With Portable, integrate Samsara data with your Redshift warehouse in minutes. Access your fleet management solution data from Redshift without having to manage cumbersome ETL scripts.
The Two Paths to Connect Samsara to Amazon Redshift
There are two ways to sync data from Samsara into your data warehouse for analytics.
Method 1: Manually Developing a Custom Data Pipeline Yourself
Write code from scratch or use an open-source framework to build an integration between Samsara and Redshift.
Method 2: Automating the ETL Process with a No-Code Solution
Leverage a pre-built connector from a cloud-hosted solution like Portable.
How to Create Value with Samsara Data
Teams connect Samsara to their data warehouse to build dashboards and generate value for their business. Let’s dig into the capabilities Samsara exposes via their API, outline insights you can build with the data, and summarize the most common analytics environments that teams are using to process their Samsara data.
Extract: What Data Can You Extract from the Samsara API?
Samsara is a fleet management solution used for GPS tracking, trailer tracking, dashboard cameras, routing and dispatch, reefer monitoring and more.
To help clients power downstream analytics, Samsara offers an application programming interface (API) for clients to extract data on business entities. Here are a few example entities you can extract from the API:
You can visit the Samsara API Documentation to explore the entire catalog of available API resources and the complete schema definition for each.
As you think about the data you will need for analytics, don’t forget that Portable offers no-code integrations to other similar applications.
Regardless of the SaaS solution you use, it’s important to find a fleet management solution with robust data available for analytics.
Load: Which Destinations Are Best for Your Samsara ETL Pipeline?
To turn raw data from Samsara into dashboards, most companies centralize information into a data warehouse or data lake. For Portable clients, the most common ETL pipelines are:
- Samsara to Snowflake Integration
- Samsara to Google BigQuery Integration
- Samsara to Amazon Redshift Integration
- Samsara to PostgreSQL Integration
Once you have a destination to load the data, it’s common to combine Samsara data with information from other enterprise applications like Jira, Mailchimp, HubSpot, Zendesk, and Klaviyo.
From there, you can build cross-functional dashboards in a visualization tool like Power BI, Tableau, Looker, or Retool.
Develop: Which Dashboards Should You Build with Samsara Data?
Now that you have identified the data you want to extract, the next step is to plan out the dashboards you can build with the data.
As a process, you want to consume raw data, overlay SQL logic, and build a dashboard to either 1) increase revenue or 2) decrease costs.
Replicating Samsara data into your cloud data warehouse can unlock a wide array of opportunities to power analytics, automate workflows, and develop products. The use cases are endless.
Now that we have a clear sense of the insights we can create, let’s compare the process of developing a custom Samsara integration with the benefits of using a no-code ETL solution like Portable.
Method 1: Building a Custom Samsara ETL Pipeline
To build your own Samsara integration, there are three steps:
- Navigate the Samsara API documentation
- Make your first API request
- Turn an API request into a complete data pipeline
Let’s walk through the process in more detail.
How to Interpret Samsara’s API Documentation
When reading API documentation, there are a handful of key concepts to consider.
There are many common authentication mechanisms. OAuth 2.0 (Auth Code and Client Credentials), API Keys, JWT Tokens, Personal Access Tokens, Basic Authentication, etc. For Samsara, it’s important to identify the authentication mechanism and how best to incorporate the necessary credentials into your API requests.
To make a call to the Samsara REST API, you need an API token. There are two types of API authentication mechanisms that will provision an API token for you: Bearer API Tokens and OAuth 2.0
It’s important to identify the Samsara API endpoints you want to use for analytics. Most APIs offer a combination of GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE request methods; however, for analytics, GET requests are typically the most useful. At times, POST requests can be used to extract data as well.
For Samsara, the telematics endpoint is a great place to get started.
For each API endpoint you would like to use for analytics, you need to understand the method (GET, POST, PUT, or DELETE) and the URL, but there are other considerations to take into account as well. You should look out for pagination mechanics, query parameters, and parameters that are added to the request path.
Endpoints that GET a list of objects are paginated. This means that every time you make a request, you'll receive one 'page' of results and an endCursor to retrieve the next page
Some API endpoints require that the URL route contain unique identifiers from a prior API response.
For instance, you may require an id returned from another API in order to obtain specific route information.
How Do You Call the Samsara API? (Tutorial)
- Follow the instructions above to read the Samsara API documentation
- Identify and collect your credentials for authentication
- Pick the API resource you want to pull data from
- Configure the necessary parameters, method, and URL to make your first request (e.g. with curl or Postman)
- Add your credentials and make your first API call . Here is an example request using curl (without real credentials):
curl --request GET 'https://api.samsara.com/fleet/vehicles/stats/history' -d types='gps,engineStates,obdOdometerMeters' --header 'Authorization: Bearer TOKEN' -G
How Do You Maintain a Custom Samsara to Redshift ETL Pipeline?
Making a call to the Samsara API is just the beginning of maintaining a complete custom ETL pipeline.
Here is a getting-started guide to building a production-grade pipeline for Samsara:
- For each API endpoint, define schemas (which fields exist and the type for each)
- Process the API response and parse the data (typically parsing JSON or XML)
- Handle and replicate nested objects and custom fields
- Identify which Samsara fields are primary keys and which keys are required vs. optional
- Version control your changes in a git-based workflow (using GitHub, GitLab, etc.)
- Handle code dependencies in your toolchain and the upgrades that come with each
- Monitor the health of the upstream API, and —when things go wrong— troubleshoot via the status page, reach out to support, and open tickets
- Handle error codes (HTTP error codes like 400s, 500s, etc.)
- Manage and respect rate limits imposed by the server
We won’t go into detail on all of the items above, but rate limits are a great example of the complexity found in a production-grade data pipeline.
In other words, a single API token may only make 150 requests per second. An organization may have multiple API tokens, but an organization may only make 200 requests per second total.
If you don’t respect rate limits, and if you can’t handle server responses (like 429 errors with a Retry-After header), your pipeline can break, and analytics can become out-of-date.
What Are the Drawbacks of Building the Samsara ETL Pipeline Yourself?
You can probably tell at this point that there is a lot of work that goes into building and maintaining an ETL pipeline from Samsara to your data warehouse.
If you want less development work, faster insights, and no ongoing responsibilities, you should consider a cloud-hosted ETL solution.
Let’s walk through the setup process for a no-code ETL solution and its benefits.
Method 2: Using a No-Code Samsara ETL Solution
No-code ETL solutions are simple. Vendors specialize in building and maintaining data pipelines on your behalf. Instead of starting from scratch for each integration. Companies like Portable create connector templates that can be leveraged by hundreds or thousands of clients.
Step-By-Step Tutorial for Configuring Your Samsara ETL Pipeline
Off-the-shelf ETL tools offer a no-code setup process. Here are the instructions to connect Samsara to your cloud data warehouse with Portable.
- Create an account (no credit card required)
- Add a source —search for and select Samsara
- Authenticate with Samsara using the instructions in the Portable console
- Select Redshift and authenticate
- Set up a flow connecting Samsara to your analytics environment
- Run your flow to replicate data from Samsara to your warehouse
- Use the dropdown to set your data flow to run on a cadence
What Are the Benefits of Using Portable for Samsara ETL?
Start moving Samsara data in minutes. Save yourself the headaches of reading API documentation, writing code, and worrying about maintenance. Leave the hassle to us.
Easy to Understand Pricing
With predictable, fixed-cost pricing per data flow, you know exactly how much your Samsara integration will cost every month.
Fast Development Speeds
Access lightning-fast connector development. Portable can build new integrations on-demand in hours or days.
APIs change. Schemas evolve. Samsara will have maintenance issues and errors. With Portable, we will do everything in our power to make your life easier.
Unlimited Data Volumes
You can move as much data from Samsara to Amazon Redshift as you want without worrying about usage credits or overages. Instead of analyzing your ETL costs, you should be analyzing your data.
Free to Get Started
Sign up and get started for free. You don’t need a credit card to manually trigger a data sync, so you can try all of our connectors before paying a dime.