Building Valuable Insights With Your Data Using Xplenty and Google
Building Valuable Insights With Your Data
With data delivery, integration is only the beginning of the process. When you want to carry out an integration on the Xplenty platform, we make sure that it is executed perfectly so that you can focus on what matters in your business.
- About the Google Cloud platform from a Google expert.
- How to extract your data from the Google Cloud platform and other SaaS applications to gain key business insights and prepare your data for analytics.
How to fully utilize the Xplenty platform:
- Integrate, analyze and transform your data using the Xplenty platform
- Join disparate data sources for organized data and comprehensive insights
- Customize your pipeline schedules
- and much more!
Q: How do we try out either of these services?
A: Ramon: With our partnership with GCP, it’s a fairly straightforward process. For example, if you want to try out BigQuery or Spanner or Postgres in GCP, we can help spin that up, give you an instance of it.
It’s the same thing with Xplenty - that’s part of the proof of concept in general and making sure that things are a technical fit. We simply spin both environments up at the same time, help connect them in the way that I showed, and you’ll have the full-fledged platform on both sides to try out.
It’s actually a great and beautiful way to test it out and you’ll have full support on our side just to make sure that the data is being queried and populated and consumable for whatever purpose that you may need.
Q: How do you visualize the data itself as you set up the pipelines?
A: One of the beauties of Xplenty is that we take security in high regard - it’s really important to us. We’re not storing any of your data, everything is in memory. The other side of the coin is that, unfortunately, you’re not able to see what happens at each and every step as you create that pipeline, and what happens to that data. However, there are different little workarounds and we are working on a way to allow, at the very least, for you to get a quick sample of that data and to see what it looks like.
At the moment, as you build your pipeline, there are some workarounds that we can show. For example, if we push something into Google Cloud Storage as an intermediary step, you’ll get to see what the data looks like after your applied logic and components and transformations at different points throughout the pipeline.
Saggi: Ramon, I’ll just add that, when you design your data processes, you can definitely see what the input looks like. Also, once you set up your pipeline, you’ll get the data to your destination and then you can just hook up any visualization tool. We just do the pipeline.
Q: Do I get the free Xplenty throughout my free trial?
A: Yes, absolutely. You will have the full power of the platform and the full support of our team. A great way to try this out as well is in conjunction with one of our solutions engineer. They can help you as you dig into the platform and build connections and run packages and learn best practices.
What I’ve learned over time is that, because it’s the full-fledged platform and fully functional, it provides a fantastic basis for an implementation. That means that you’re already ahead of the curve and your time-to-value is already getting shorter and shorter.
A: During the trial, you’re already starting to move data and create pipelines that are of importance to you. Therefore, if and when you make the decision that Xplenty is the right path for you, then everything continues as it was and you have a good foundation for an implementation. Plus you have the full support of our team as if you were a full client already. So you’ll get the full experience right off the bat and we try to set you up for success from the get-go.
Mark: Just to add onto that, BigQuery and GCP have free trial options as well. You get a $300 credit for new users and we have certain free services: you can always load data into BigQuery for free and you can query like a terabyte a month and store 10 gigabytes a month for free. So there are free ways to try both of these services in conjunction.
Ramon: Right. It actually works really nicely to be able to put both of these pieces into play and start to see what a full data architecture looks like. So I’m glad that Mark brought that up because it’s a great way to test both things out and really get a sense of “What would my deployment end up looking like overall?”
Q: If I’m not a technical expert, is Xplenty a good fit for me?
A: Ramon: 100% yes. I am not a technical expert, but I can create these pipelines by pointing and clicking. As long as I have credentials to my databases - to BigQuery, for example - I can start setting up those connection points and start moving data.
The other fact of the matter is that we do have a subset of our clients that really embrace this idea of the delivery platform and uses Xplenty an extension of their team in the sense of ETL. For these clients, we not only deliver, design and scope out pipelines as needed based on the requirements, but also maintain them. So if they need to make a change, they basically tell us, “Hey guys, the data now needs to look like this based on my experience over the last month or so,” and we go in and do it. Or “Hey, I have this new API that I want to connect with, can we connect with it, and if so, can you create a pipeline that will deliver the data in this format?” We’ll go ahead and deliver and then maintain that pipeline as well. So if that API changes, which something like Facebook does very often, it’s our responsibility to do so.
In that sense, especially if you’re not technical, we can really be an extension of your team and help make sure that the real brain of our architecture, which is, let’s say like a BigQuery, is fed the right information in the right format so that it can actually do the analysis and work for you.
Q: What if the integration that I’m looking for isn’t available?
A: 2 things there. The first question would be Does that data source have an API? And if so, is it a REST API or a SOAP API that we can potentially tap into? If it has an API, we can test it together to make sure that we can pull data out of it and understand what kind of response that we’re going to get out of that API. So that’s the easiest path and the high-value add of having that API component as part of the platform already.
If it’s a completely different type of database, we’ll definitely take a look and see if we can scope it out and understand the level of effort that’s necessary for a connection like that to be built. Part of our mission though, in general, is to release new connectors as often as we can. We’re constantly looking at what’s out there, what people are demanding, and adjusting the roadmap accordingly.
Q: Who uses Xplenty?
A: It varies from industry to industry. We touch all industries, and I do not feel that there’s one industry that needs something like Xplenty more than another. As far as users are concerned, I would say right now the biggest pockets of users are in the marketing space. After that, business analysts tend to be another big pocket of users. Then, honestly, IT. We see that a lot where they’re somewhat tasked to figure this stuff out, which can be challenging because people say “I don’t know what DoubleClick does, I don’t know necessarily what the data is going to look like when it comes over, but now that I’m in IT I’ve been asked to figure this out.” And so it can be quite a task and burden on them, and Xplenty does help alleviate that pressure and allow them to scale.
Q: Can you connect to on-premise databases?
A: Yes. The ones that come up the most are things like Oracle or from a legacy standpoint, Teradata and DB2, SFTP comes up as well. But probably the one the comes up the most when it’s on-premise is SQL server. Doing migrations from these on-premise systems is one of the projects that we help out a lot with. People want to move from an on-premise environment to a cloud-based environment on GCP - they want to bridge the intermediary to have both systems and architectures in sync, and then they want to make the cut-off and go completely to the cloud.
So we can help in all those different steps, and it does happen quite often.