By Rudderstack Team

How to load data from Chargebee to Redshift

This article takes you through syncing your Chargebee data to Amazon Redshift. If these instructions look cumbersome you can simplify the process of syncing data from Chargebee to Redshift by using RudderStack, where the whole process will be handled by RudderStack and you can focus on what matters, the analysis of your subscription and financial data.

Access your data on Chargebee

The first step in loading your Chargebee data 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 types of data 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 volumes of data out of an API might be difficult, especially when you consider and respect any rate limits that the API has.

About Chargebee

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 data from Chargebee you can calculate important KPIs like the churn rate and Lifetime Value of your customers.

Transform and prepare your Chargebee data

After you have accessed your data on Chargebee, you will have to transform it based on two main factors,

  1. The limitations of the database that the data will be loaded onto
  2. 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 to and the 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.

Transform and prepare your Chargebee data for Amazon Redshift

Amazon Redshift is built around industry-standard SQL with added functionality to manage very large data sets and high-performance analysis. So, in order to load your data into it, you will have to follow its data model which is a typical relational database model. The data you extract from your data source should be mapped into tables and columns. Where you can consider the table as a map to the resource you want to store and columns the attributes of that resource.

Also, each attribute should adhere to the data types that are supported by Redshift.

As your data is probably coming in a representation like JSON that supports a much smaller range of data types you have to be really careful about what data you feed into Redshift and make sure that you have mapped your types into one of the datatypes that are supported by Redshift.

Designing a Schema for Redshift and mapping the data from your data source to it is a process that you should take seriously as it can both affect the performance of your cluster and the questions that you can answer. It’s always a good idea to have in your mind the best practices that Amazon has published regarding the design of a Redshift database. When you have concluded on the design of your database you need to load your data on one of the data sources that are supported as input by Redshift, these are the following:

  1. Amazon S3
  2. Amazon DynamoDB
  3. Amazon Kinesis Firehose

Load your Chargebee data into Amazon Redshift

To upload your data to Amazon S3 you will have to use the AWS REST API, as we see again APIs play an important role in both the extraction but also the loading of data into our data warehouse. The first task that you have to perform is to create a bucket, you do that by executing an HTTP PUT on the Amazon AWS REST API endpoints for S3.

You can do this by using a tool like CURL or Postman. Or use the libraries provided by Amazon for your favorite language. You can find more information by reading the API reference for the Bucket operations on Amazon AWS documentation.

After you have created your bucket you can start sending your data to Amazon S3, using again the same AWS REST API but by using the endpoints for Object operations. As in the Bucket case you can either access the HTTP endpoints directly or use the library of your preference.

Amazon Redshift supports two methods for loading data into it. The first one is by invoking an INSERT command. You can connect to your Amazon Redshift instance with your client, using either a JDBC or ODBC connection and then you perform an INSERT command for your data.

The way you invoke the INSERT command is the same as you would do with any other SQL database, for more information you can check the INSERT examples page on the Amazon Redshift documentation.

Redshift is not designed for INSERT like operations, on the contrary, the most efficient way of loading data into it is by doing bulk uploads using a COPY command.

You can perform a COPY command for data that lives as flat files on S3 or from an Amazon DynamoDB table. When you perform COPY commands, Redshift is able to read multiple files simultaneously and it automatically distributes the workload to the cluster nodes and performs the load in parallel.

The best way to load data from Chargebee to Amazon Redshift and possible alternatives

So far we just scraped the surface of what can be done with Amazon Redshift and how to load data into it. The way to proceed relies heavily on the data you want to load, from which service they are coming from, and the requirements of your use case. Things can get even more complicated if you want to integrate data coming from different sources.

A possible alternative, instead of writing, hosting, and maintaining a flexible data infrastructure, is to use a product like RudderStack that can handle this kind of problem automatically for you.

RudderStack integrates with multiple sources or services like databases, CRM, email campaigns, analytics, and more. Quickly and safely move all your data from Chargebee to Redshift and start generating insights from your data.

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