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How to import data from an XML file to SQL Server

XML is a structured, platform- and application-independent data storage format that can be used in almost all modern programming languages, with additional parsing components available for older languages. This versatility makes it an ideal choice for storing and transferring data between different servers and applications. Its standardized format, with no proprietary or complex elements, simplifies data exchange and ensures compatibility across a wide range of environments.

In SQL Server, importing data from XML files into databases holds significant importance for multiple reasons:

  • Integrate external data seamlessly with the database
  • Facilitate data transformation, where XML data can be converted into relational data for more efficient querying and reporting
  • Ensure compatibility with external data sources, making it easier to work with data from different systems or platforms
  • Enrich the database with metadata and additional information about the data XML represents
  • Store and analyze complex, nested data structures, such as configuration files or hierarchical data
  • Ensure data interoperability and allow users to store, query, and manipulate XML data efficiently within the database due to SQL Server's native support for XML data types and XML functions

In this article, we'll explore how to import data from an XML file into a SQL Server database using dbForge Data Pump for SQL Server, a powerful SSMS add-in for data migration between systems from/to external data sources, including Excel, CSV, XML, JSON, Text, MS Access, and other data formats:

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