Stripe to Azure SQL Data Warehouse

This page provides you with instructions on how to extract data from Stripe and load it into Azure SQL Data Warehouse. (If this manual process sounds onerous, check out Stitch, which can do all the heavy lifting for you in just a few clicks.)

What is Stripe?

Stripe is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that lets businesses accept payments online and in mobile apps.

What is Azure SQL Data Warehouse?

Azure SQL Data Warehouse is a cloud-based petabyte-scale columnar database service with controls to manage compute and storage resources independently. It offers encryption of data at rest and dynamic data masking to mask sensitive data on the fly, and it integrates with Azure Active Directory. It can replicate to read-only databases in different geographic regions for load balancing and fault tolerance.

Getting data out of Stripe

You can get data off of Stripe's servers using the Stripe REST API, which exposes information about core resources, payment methods, subscriptions, and more. To get a list of all customers, for instance, you could call GET /v1/customers.

Sample Stripe data

The Stripe API returns JSON-formatted data. Data from a call to retrieve customers might look like this.

{
  "object": "list",
  "url": "/v1/customers",
  "has_more": false,
  "data": [
    {
      "id": "cus_BykTW2x4M6Yrrt",
      "object": "customer",
      "account_balance": 0,
      "created": 1513697132,
      "currency": "usd",
      "default_source": null,
      "delinquent": false,
      "description": null,
      "discount": null,
      "email": null,
      "livemode": false,
      "metadata": {
      },
      "shipping": null,
      "sources": {
        "object": "list",
        "data": [
    
        ],
        "has_more": false,
        "total_count": 0,
        "url": "/v1/customers/cus_BykTW2x4M6Yrrt/sources"
      },
      "subscriptions": {
        "object": "list",
        "data": [
    
        ],
        "has_more": false,
        "total_count": 0,
        "url": "/v1/customers/cus_BykTW2x4M6Yrrt/subscriptions"
      }
    },
    {...},
    {...}
  ]
}

Preparing Stripe data

Now you need to parse the JSON in the API response and map each column to a corresponding field in a table in the destination database. You'll have to know the datatypes for each field. The Stitch Stripe Docs can give you a sense of what datatypes will come through the API.

Loading data into Azure SQL Data Warehouse

SQL Data Warehouse provides a multi-step process for loading data. After extracting the data from its source, you can move it to Azure Blob storage or Azure Data Lake Store. You can then use one of three utilities to load the data:

  • AZCopy uses the public internet.
  • Azure ExpressRoute routes the data through a dedicated private connection to Azure, bypassing the public internet by using a VPN or point-to-point Ethernet network.
  • The Azure Data Factory (ADF) cloud service has a gateway that you can install on your local server, then use to create a pipeline to move data to Azure Storage.

From Azure Storage you can load the data into SQL Data Warehouse staging tables by using Microsoft's PolyBase technology. You can run any transformations you need while the data is in staging, then insert it into production tables. Microsoft offers documentation for the whole process.

Keeping Stripe data up to date

So, now what? You've built a script that pulls data from Stripe and loads it to your destination, but what happens tomorrow when you have hundreds of new transactions?

The key is to build your script in such a way that it can also identify incremental updates to your data. Thankfully, Stripe's API results include fields like "created" that allow you to identify records that are new since your last update (or since the newest record you've copied). Once you've taken new transactions into account, you can set up your script as a cron job or continuous loop to keep pulling down new data as it appears.

Other data warehouse options

Azure SQL Data Warehouse is great, but sometimes you need to optimize for different things when you're choosing a data warehouse. Some folks choose to go with Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, PostgreSQL, Snowflake, or Panoply, which are RDBMSes that use similar SQL syntax. If you're interested in seeing the relevant steps for loading data into one of these platforms, check out To Redshift, To BigQuery, To Postgres, To Snowflake, and To Panoply.

Easier and faster alternatives

If all this sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t be alarmed. If you have all the skills necessary to go through this process, chances are building and maintaining a script like this isn’t a very high-leverage use of your time.

Thankfully, products like Stitch were built to move data from Stripe to Azure SQL Data Warehouse automatically. With just a few clicks, Stitch starts extracting your Stripe data via the API, structuring it in a way that is optimized for analysis, and inserting that data into your Azure SQL Data Warehouse data warehouse.