The Data-Tier Application Data Portability Overview document provides an overview of data portability scenarios for data export and import between Microsoft SQL Server and a vendor's application by using a data-tier application (DAC) package (a .dacpac file) as a portable artifact.
A data-tier application (DAC) is a self-contained unit of deployment that enables data-tier developers and database administrators (DBAs) to package SQL Server objects, including database objects and instance objects, into a single entity called a DAC package (a .dacpac file), as specified in [MSDN-UNDERDAC]. A .dacpac file consists of a package of XML parts that represents metadata of the data-tier application and SQL Server object schema [MS-DACPAC].
In the data portability scenarios, a vendor is required to provide API or XML transformation methodology to produce or consume the .dacpac file within the vendor's application, unless it is implemented by using the Microsoft DAC API [MSDN-DACAPI].
Figure 1: Conceptual overview of export and import data portability
In the export data scenario in the figure, a vendor implements an application by using the DAC API as specified in [MSDN-DACAPI] to export SQL Server objects to a .dacpac file. The methodology is described in section 2.1.
In the import data scenario, a vendor implements an application by using the DAC API as specified in [MSDN-DACAPI] to import the vendor-produced .dacpac file into SQL Server. This methodology is described in section 2.2.