Data Source

A data source is any database, system of record, or platform that collects and stores data. Data sources can provide information to other software systems to power your business applications, whether internal or external.

What is a data source?

Data sources can be simple like a spreadsheet of records, or complicated like a relational database. Data is stored using various technologies ranging from full encryption to plaintext flat files. At the end of the day, your data sources need to interact nicely with the rest of your software.

How many types of data sources are there?

While there are many different types of databases, Oracle asserts that there are two types of data sources:

Database data sources

Database data sources are the databases that we know (and love). Amazon Web Services, MySQL, MongoDB, and virtually all other data storage platforms are considered to be database data sources. Predictable, we know.

Machine data sources

A machine data source is any logic machine or rig that is ingesting and processing data. This includes distributed processing centers and machine learning servers. In order to connect to a machine data source, users may need to specify server location, driver information, roles and permissions, and so on.

The purpose of a data source

Data sources serve to process and store information that can be used to fulfill a specific purpose. Nearly every online interaction is supplemented by a data source, and information about each of these touchpoints is updated and used in the future.

Examples of data sources

Gusto serves as a repository for employee information including identification, records, financials, and payments. This information is presented to stakeholders, the HR admins, in order to manage every aspect of their human resources roles.

Websites store content, code, graphics, and logic in a database, and don’t actually exist permanently on the web. When users visit a specific URL, the database automatically re-creates the web content as specified in the data source.

E-commerce sites are primarily centered around a robust product database, which keeps track of product information, inventory, descriptions, graphics, and more. When users interact with an online store, the data source populates the web page with pertinent information about the products, like whether or not a particular item is in stock, how much it costs, and which related items users also bought.

On the backend of e-commerce sites, admins can update the database, like to lower the price for a sale or add inventory when new stock arrives. These changes are automatically communicated to any new users accessing the website on the other end.

Internal data sources:

Internal supports the following data sources:

  • AWS Lambda
  • Airtable
  • Amazon Redshift
  • BigQuery
  • Cassandra
  • Cloud Firestore
  • DynamoDB
  • Google Sheets
  • HTTP Data Source
  • Hubspot
  • Maria DB
  • MongoDB
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL
  • S3
  • SQL Server
  • SSH Tunneling
  • Salesforce
  • Snowflake
  • Stripe
  • Zendesk

Once a data source is connected, components and functions are automatically generated from the data to make app-building as streamlined and easy as possible. Of course you can write as much code as you want, but most of the tough stuff and custom functionality is already created for you, freeing you up to focus on the bigger picture.

Read more: Connecting Internal to a data source.