Mastering the right ETL development tool is a game-changer for any data engineer. ETL tools help accelerate data pipeline design, reduce manual tasks, and ensure data is consistent and high quality for machine learning algorithms.
We've compiled a list of the top five must-have ETL development tools designed to optimize your data workflows and empower you to unlock valuable insights from your data sources.
Here are the five key takeaways about ETL development tools:
- Using ETL tools in data engineering allows for better machine learning processes and streamlined data analytics.
- When evaluating ETL tools, consider popular features such as integration capabilities, pricing structure, and robust customer support.
- The complexity of tools like Fivetran and Talend can pose challenges for non-technical users, highlighting the importance of accessibility and ease of use in ETL tools.
- Just because a tool has more pre-built connectors doesn't mean that it's a better ETL tool. The best ETL tool for your business will depend on your current and future needs.
- Free trials offer valuable opportunities to test and assess a platform’s functionalities and fit before committing.
Table of Contents
- What Is ETL?
- What Are ETL Development Tools?
- ETL Use Cases for Data Engineering
- What To Look for in an ETL Development Tool
- Top 5 ETL Development Tools
- How To Evaluate ETL Tools
What Is ETL?
ETL stands for Extract, Transform, and Load, which are the three main steps for managing and moving data within a system, typically from multiple sources, into a data warehouse.
ETL is fundamental in data engineering because it facilitates streamlined data management and eliminates common human errors. Data engineers who use ETL processes create more efficient data pipelines to feed their machine-learning algorithm's prediction capabilities.
What Are ETL Development Tools?
ETL development tools are software applications designed to manage the process of extracting, transforming, and loading data from one system to another.
These tools play a critical role in business intelligence, data integration, and data warehousing strategies by helping businesses consolidate data from multiple sources into a unified view for data analysis.
ETL Use Cases for Data Engineering
There are many ways in which ETL tools are used in data engineering. Here are a few of the most popular real-world examples:
- Data warehousing: Through ETL, data is extracted from various sources, transformed into a unified format, and stored in a data warehouse, making data analysis tasks more efficient.
- Data migration: ETL tools facilitate efficient and accurate data transfer between databases and systems with minimal downtime.
- Real-time data processing: ETL tools enable real-time data processing, which is useful for making quick business decisions.
- Data cleaning: Using ETL processes, data is identified, corrected, or replicated to ensure high-quality and accurate data for machine learning algorithms.
- Business intelligence: By integrating data from various sources and loading it into BI tools, ETL tools enable businesses to visualize clean and consistent data in a structured format.
What To Look for in an ETL Development Tool
When evaluating ETL development tools, prioritize your specific requirements and challenges to ensure you choose the tool that aligns with your goals.
Here are some of the most popular factors when deciding on an ETL tool for your business:
- Integration capabilities: Does the tool support seamless connection with various data sources like the databases, APIs, apps, and other software solutions your organization uses?
- Ease of use: How does this tool cater to users of all technical proficiency? Does it have a simple user interface?
- Advanced features: Does the platform support common programming languages like Python, MySQL, and Java?
- Pricing considerations: Is the vendor's pricing aligned with your current and future needs?
- Scalability: How well can the platform scale with your business as you grow and your needs change? Can it support more integrations and data without compromising speed and quality?
- Testimonials and reviews: What are current users of the ETL tool saying about the platform? Are there common themes you can glean through multiple reviews?
Although all ETL tools should meet these fundamental criteria, your specific business needs may require you to consider additional factors.
Top 5 ETL Development Tools
The best ETL tool for you will vary depending on your situation and specific needs. Here are five of the best ETL development tools available today:
Rating: 4.3/5 (G2)
- Scheduling and automation of data pipelines
- 150+ pre-built integrations
- Drag-and-drop interface for building data workflows
- ETL & Reverse ETL
- ELT & CDC
Integrate.io stands out as one of the best cloud-based data integration platforms due to its ability to simplify the creation and management of data pipelines without sacrificing functionality or data quality.
Featuring a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface, Integrate.io ranks as one of the most accessible ETL tools available, enabling everyone from beginners to expert data engineers to become proficient within minutes.
With transparent, flexible pricing per connector, Integrate.io's plans start at $15,000 for the starter package, which includes unlimited platform usage.
Integrate.io is an excellent choice for businesses of any size seeking enterprise-grade ETL capabilities in an uncomplicated format. This platform offers pre-built integrations that effortlessly connect with the most popular SaaS tools, like Snowflake. Due to its user-friendly interface, anyone in your organization can easily create and manage their data pipelines, making Integrate.io a versatile and powerful tool to address any data use cases.
Rating: 4.2/5 (G2)
- Centralized metadata management
- AWS-native and serverless data integration
- Seamless compatibility with AWS products
As a serverless SQL database, AWS Glue from Amazon simplifies data processing tasks for data engineers by facilitating the discovery, cleaning, enrichment, and transfer of data between data warehouses.
AWS Glue eliminates the need for infrastructure and maintenance costs. When setting up a data warehouse, like Amazon Redshift, or data lake, the AWS Glue Catalog is available to help create, monitor, search, and query ETL tasks.
Billing for AWS Glue is based on usage; increased tool utilization results in higher costs. You'll be charged hourly for discovering, processing, and loading data.
A monthly fee does apply to store and access metadata within AWS Glue Catalog. The first million objects stored are free.
AWS Glue is an excellent solution for companies that are existing AWS customers since it works seamlessly across their ecosystem of tools. The tool offers 70 pre-existing data sources to connect to, which may limit functionality if you use multiple applications and don’t have the technical resources to integrate them properly.
Rating: 4.0/5 (G2)
- Open-source platform
- 1,000+ connectors for various data sources
As an open-source ETL solution, Talend provides numerous pre-built connectors and data integration capabilities suitable for on-premises, cloud, or hybrid environments.
Talend’s ETL capabilities make it a good choice for data warehousing, synchronization, migration, and other data management tasks. Due to its open-source nature, Talend is one of the more technical ETL development tools on this list. If you are planning on empowering your non-technical users to create and manage data pipelines, consider a tool that is easier to use.
Talend's Open Studio is available free of charge due to its open-source nature. However, Talend Data Fabric's paid data integration solution's pricing details are private, with some reviewers suggesting the platform may be costly.
Talend is a reliable choice for organizations searching for a robust ETL tool that can integrate with an array of data sources and handle unstructured data. Non-technical users may have challenges using this application due to its complexity, which means technical resources are necessary to create and manage data pipelines.
Rating: 4.2/5 (G2)
- Real-time CDC
- 300+ pre-built connectors
With its cloud-based ETL solution, Fivetran includes an extensive range of pre-built data sources and the option to incorporate custom integrations. The platform mainly targets technical users, allowing developers and data engineers to build cloud functions for schema management from sources such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
Fivetran has more than 300 built-in connectors, ensuring seamless data transfer from different sources and datasets and making it a great match for companies using multiple systems in their data management workflows.
Fivetran operates on a consumption-based billing model. The company offers a free plan limited to 500,000 monthly active rows, while their three paid plans include a 14-day free trial.
Although Fivetran is a robust and customizable ETL tool, it focuses on serving a more technical audience, making building data pipelines difficult for non-technical team members. If budget constraints and technical resources aren't an issue, Fivetran is a good choice.
It’s worth noting that the platform does not transform data before sending it to a data warehouse, which could lead to complications in your data workflow processes.
Rating: 4.4/5 (G2)
- Apache Hive for SQL-like data querying and transformation
- Apache Pig for scripting complex data transformations
- Apache Airflow for workflow management
- Apache Spark for handling real-time data efficiently
Apache Hadoop is not traditionally considered an ETL tool in the same way that platforms such as Integrate.io, Talend, or Fivetran are. Instead, it's an open-source software library that provides frameworks for distributed storage and processing of large data sets.
However, Hadoop's ecosystem contains tools used in ETL processes. For example, Apache Pig and Apache Hive are used for data transformation, Apache Airflow for workflow management, and Apache Spark for handling real-time data efficiently.
So, while Hadoop is not specifically an ETL tool, it’s a must-have tool for data engineers, especially when dealing with big data.
Apache Hadoop is open source and available to download at no cost.
Apache Hadoop presents a unique offering for data engineers dealing with big data scenarios. Although not a traditional ETL tool like its counterparts, Hadoop's versatile ecosystem and associated applications adapt to various ETL processes. Data engineers who require a scalable and high-performance framework for managing sizable datasets can benefit from incorporating Hadoop into their toolbox.
How To Evaluate ETL Tools
To ensure you choose the best data integration tool to meet your needs, use the following steps as a starting point:
- Assess your requirements: Consider your current system requirements, your required integrations, and your team's technical expertise when identifying your data integration needs.
- Document your must-have features: Opt for platforms that offer user-friendly interfaces, no-code/low-code capabilities, pre-built connectors with the tools you use today, and automation.
- Review pricing and support: Pick a tool with transparent pricing, considering future needs to the best of your abilities. Make sure the company has detailed documentation, tutorials, and customer support options.
- Shortlist and test: Narrow down your options based on your research and take advantage of each platform's free trial to choose the best tool based on your requirements.
- Select the tool and provide training: Once you’ve selected a platform, provide ongoing training for non-technical users to support them in creating and managing their own data pipelines.
ETL development tools are a powerful addition to any data engineer's toolkit, especially when used to feed machine learning algorithms for data analytics.
Integrate.io: The Ideal ETL Tool for Data Engineers
Integrate.io is a comprehensive ETL development tool that delivers enterprise-level features within an easy-to-use, no-code/low-code data integration platform.
With clear pricing, superior user accessibility, scalability, and robust ETL capabilities, Integrate.io is a must-have tool for data engineers. Try it yourself by signing up for a free 14-day trial or schedule a demo with one of our experts to get the most out of your trial.