Meaning of Data Source: SQL Database vs. Data Source, Types, and Examples


Data is the new oil. The amount of data we are generating is growing exponentially, and it’s changing how we do business. Globally, data creation, capture, copying, and consumption are predicted to reach 64.2 zettabytes in 2020. More than 180 zettabytes of data will be generated worldwide over the next five years, according to a study. Data is the new currency — it allows us to produce better products and services, distribute them more effectively and make more intelligent decisions. 

Data can be used to grow your business by understanding your customers better, increasing sales, improving customer service, and creating a more personalized experience for them. It can also be used to reduce costs and improve efficiency by analyzing trends in data patterns. 

The main advantage of using data is that it helps you make better decisions with fewer resources. Data analysis requires less time than traditional methods like surveys, focus groups, or face-to-face interviews because it involves analyzing large amounts of information quickly with sophisticated software tools. It also saves money since you don’t have to pay for survey participants or travel costs for interviews with them (which can be expensive). 

What Is Data Source? 

Let’s discuss “what is Data Sources?” Even the most refined data can serve as a data source if someone else accesses and uses it. Data sources may be the first-place data is born or the first-place physical information is digitized. Data sources may take the form of databases, flat files, scraped web data, live measurements from physical devices, or the countless static or streaming data services available online. 

Data sources examples: Imagine selling products online for a fashion brand. Websites rely on inventory databases to determine whether items are in stock. Customers access the website through a web application that accesses the inventory tables as a data source. 

Understanding what types of data sources exist, how they work, and when they are useful requires an understanding of how the term is used within the familiar database management context. 

A data source provides a way for users and applications to connect with and move data. To ensure data consumers are able to focus on processing and identifying the best ways to use their data, they gather relevant technical information and hide it in one place. 

A user-friendly format will be used here to present connection information. Data sources simplify the process of integrating disparate systems, allowing shareholders to avoid handling and troubleshooting low-level connection information that is complex and difficult to understand. 

Despite being hidden, this connection information can always be accessed when needed. In addition, the information is stored in consistent formats and locations, so migrations or planned system changes can be made more straightforward. 

Datasource Types 

As IoT and big data methodologies continue to contribute to the diversity of data content, format, and locations, it remains possible to categorize the types of data sources as follows: machine data sources and file data sources. 

Both machine and file data sources point to the location of the data and describe similar connection characteristics, but they are accessed, stored, and used differently. 

Machine Data Source 

Using machine data sources, users define the names, the data must reside on the machine ingesting it, and there is no easy way to share it. The DSN is used only as shorthand to invoke the connection or query the data, just like other data sources do. Machine data sources provide all the information needed to connect to the data, including software driver files and driver managers. 

Depending on the machine or application being used, the connection information may be stored in environment variables or a location internally to that machine or application. 

File Data Source 

The connection information for file data sources is contained in a single, shareable computer file (usually with a .dsn extension). Data sources registered with file data systems or users do not have a DSN, so users do not have the option to choose the name they wish to assign to them. Data sources are connected to each file through a connection string. 

A file data source is like any other computer file; it can be edited and copied just like any other. Streamlining data connection processes (by maintaining a shared resource for the source file so that multiple applications and users may use it simultaneously, for example) allows users and systems to share a common connection (by moving the data source between individual machines or servers). 

In addition to ‘shareable’ .dsn files, there are also ‘unshareable’ ones. In contrast to the previous file type, these files exist on a single machine and cannot be copied or moved. Data sources are directly referenced in these files. Unshareable file data sources serve as wrappers for machine data sources, providing a way for applications to access machine data while expecting only files. 

The Working of Data source 

There are many ways to use data sources. A variety of network protocols, including the well-known FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol), may be used to transport data, as well as any number of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) offered by websites, networked applications, and other services. 

Many platforms use FTP addresses to specify where to import data. 

Data sources and their use in applications are now managed using a variety of APIs. Typically, APIs provide more customization and a broader range of access methods, as they are used to interface with data sources programmatically. 

NFS, SOAP, SMB, WebDAV, and REST are other protocols for moving data between sources and destinations. APIs often use these protocols as standalone transfer methods or as fully featured data applications. Any data transfer should take into account the characteristics and security concerns of each. 

How to Get Started With Data Source and Integration? 

The differences in formatting or structure based on the source of data should be addressed once the data reaches its destination, i.e., a cloud data warehouse. Since the cloud connects to so many different data sources, the only way to achieve data integration is by Initializing data connections and abstracting them. 

Data Source  SQL Database 
The data source is the place where your data is stored.  SQL database is the actual database containing the tables and columns of your data. 
A Data source is an abstraction.  SQL database is a concrete implementation. 
A data source is used to access data in any format, including XML, JSON, and even binary formats like images.  A SQL database is one specific implementation of a data source. 
The server manages data sources, so you don’t have to worry about managing them yourself.  SQL databases are stored locally on your computer instead of on a server elsewhere. 



So, now you finally have an idea of what a data source is and what are the major difference between a data source and an SQL database. If you’re willing to dive deep into this field, you are recommended to pursue the  UNext PG Certificate Program in Data Science and Machine Learning.

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