This page provides you with instructions on how to extract data from Zapier and load it into Azure SQL Data Warehouse. (If this manual process sounds onerous, check out Stitch, which can do all the heavy lifting for you in just a few clicks.)
What is Zapier?
Zapier lets non-programmers integrate multiple applications and services to automate repetitive tasks. It uses a graphical web interface – no coding involved.
What is Azure SQL Data Warehouse?
Azure SQL Data Warehouse is a cloud-based petabyte-scale columnar database service with controls to manage compute and storage resources independently. It offers encryption of data at rest and dynamic data masking to mask sensitive data on the fly, and it integrates with Azure Active Directory. It can replicate to read-only databases in different geographic regions for load balancing and fault tolerance.
Getting data out of Zapier
Zapier exposes data through webhooks. You can use Zapier webhooks to push data to a defined HTTP endpoint as events happen. Zapier supports form-encoded, XML, and JSON webhooks.
It's up to you to parse the objects you catch via your webhooks and decide how to load them into your data warehouse.
Loading data into Azure SQL Data Warehouse
SQL Data Warehouse provides a multi-step process for loading data. After extracting the data from its source, you can move it to Azure Blob storage or Azure Data Lake Store. You can then use one of three utilities to load the data:
- AZCopy uses the public internet.
- Azure ExpressRoute routes the data through a dedicated private connection to Azure, bypassing the public internet by using a VPN or point-to-point Ethernet network.
- The Azure Data Factory (ADF) cloud service has a gateway that you can install on your local server, then use to create a pipeline to move data to Azure Storage.
From Azure Storage you can load the data into SQL Data Warehouse staging tables by using Microsoft's PolyBase technology. You can run any transformations you need while the data is in staging, then insert it into production tables. Microsoft offers documentation for the whole process.
Keeping Zapier data up to date
Once you've set up the webhooks you want and have begun collecting data, you can relax – as long as everything continues to work correctly. You'll have to keep an eye out for any changes to Zapier’s webhooks implementation.
Other data warehouse options
Azure SQL Data Warehouse is great, but sometimes you need to optimize for different things when you're choosing a data warehouse. Some folks choose to go with Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, PostgreSQL, Snowflake, or Panoply, which are RDBMSes that use similar SQL syntax. Others choose a data lake, like Amazon S3. If you're interested in seeing the relevant steps for loading data into one of these platforms, check out To Redshift, To BigQuery, To Postgres, To Snowflake, To Panoply, and To S3.
Easier and faster alternatives
If all this sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t be alarmed. If you have all the skills necessary to go through this process, chances are building and maintaining a script like this isn’t a very high-leverage use of your time.
Thankfully, products like Stitch were built to move data from Zapier to Azure SQL Data Warehouse automatically. With just a few clicks, Stitch starts extracting your Zapier data via the API, structuring it in a way that's optimized for analysis, and inserting that data into your Azure SQL Data Warehouse data warehouse.