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What Is A Data Pipeline?

A data pipeline serves as a processing engine that sends your data through transformative applications, filters, and APIs instantly.

You can think of a data pipeline like a public transportation route. You define where your data jumps on the bus and when it leaves the bus.

A data pipeline ingests a combination of data sources, applies transformation logic (often split into multiple sequential stages) and sends the data to a load destination, like a data warehouse for example.

With the advent of digital marketing and continuous technological advancement in the IT sector – data pipelines have become saviors for collection, conversion, migration, and visualization of complex data.

According to Adobe, just 35% of marketers think their pipeline is efficient. Here at Improvado, we set out to change that.

Improvado is the #1 data pipeline solution for marketers. An ETL tool used to extract, transform and load data from over 150 different marketing platforms into any final destination, such as a BI tool or data warehouse. Learn more here.

The streamlining and concentrated nature of data pipelines allows flexible schemas from static and real-time sources. Ultimately, this flexibility ties back to the capacity of data pipelines to split data into small portions.

The relationship of the range of data and its impact has become more vital to businesses across the Globe. Simultaneously, the understanding of this interconnected bond helps data scientists to sort out latency, bottlenecks, unidentified sources, and duplication issues.

It is true; data pipelines now complement the system network. The more comprehensive data pipeline, the better applicability of network system would be to combine cloud services and hybrid applications for work.

The Rise of Data Pipelines

Moreover, data pipelines have opened new doors to integrate numerous tools and ingest an overwhelming amount of large XML and CSV files. The processing of data in real-time, however, was probably the tipping point for data pipelines.

That tipping point facilitated the need of the hour to move large chunks of data from one place to another without changing the format. As a result, businesses have found newfound freedom to tweak, shift, segment, showcase, or transfer data in a short span of time.

Over the years, the objectivity of how businesses operate has changed significantly. The focus is no longer fixated on gaining profit margins, but how data scientists can present viable solutions that connect with people. Moreover, more importantly, those changes need to be transformative, trackable, and adaptable for changing future dynamics. That said, data pipelines have come a long way from using flat files, database, and data lake to managing services on a serverless platform.

Data Pipeline Infrastructure

The architectural infrastructure of a data pipeline relies on foundation to capture, organize, route, or reroute data to get insightful information.  Here is the thing, there are generally quite a significant number of irrelevant entry points for raw data. In addition, this is where the pipeline infrastructure combines, customizes, automates, visualizes, transforms, and moves data from numerous resources to achieve set goals.

In addition, the architectural infrastructure of a data pipeline complements functionality based on analytics and precise business intelligence.  Data functionality means getting valuable insights into customer behavior, robotic process, automation process, and pattern of customer experience, and the pattern of users’ journey. You learn about the real-time trends and information through business intelligence and analytics via large chunks of data.

Azure-based data pipeline infrasturcture
Azure-based Data Pipeline Infrastructure

Choosing the Right Data Engineering Team

It would be wise to form big data engineering teams that are always busy with the application details. Hire the data engineers that should be able to get the hold of structural data and resolve to troubleshoot problems, understand complex tables, and implement functional data in a timely manner.

Data teams

The Functionality of the Data Pipeline

The functionality of a data pipeline serves the role of collecting information, but technically, the method to store, access, and spread of data can vary depending on the configuration. 

Minimizing the data movement, for instance, is possible through an abstract layer to disperse data without manually moving every single piece of information on the UI. You can create an abstract layer for multiple file systems with the help of Alluxio between storage mechanism and the selected vendor like AWS. 

The functionality of a data pipeline should not rely on the mercy of the vendor’s database system. Moreover, what would be the point of creating error-and layered free infrastructure without flexibility? Keeping that in mind,  your data pipeline should be able to gather complete information in a storage device like AWS to safeguard the future of the data system.

The data pipeline functionality should cater to business analytics instead of building the network entirely on aesthetic choices. The functions of a streaming infrastructure, for example, is quite hard to manage and generally requires the professional experience and strong business to manage complex engineering tasks.

Functionality of data pipeline

You can use a mainstream container service, such as Dockers, for creating data pipelines. You can tweak the functional response of security, check scalability potential, and the improve software code with the help of containers. A common mistake people generally do during the creation of functional response is unevenly performing and distributing operations. The trick is to avoid using the main transformation file in SQL and adapt the CTAS method to set multiple file parameters and operations.

Although databases such as Snowflake and Presto give you built-in SQL access, a large chunk of data inevitably decreases the UI time. Therefore, apply speed-focused algorithms that result in minor output error.

Tools To Build a Data Pipeline

The columnar file system of your data pipeline should be able to store and compress final accumulative data. The data engines increase the usage of such file systems in the UI. Also, to achieve compelling visualization – use iPython or Jupyter as notebooks. You can even create specific parameter based notebook templates to get built-in functions to audit data, highlight graphics, focus relevant plots, or review data altogether.

You can transfer this specific subset of data to a remote location with the help of tools such as  Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Python or Kafka. You do not have to create a finalized version of the code in the first go – initiate with Faker library feature in Python to write and test the code in the data pipeline.

Example of code

What Is The Difference Between Data Pipeline And ETL?

ETL is a common acronym used for Extract, Transform, and Load. The major dissimilarity of ETL is that it focuses entirely on one system to extract, transform, and load data to a particular data warehouse. Alternatively, ETL is just one of the components that fall under the data pipeline.

ETL pipelines move the data in batches to a specified system with regulated intervals. Comparatively, data pipelines have broader applicability to transform and process data through streaming or real-time. 

Data pipelines do not necessarily have to load data to a data warehouse but can choose to load to a selective target such as Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Service) bucket or even hook it up to a completely different system.

Available Data Pipeline Solutions

The nature and functional response of data pipeline would be different from cloud tools to migrate data to outright use it for a real-time solution.

  • Cloud-based

The cost-benefit ratio of using cloud-based tools to amalgamate data is quite high. Businesses have learned to maintain up-to-date infrastructure with minimal usage of means and resources. However, the process for choosing vendors to manage data pipelines is another matter entirely.  

  • Open Source

The term carries a strong connotation for data scientists who want transparent data pipelines that do not swindle the usage of data on behalf of the customers. Open Source tools are ideal for small business owners who want lower cost and over-reliance on vendors. However, the usefulness of such tools requires expertise and functional understanding to tailor and modify user experience.

  • Real-Time Processing

The implementation of real-time processing is beneficial for businesses that want to process data from a regulated streaming source. Furthermore, the financial market and mobile devices are compatible to have real-time processing. That said, real-time processing requires minimal human interaction, auto-scaling options, and possible partitions.

  • The Use of Batch

Batch processing allows businesses to easily transport a large amount of data at interval without having to necessitate real-time visibility. The process makes it easier for analysts who combine a multitude of marketing data to form a decisive result or pattern.


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The Automated Process

Well, it discards the need to repeat to define, extract, load, and transform data. Remember, it is only at the inception of the program that you have to input manual work and the system will automate it for the entire process. The automation process, however, requires a translator who can align and tailor the needs of the business.

Data pipeline automation

In addition, the reproducibility factor makes it convenient for users to access the data with plausible security. However, you need to understand that the entire process is susceptible to debugging. This inevitably leads to changing analysis and data mergers.

The completion of high-valued projects entirely depends on the level of expertise, and training of hired data scientist. For some businesses, however, the addition of hardware and people might not be a feasible option. Nonetheless, for the sake of maintenance and improvement of the data pipeline – you eventually need to entail the services of a professional team.

  • Contemporary Integrations

The infrastructural and functional options are endless when it comes to building data pipelines, aligned and integrated with Google AdWords, Analytics, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn, and YouTube integration. This means you can access your UI to develop data pipelines without having to rely on code.

Boring Free Stock Photo with numbers

Digital marketing may have revolutionized in the past few years, but so has the role of data scientists, who have now made it possible to combine large chunks of your data sets from AdWords data and Streaming content onto a chosen cloud platform in a matter of minutes.

You can ingest and process data sets to set real-time analytics across the globe, and personalize stream across different projects as well. Similarly, you can relink the data operations and check per-second billing.  However, it also offers a seamless workflow station environment across on-premises and public clouds. Ultimately, this makes the visual exploration, connectivity to IoT, and cleaning of the structured data quite easier. 

Suitability & Scalability of Data Pipelines

The scalability of a data pipeline should be able to score billions of data points and considerably more product scales. In addition, the trick is to store data on the system in a way that makes availability of querying easier. 

What’s more, is that a well-designed data pipeline focuses on the suitability and scalability options together. The higher the scalability ratio, the more it would be compatible. Similarly,  use reruns as an effective contingency technique for a possible restatement of data. You can check the checkpoint changing the source code to resume the process. It practically allows you to go through ETL pipelines that use meta-data for each entry point to check status, gathered data, and overall transformation.

The cluster design of the data pipeline should be scaled on each load instead of a fixed 24/7 mechanism. AWS EMR (Elastic MapReduce), for instance, is a perfect example of auto-scaling where clusters receive a trigger to go through a specific ETL sequence and discard after completion. It is important to note that you can always scale up or down depending on the nature of data.

Moreover, your user interface (UI) should be clear enough to monitor complete data reruns and batch status. Additionally, you can place query (UI) over the primary data model to analyze and review the condition of the data pipeline. The apache Airflow, for example, is a viable option to monitor status, but it includes the usage of dev-op and writing code. In addition, this is where the use of architectural metadata becomes essential to monitor, check validations, and bring down the complicated productivity data issues.

Fields names and categories

How Data Pipelines Can Influence Decision-Making

Today, the decision-makers are rightfully dependent on the data-oriented culture. Moreover, the combination of multiple analytic data into a simplified dashboard is certainly one of the major reasons for its success. 

The confined structured data helps business owners and entrepreneurs to make optimal decisions based on gathered evidence. However, this pattern holds true for managers who used to make informed decisions upon simple modeling designs and descriptive statistical data.

Nice Free Stock Photo

The usage and diversification of metrics for different businesses also depend on the communication between employees and managers. The same rules apply when it comes to employees and managers’ ability to discard duplications and stocking to the right objectives. 

Though the fact remains – the risk assessment and bold decision-making have always been the need of the hour to compete in the market. In addition, the freedom to access large chunks of data and visualize remain part of the solution.

That said, this data-centric culture involving statistical figures, averages, distribution lines, and medians maybe hard to comprehend for a number of people. And that’s the reason the dump file does not overburden individuals who want to make quick and robust decisions based on available analytical data.

 As the growing data culture seems to expand – the calculative decision-making has become more reliant on the trust poured in the collection of data.

Data Pipelines and the Role of Visual Aesthetics

Apart from the functional process, pipelines should form the best visual analysis a human mind can perceive by accurate paralleling, viewing, and designing. A layered visualization complements as the end-goal of the entire process. And that is in favor of not just users, but marketers as well.

The same rules apply to the vitality of communication. What would be the point of making a complicated neural network and highlighting trending models if it can’t invoke basic undertone patterns and value recognition among people?

Sure, businesses can execute straightforward metrics or go with the advance analytical models; so long as the people can navigate and understand the interface for thorough analysis. Similarly, the gap between each coded pipeline should be narrow so that users can make certain modifications as per their own requirements.

Data Pipeline key functions

You may want to notice that there is no definite visual aesthetic style. It needs to undergo changes, revisions, rediscovery, and linking to new captivating trends. This correlation is almost palpable to coders who understand how just monitoring can make all the difference.

Benefits of Data Pipeline

  • Simple and Effective

Although data pipelines may have the complex infrastructure and functioning process, its use and navigation is quite straightforward. Similarly, the learning process of building a data pipeline is achievable through the common practice of (JVM) Java Virtual Machine language to read and write the files. 

The underlying purpose of the decorator pattern, on the other hand, is to turn a simplified operation into a robust one. Programmers appreciate more than anyone the ease of access when it comes to piping data.

  • Compatibility with Apps

The embedded nature of the data pipelines makes it easier to use for customers and digital marketing strategists alike. Its fitting compatibility prevents the need to install, have config files, or rely on a server. You can have complete data access by just embedding the small size of the data pipeline into an app.

  • Flexibility of Metadata

The separation of custom fields and records is one of the efficient traits of the data pipeline. The metadata allows you to track down the source of the data, creator, tags, instructions, new changes, and visibility options.

  • Built-In Components

Although the customizable option is accessible to you, data pipelines have built-in components that allow you to get your data in or out of the pipeline. After built-in activation, you can start working with the data through stream operators. 

Another Stock Photo
  • Quick Real-Time Data Segmentation

Whether your data is stored in the form of excel file, at an online social media platform, or on a remote database – data pipelines can break down the data small chunks that are fundamentally part of the bigger streaming workflow.

And real-time functioning does not need an extraneous amount of time to process your data. Consequently, this leaves a wiggle room for you to process and infer data at hand more easily.

  • In-memory Processing

With the availability of data pipelines,  you don’t need to store or save new changes in the data in a file, disk, or random database. Pipelines exert in-memory function that makes the accessibility of data quicker than storing it in a disk.

The Age of Big Data

The use of the term ‘big data’ is often misused. It is more of a broader term that relates to what has transpired in the last couple of years in the analytical world. But the purpose of big data integration tools is largely to gather events and a multitude of sources to create a comprehensive dashboard. Now, remember, you can assemble, duplicate, cleanse, transform and regenerate the available data to have smooth navigational functionality with these data analysis software tools.


Also, the majority of the available tools can communicate with large files, databases, numerous mobile devices, IoTs, streaming services, and APIs.  Subsequently, this communication process creates a record in the cloud storage or on-premises’ software. SaaS ETL tools such as snowplow analytics, stitch data, or five tran, for example,  comes in with added drivers and plug-ins to make integration as smooth as possible.

That said, decision-makers have come to realize that these tools are merely means to an end. They serve the goal of retrieving and storing unstructured data. Businesses, on the other hand, have started to understand that data pipelines may have opened new doors to assemble analytical data, but the responsibility of making logical decisions still rests on them.

Final Thoughts

The technological superiority of data pipelines will continue to rise to accommodate larger data segments with transformational ability. That said, the futuristic trend of the data pipelines is almost as vital as it was a decade ago. A new process for a well-monitored data pipeline is always on the horizon. And this need to achieve impeccable design, compliance, performance efficiency, higher scalability, and attractive design is certainly on the move towards improvement. 

Improvado is the #1 data pipeline solution for marketers. An ETL tool used to extract, transform and load data from over 150 different marketing platforms into any final destination, such as a BI tool or data warehouse.

Frequently Asked Question

What is a data pipeline?

A data pipeline is an automated system designed to efficiently gather, clean, transform, and route data from various sources to a centralized storage or analysis tool. It enables marketers to integrate data from platforms like social media, ad platforms, CRM systems, and websites, ensuring that the data is consistent, up-to-date, and ready for analysis to inform strategy and decision-making.

What is an ETL pipeline?

An ETL pipeline involves extracting data from various marketing channels and platforms, transforming this data into a consistent format for analysis, and loading it into a central repository or database. An ETL data pipeline enables marketers to aggregate and analyze data from disparate sources to gain insights into customer behavior, campaign performance, and overall marketing effectiveness.

What does it mean to build a data pipeline?

Building a data pipeline involves creating an automated process to systematically collect, process, and store marketing data from various sources. This includes setting up the infrastructure to extract data from digital advertising platforms, social media, CRM systems, and other marketing tools, transforming the data into a usable format, and then loading it into a database or data warehouse for analysis and decision-making. The goal is to provide a reliable, scalable, and efficient way to consolidate marketing data for insights and reporting. An alternative to building a data pipeline in-house is to integrate marketing analytics and data management tools like Improvado that automate the entire process, allowing brands to focus on the most important tasks.

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