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How to load data from Enchant to MS SQL Server

Access your data on Enchant

The first step in loading any data from Enchant to any kind of data warehouse solution is to access them and start extracting them.

Enchant offers a REST API built on pragmatic RESTful design principles that you can use to programmatically interact with your account.

From the available endpoints you can retrieve the following information:

  1. Tickets: All user requests are tracked as tickets. Tickets contain one or more messages
  2. Messages: Messages include the replies and notes associated with the tickets
  3. Attachments: Attachments are associated with messages. After uploading an attachment, a message must be created using the attachment id. An attachment can be associated with only one message.
  4. Users: Details about your help desk operators.
  5. Customers: Details about the customers associated with at least one ticket.
  6. Contacts: Email addresses and Twitter accounts are represented as contacts on a customer.

In addition to the above, the things that you have to keep in mind when dealing with the Enchant API, are:

  1. Rate limits. The API is rate limited to 100 credits per minute for an entire help desk, across all endpoints, users, and tokens. A request is typically worth 1 credit.
  2. Authentication. Requests to the Enchant API are authenticated using access tokens.
  3. Pagination. Requests for collections can return between 0 and 100 results. All endpoints are limited to 10 results by default. However, not all endpoints support pagination.

Transform and prepare your Enchant Data for MS SQL Server

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

  1. The limitations of the database that is going to be used
  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.

Of course, when you are dealing with tabular data stores, like Microsoft SQL Server, this is not an option. Instead, you will have to flatten out all data, just as in the case of JSON, 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. Enchant has a very limited set of available data types which means that your work to do these mappings is much easier and straightforward, but nonetheless equally important with any other case of a data source.

Load your Enchant data into Microsoft SQL Server

So, after you have managed to access data on Enchant and you have also figured out the structure that any data will have on your database, you need to load 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 to a database. One way of importing data in 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 of 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 in a table but it doesn’t scale very well with larger datasets.

Updating your Enchant data on MS SQL Server

As you will be generating more data on Enchant, 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 Enchant.

You will need to periodically check Enchant 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 Enchant 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 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 Enchant 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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