Complete Guide to Data Ingest and Tools

25th August 2022

Businesses now conduct data analytics based on the amount of data from various sources. Therefore, businesses need access to all their data sources for business intelligence (BI)and analytics to make a confident decisions.

An inadequate amount of data available can result in false reports, misleading analytic conclusions, and reserved decision-making. To relate data from multiple sources, data are stored in a common location known as the data warehouse, a file architected for effective reporting.

Data are ingested before it is digested. Therefore, decision-makers like analysts and managers need to understand data ingestion and its related tools and technology as a modern and strategic approach to design the data pipeline to drive business value.

This blog will briefly comprise:

Let’s get started!

What is data ingestion?

Data ingestion is the carriage of data from mixed sources to a common database where it can be analyzed, accessed, and used by the organisation. Sources include spreadsheets, databases, SaaS data, in-house apps, or even information from the internet.

The layer of data ingests the main pillar of any analytics architecture. Analytics systems and downstream reporting rely on accessible and reliable data. 

There are different ways to ingest data, and a particular data ingestion pattern is based on numerous architectures or models.

Types of data ingestion

Data can be processed in real-time or ingested in batches. You can also automate your data ingestion. 

With this, it is possible to include data preparation options. This allows you to better structure and organise your data meaning it can be analysed straight away or later using a business intelligence tool. 

There are three main modes to perform data ingestion: real-time, batches or a blend of both in a setup referred to as lambda architecture. 

Organizations can choose one of these types based on their financial limitations, business goals, and IT infrastructure.

Real-time data ingestion

Real-time data ingestion is transferring and collecting real-time data from source systems using solutions like change data capture (CDC).

CDC continuously review redo logs or transaction and moves altered data without changing the database workload. 

Real-time data ingestion is vital for time-sensitive cases, like power grid monitoring or stock market trading when businesses quickly react to new data. 

In addition, real-time data ingestion is crucial when making immediate operational decisions and acting on new insights.

Related: Guide to data-driven marketing decisions

Batch-based data ingestion

Batch-based data ingestion is the method of gathering and moving data in batches per scheduled intervals. 

The ingestion layer collects data according to simple schedules, trigger actions, or any other logical collection. 

Batch-based ingestion is beneficial when businesses want to collect particular data points on a day-to-day basis or don’t want data for the real-time decision-making process.

Lambda architecture-based data ingestion

Lambda architecture consists of both real-time and batch methods. 

The type of data ingestion comprises speed, batch, and serving layers.

The layers mentioned above index data in batches, while this layer promptly indexes data that is yet to be chosen by serving layers and slower batch. 

This constant hand-off between different layers guarantees that data is accessible for enquiring with low latency.

How data ingestion works

Data ingestion pulls data from where it was originally stored and uploads it into a staging area or destination. 

Simple data ingestion applies one or more enriching filtering data or light transformations before applying it to some message queue, set of destinations, or a data store. 

More compound transformations like shorts join and aggregates for particular analytics, reporting, and applications systems are done with additional pipelines.

With your data sources primed, you can quickly set up a clear big data pipeline like the one below to see how data moves through your business and how it feeds different business applications. 

Image from TechTarget

Data ingestion tools

Data ingestion tools are software that collect and transfer unstructured, semi-structured, and structured data from the source to desired destinations. 

These tools automate all manual and laborious ingestion processes. Data is transferred into a data ingestion pipeline, a sequence of steps that transfers data from one point to another.

Data ingestion tools are equipped with different capabilities and features. To pick the tool that fits your requirements, you’ll have to consider numerous factors and decide accordingly:

Format: Is data coming to the targeted destination semi-structured, unstructured, or structured?

Frequency: Is data chosen to be processed and ingested in batches or in real-time?

Size: What amount of data does any ingestion tool manage?

Privacy: Is there any case-sensitive data that require obfuscation or protection?

Extraction: The tools gather information from various sources, including internet of things devices, applications, and databases.

Volume. These tools are generally used to handle larger datasets, workloads, and scale as the requirements of the business change.

Processing. The tools process data to make it ready for the applications that immediately require it or store it for later use. As mentioned above, data ingestion tool process data in scheduled batches or in real-time.

Data flow visualization and tracking: Ingestion tools usually provide users with a way to analyze the flow of data through a system.

And data ingestion tools are used in different ways. 

For example, businesses move millions of records into Salesforce daily. 

Or they ensure that different applications exchange data regularly. Ingestion tools also bring promotional data to a business intelligence platform for extra analysis.

Benefits of data ingestion

Data ingestion technology provides numerous benefits, allowing teams to handle data efficiently to gain a competitive lead. 

Some of these perks include:

Wrapping up

Hopefully, by now, you have an idea about data ingestion and its effective usage. Moreover, data ingestion tools help businesses make confident decisions and improve business intelligence. 

It decreases the difficulty of delivering data from numerous sources, and lets users work with numerous data schema and types.

An effective data ingestion process provides better insights from data in a well-organized and straightforward method. 

Practices like anticipating difficulties, automation, and self-service data ingestion can enhance the process of making it error-free, seamless, fast, and dynamic.

Jhon Muller

Jhon Muller is passionate about helping readers in all aspects of Information and technology related guides through expert industry coverage. He is an experienced content writer who specializes in tech-related content creation.