many different types of subscriptions and scale the infrastructure needed easily. It also connects with a large number of payment gateways, so it also simplifies a lot the process of switching from one payment vendor to the other.
Platforms like Chargebee hold a lot of valuable data about your company, the buying behavior of your customers can be found here and there’s a wealth of data waiting to be analyzed. By using Chargebee’s data you can calculate important KPIs like the churn rate and Lifetime Value of your customers.
Transform and prepare your Chargebee data for MS SQL Server
After you have accessed your data on Chargebee, you will have to transform it based on two main factors,
- The limitations of the database that is going to be used
- The type of analysis that you plan to perform
Each system has specific limitations on the data types and data structures that it supports. If for example, you want to push data into Google BigQuery, then you can send nested data like JSON directly. But when you are dealing with tabular data stores, like Microsoft SQL Server, this is not an option. Instead, you will have to flatten out your data before loading it into the database.
Also, you have to choose the right data types. Again, depending on the system that you will send the data and data types that the API exposes to you, you will have to make the right choices. These choices are important because they can limit the expressivity of your queries and limit your analysts on what they can do directly out of the database.
Chargebee has a very rich data model, where many of the resources that you can access might have to flatten out and be pushed in more than one table. Also, there is a wealth of time series data that is useful in understanding the behavior of your customer.
For the above reasons, you should model your database carefully before moving forward with the loading of data from Chargebee into it.
Load your Chargebee data into Microsoft SQL Server
So, after you have managed to access your data on Chargebee and you have also figured out the structure that data will have on your database, you need to load all data into the database, in our case into a Microsoft SQL Server.
As a feature-rich and mature product, MS SQL Server offers a large and diverse set of methods for loading data in a database. One way of importing data to your database is by using the SQL Server Import and Export Wizard. With it and through a visual interface you will be able to bulk load data from a number of data sources that are supported.
Another way for importing bulk data into an SQL Server, both on Azure and on-premises, is by using the bcp utility. This is a command-line tool that is built specifically for bulk loading and unloading data from an MS SQL database.
Finally and for compatibility reasons, especially if you are managing databases from different vendors, you can BULK INSERT SQL statements.
In a similar way and as it happens with the rest of the databases, you can also use the standard INSERT statements, where you will be adding data row-by-row directly to a table. It is the most basic and straightforward way of adding data into a table but it doesn’t scale very well with larger datasets.
Updating your Chargebee data on MS SQL Server
As you will be generating more data on Chargebee, you will need to update your older data on an MS SQL Server database. This includes new records, together with updates to older records that for any reason have been updated on Chargebee.
You will need to periodically check Chargebee for new data and repeat the process that has been described previously while updating your currently available data if needed. Updating an already existing row on a SQL Server table is achieved by creating UPDATE statements.
Another issue that you need to take care of is the identification and removal of any duplicate records on your database. Either because Chargebee does not have a mechanism to identify new and updated records or because of errors on your data pipelines, duplicate records might be introduced to your database.
In general, ensuring the quality of any data that is inserted in your database is a big and difficult issue and MS SQL Server features like TRANSACTIONS can help tremendously, although they do not solve the problem in the general case.
The best way to load data from Chargebee to MS SQL Server
So far, we just scraped the surface of what you can do with MS SQL Server and how to load data into it. Things can get even more complicated if you want to integrate data coming from different sources.
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