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What is a Flow Data Consumer?

In the section on How does the Flow Information Platform work?, we introduced to the idea of a Flow Data Consumer.  Think of a Data Consumer as a Data Source, but in reverse!

Data Sources are systems from which Flow retrieves/"pulls" data.  Data Consumers are systems to which Flow "pushes" information; these systems "consume" data from Flow.  

Flow has an open architecture, thus allowing external systems access to data, metadata, and any user-entered comments. 

It's important to understand the value of having Flow push data to Data Consumers, as opposed to external systems "pulling" data from Flow.  Adhering to the key concept of the ”Single version of the Truth”, by means of its “Integration Engine”, Flow pushes data to Consumers from the very first time the information is available and every time thereafter that the information is updated

Think of the value in this - you don't need to design/configure your consuming systems to poll Flow for changes in information - rather, Flow will tell your consuming systems as soon as it is aware that information has changed!

Similar to Data Sources, each Data Consumer is a "module" that is provided as part of your Flow installation. 

Data Consumers

By default, a new Flow System will have the following Data Consumers available:

  • Flow Consumer
The ability for "Tier 2" or higher Flow systems to consume KPI and measure data with commentary from a source Flow system.
  • Microsoft SQL Database
Push Flow data, comments, user information, and limit exceptions to a Microsoft SQL Server custom database schema via insert and update queries. This is useful when you have a "staging" database in the Extraction stage of an ETL process into BI (Business Intelligence) and/or Analytics tools.
  • Oracle MySQL Database
Push Flow data, comments, user information, and limit exceptions to an Oracle MySQL custom database schema via insert and update queries.
  • Postgres SQL Database
Push Flow data, comments, user information, and limit exceptions to a Postgres SQL custom database schema via insert and update queries.
  • MQTT Broker
Near-realtime integration: Push KPI data back to near-realtime systems such as SCADAs and HMIs.
   

Adding Data Consumers

Data consumers are configured in the Integration tab of the Flow Config tool.  To configure a new Data Consumer, select the “Data Integration” tab at the bottom of the Information Model on the right-hand side. 

The “Data Integration” panel is split into two sections, Data Sources and Data Consumers.

Then, right-click on "Data Consumers" item and select "New".  

Integration_Tab_-_Focus_on_Data_Consumers.png

Right Click on Data Consumers to add a new Consumer.

Integration_Tab_-_All_Data_Consumers_Listed.png

It will list the current consumers that are available from Flow Software. The configuration and setup of each of these consumers is discussed in the following articles.

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