Businesses deal with data coming in from several different sources. In most cases, the data from contact forms and other such touchpoints is saved in the form of flat files. While these files lack any inherent structure, they are still used for several different functions and even to import data for data warehousing projects.
Flat files are often used because of their small size and the convenience they offer. That said, when complex queries, enterprise-wide accessibility, and reliability are required then our purpose-built management systems provide a far better option. To create a truly holistic view of your cross-enterprise data, it is often necessary to integrate flat files with these disparate sources and produce far more valuable insights for your decision makers.
With Astera Centerprise’s connectors, flat file integration becomes quick, easy, and hassle-free.
What Is a Flat File?
Flat files can best be described as plain text databases. Each record in a flat file is on a different line, making it easier to maneuver through the data stored on them. The fields in flat files are also clearly separated with delimiters which can be anything from commas to tabs.
Flat files have been used by companies ever since they were first introduced in the 1970s. While these files are devoid of any structure, it is relatively easy to understand the data in these files because it’s all stored in one place in a simple manner.
Flat files are also smaller in size compared to other file formats and can easily be used to ingest data into several different applications.
What Are the Advantages of Using Flat Files?
There are several advantages that flat files offer over relational databases and other file formats. Here are a few of the benefits that make flat files so popular to this day:
- Flat files store all records in one place in an easy-to-understand manner. Integrating flat files with other file formats and databases supports business growth with increased visibility into data and processes.
- Flat files are easy to configure and integrate which makes them a great option for quick data analysis.
- Small businesses can easily use flat files without many additional resources due to their small size which essentially reduces the costs involved in resource management without compromising on performance.
By integrating flat files with other file formats and applications, you can not only reduce project timelines but also expedite your decision-making process with real-time data.
With the help of Astera Centerprise’s flat file connectors, you can extract and load data to flat files and enrich this data according to your business requirements to add value.
Flat File Integration with Astera Centerprise
As an end-to-end data integration solution, Astera Centerprise supports several different file formats. Here are the different types of data that you can integrate using our flat file connectors:
Records in delimited files are separated using a delimiter. This could either be a comma, a tab, or any other delimiter. Separating records in this way makes it easy to store data and it’s also easier to understand what kind of data a file holds at a single glance. These files are often found in the .csv format.
Delimited files are often used to store customer information and other data in bulk.
Fixed Length Files
As the name suggests, all records and fields in these files have a very specific length. These files are easy to parse since data will always be found in the same location.
Fixed length files can be used to store data in which there is no variety in the length of records or fields. For instance, if the Order ID, Order Date, and Shipping Route ID of a company follow a specific template, then this information can be stored in a fixed length file.
Excel files can be used to store anything from sales data to employee information. Excel files are not only simple and convenient but can also be used to store large amounts of data systematically.
Massage and Enrich Your Flat File Data with Astera Centerprise
Integrating your data using Astera Centerprise is very simple. With code-free connectors and transformations, you can extract, enrich, and load without worrying about configuration issues. Astera Centerprise’s additional features such as data profiling and data quality rules also ensure that you always have up-to-date and accurate data for business operations and processes.
Here’s what else you can do with Astera Centerprise:
Automate Data Integration
Astera Centerprise comes with robust automation capabilities minimizing the need for manual intervention in the data integration process.
With Astera Centerprise’s Job Scheduler you no longer need to spend time retrieving and parsing your data from weekly Excel reports. Simply set up a workflow to pick the files from the relevant server, and schedule the operation based on a time or event-based trigger and you can create a completely automated process to consolidate your data.
Add Value to Your Data with Built-in Transformations
Enrich your data with the help of Astera Centerprise’s out-of-the-box transformations. Perform lookups to compare data, get greater insight into your data with data profiles, and apply aggregates and filters to increase the usability of your data.
Astera Centerprise’s transformations also allow you to standardize flat file data to make integration easier and quicker so that you can get analysis-ready, uniform reports whenever you need them.
Load Data to the Destination of Your Choice
With 40+ destinations to choose from, you’ll never run out of choices to integrate your data! Choose from a range of cloud applications, databases, and file formats to expedite your data integration processes and extract more value and insights from your flat file data.
Ready to experience the power of Astera Centerprise first-hand? Schedule a demo today to explore how Astera Centerprise can improve integration project timelines.