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Integrate CSV Data into Automated Tasks with Microsoft Flow

Use the CData Cloud Hub to create a virtual SQL Server database for CSV data and integrate live CSV data into your Microsoft Flow tasks.

Microsoft Flow is an online workflow service that automates events (known as workflows) across the most common apps and services. When paired with the CData Cloud Hub, you get instant, cloud-to-cloud access to CSV data for visualizations, dashboards, and more. This article shows how to connect to the Cloud Hub from Microsoft Flow and integrate live CSV data into your workflows and tasks.

The CData Cloud Hub provides a pure SQL, cloud-to-cloud interface for CSV, allowing you to easily integrate with live CSV data in Microsoft Flow — without replicating the data. The CData Cloud Hub looks exactly like a SQL Server database to Microsoft Flow and uses optimized data processing out of the box to push all supported SQL operations (filters, JOINs, etc) directly to CSV, leveraging server-side processing to quickly return CSV data.

Create a Virtual SQL Database for CSV Data

CData Cloud Hub uses a straightforward, point-and-click interface to connect to data sources and generate APIs.

  1. Login to Cloud Hub and click Databases.
  2. Select "CSV" from Available Data Sources.
  3. Enter the necessary authentication properties to connect to CSV.

    The DataSource property must be set to a valid local folder name.

    Also, specify the IncludeFiles property to work with text files having extensions that differ from .csv, .tab, or .txt. Specify multiple file extensions in a comma-separated list. You can also set Extended Properties compatible with the Microsoft Jet OLE DB 4.0 driver. Alternatively, you can provide the format of text files in a Schema.ini file.

    Set UseRowNumbers to true if you are deleting or updating in CSV. This will create a new column with the name RowNumber which will be used as key for that table.

  4. Click Test Database.
  5. Click Privileges -> Add and add the new user (or an existing user) with the appropriate permissions.

Connecting to the CData Cloud Hub

To use the Cloud Hub to integrate CSV data into your Flow tasks, you need a new SQL Server connection:

  1. Log in to Microsoft Flow
  2. Click Data -> Connections -> New connection
  3. Select SQL Server
  4. In the connection wizard:

    • Choose to connect directly
    • Set SQL server name to the address of your Cloud Hub instance (myinstance.cdatacloud.net)
    • Set SQL database name to the name of the virtual CSV database you created earlier (like csvdb)
    • Set the Username and Password and click Create

Integrating CSV Data into MS Flow Tasks

With the connection to the Cloud Hub configured, you are ready to integrate live CSV data into your Microsoft Flow tasks.

  1. Log in to Microsoft Flow
  2. Click My flows -> New and choose to create the flow from blank or template
  3. Add (or configure) a SQL Server action (like Get rows) and configure the action to connect to your Cloud Hub connection
  4. Select a Table to work with (from the drop-down menu) and configure any advanced options (like filters, orders, etc)
  5. Configure any actions to follow and test, then save the flow

SQL Access to CSV Data from Cloud Applications

Now you have a direct connection to live CSV data from Microsoft Flow tasks. You can create more connections and workflows to drive business — all without replicating CSV data.

To get SQL data access to 100+ SaaS, Big Data, and NoSQL sources directly from your cloud applications, see the CData Cloud Hub.