The modern business landscape is characterized by an abundance of data, and those harnessing this data's power through machine learning stand to gain a competitive advantage.
The ETL process (Extract, Transform, Load) is central to this effort and plays a crucial role in data management, analysis, business intelligence, and data processing.
Raw data is ingested from multiple sources, like data lakes and databases, during the ETL process and reformatted for easier analysis. After the transformation, the converted data is sent to a specified system, such as a data warehouse, where it can be easily reviewed by data analysts.
ETL is crucial in data management, and traditional on-premise ETL tools come with high infrastructure-related costs, maintenance overhead, and limited scalability.
In response to these challenges, the data management industry has shifted toward adopting modern SaaS-based data integration tools.
Five key takeaways about SaaS ETL tools:
- Unlike traditional on-premises ETL tools, cloud-based SaaS ETL solutions provide teams with user-friendly, no-code/low-code interfaces.
- Most SaaS ETL tools reduce the cost of ownership through a subscription-based model. What you pay for varies by platform.
- SaaS ETL tools scale seamlessly to handle larger data management workloads without sacrificing performance.
- Choosing the right SaaS ETL tool requires clearly understanding your business needs and goals.
- The top features of the more popular SaaS ETL tools are ease of use, pre-built connectors, scalability, cost, and level of support.
Table of Contents
- What Is a SaaS ETL Tool?
- Benefits of SaaS ETL Tools
- What to Look for In a SaaS ETL Tool
- Top SaaS ETL Tools
- Getting Started with SaaS ETL Tools
What Is a SaaS ETL Tool?
SaaS ETL tools are applications that facilitate the extraction, transformation, and loading of data from various sources, like SaaS applications, into a data warehouse or a database.
These cloud-based solutions provide data teams with a more versatile and cost-conscious way to streamline data extraction, data ingestion, and transformation.
Benefits of SaaS ETL Tools
With the growing complexity of data environments, including handling unstructured data, and the need for real-time data insights, SaaS ETL tools make creating data pipelines quick and efficient for various data management use cases.
Many operate on a subscription model since SaaS ETL tools are cloud-based and delivered as a service which lowers upfront startup costs. Some companies charge by usage, while others charge by the connector.
Beyond the economic advantages, SaaS ETL tools offer many additional benefits, such as:
- Flexibility: SaaS ETL tools allow data teams to easily create, modify, and execute ETL pipelines. No-code or low-code interfaces streamline the process of configuring data transformations and integrations.
- Scalability: SaaS ETL tools can seamlessly scale to accommodate increased workloads.
- Cost-Effectiveness: You only pay for the resources you use with SaaS ETL tools, providing a transparent and predictable cost structure.
- Automated Maintenance: SaaS ETL providers handle the underlying infrastructure, including updates, patches, and security measures.
What to Look for in a SaaS ETL Tool
Navigating the world of ETL tools can be overwhelming, especially when you're searching for the perfect SaaS solution to improve and automate your data workflows. Before you start comparing solutions, start by understanding your current data flows, and requirements.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What data sources are you integrating?
- Who's using the tool? What's their technical knowledge?
- What's your budget?
- What are your non-negotiable features? Will you need automation?
Once you’ve answered these questions, vet each tool based on a set of standards and metrics tailored to your goals.
Consider the following key criteria when evaluating an ETL tool:
- Usability: Is the tool's user interface designed to be simple and user-friendly?
- Ready-Made Integrations and Connectors: Does the tool have ready-made connectors for commonly used data sources, including databases, CRMs, and cloud-based applications?
- Scalability: Can the tool accommodate your growing data requirements while maintaining performance?
- Pricing: Is the pricing model aligned with your organization's financial constraints? Consider expenses associated with deployment, training, utilization, and other relevant costs.
- Support Materials and Customer Service: What kind of support is provided? Will there be access to instructional resources to assist with adopting the new tool?
With these criteria in mind, let’s explore some of the top SaaS ETL tools available in the market today.
Top SaaS ETL tools
The best SaaS ETL tool for your organization depends on your use cases and specific goals. While most of the tools on the market can meet basic data management needs, not all tools are created equal. SaaS ETL tools vary significantly in their offerings and strengths.
What It Is: Integrate.io offers a versatile and powerful no-code/low-code SaaS ETL platform. Integrate.io has a friendly visual interface so non-technical users can easily create data pipelines connecting multiple data sets, sources, and destinations.
Key Features: ETL, Reverse ETL (ELT), Change Data Capture (CDC), and hundreds of pre-built connectors.
Benefits: The platform is user-friendly and comes with enterprise-grade ETL tools and 200+ pre-built connectors, including integrations for Snowflake, Salesforce, Microsoft Azure SQL Database, and MongoDB.
What Users Say: Integrate.io has earned a rating of 4.3 out of 5 on G2 and was named one of G2’s “Leaders” for all ETL tools in Fall 2022.
What It Costs: Integrate.io offers straightforward and predictable pricing on a per-connector basis and you can try it out yourself with our free 14-day trial.
Who Should Use It: Integrate.io is perfect for data-driven organizations looking for powerful, user-friendly ETL capabilities with pricing not tied to use.
What It Is: Fivetran is a cloud-based ETL solution that lets you quickly transform data from multiple sources and load it into most cloud data warehouses.
Key Features: 300+ built-in connectors, change data capture, data normalization, and automated scheme drift handling.
Benefits: Fivetran caters to a more technical audience. You can write your own code for cloud functions to extract data and manage schema from sources like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud Platform.
Drawbacks: Fivetran doesn't transform data before it's sent to a data warehouse, which could surface issues through your data workflow processes.
What Users Say: With a 4.2 out of 5 rating on G2, Fivetran has mixed reviews. Per the reviews, pricing is often a concern.
What it Costs: Fivetran offers a free plan that's limited to 500,000 monthly active rows. The three paid plans come with a 14-day free trial.
Who Should Use It: Fivetran stands out as a powerful and versatile ETL solution. While their pricing model may have room for improvement, other features, such as automation and their built-in connectors, make it a compelling choice for companies with the budget.
3. Hevo Data
What It Is: Hevo Data is a cloud-based SaaS ELT platform that helps businesses extract data from over 150 different sources.
Key Features: 150+ integrations, automated data pipelines, and ETL/ELT.
Considerations: Hevo transforms data before it reaches its destination. Hevo includes built-in connectors and supports popular data warehouse destinations like Snowflake, BigQuery, and Amazon Redshift.
Drawbacks: You cannot add your own data sources in Hevo if you need a new connection. Have also does not have any security certifications.
What Users Say: Hevo currently scores 4.3 out of 5 on G2, with mostly positive reviews.
What it Costs: Hevo offers a free plan that's limited to 1 million free events. They offer a 14-day trial for their paid plan, which is $239/month.
Who Should Use It: Hevo is a good choice for smaller businesses looking to start creating data pipelines.
What It Is: Stitch is lightweight compared to the other SaaS ETL tools on this list. Stitch lacks the transformation features of other tools like Integrate.io or Fivetran.
Key Features: 130+ pre-built integrations, ETL, and Stitch Import API.
Benefits: Unlike Hevo, Stitch supports privacy and security like GDPR, making it a viable choice for companies needing certain security and control features.
Drawbacks: Stitch has limited transformation functionality and some negative reviews about the platform’s UI.
What Users Say: Receiving a 4.5/5 on G2, users enjoy Stitch. There are some UI concerns, as stated by one user “ Sometimes the UI can be finicky and takes a while to make a change.”
What it Costs: $100-$2500 depending on the pricing tier chosen. The standard tier, which starts at $100, includes a free trial and can be purchased on a monthly basis. The other two tiers require an annual contract.
Who Should Use It: Fivetran stands out as a powerful and versatile ETL solution. While their pricing model may have room for improvement, other features like automation and their built-in connectors make it a compelling choice.
What It Is: Talend combines data integration, data quality, and data governance into a single end-to-end platform that's intended to work with any data sets, data source, and data architecture.
Key Features: Talend is offered in two versions, Talend Open Studio (free and open-source) and Talend Data Fabric (paid and feature-rich), both of which can handle Big Data requirements.
Benefits: Comprehensive data solution, 1000+ connectors, and ETL/ELT.
Drawbacks: Using either the free or paid version requires the support of data engineers or other technical resources.
What Users Say: Coming in with a 4.0 / 5 on G2, many of the reviews cite performance issues and slow response times when working with large data sets.
What it Costs: Talend Open Studio is free. Pricing for Talend Data Fabric isn't published, but some reviewers state the platform is costly.
Who Should Use It: The barrier to entry is high due to the technical resources needed, high platform costs, and challenges smaller businesses may face.
What It Is: Airbyte is an open-source ETL tool backed by a community of developers. The developers create 50% of Airbyte's connectors in their open-source community.
Key Features: 300+ pre-build connectors, customizable data transformations with SQL, and considerable community support.
Benefits: On top of extracting and loading data from 300+ sources to 30+ destinations, you can also customize your data transformations with SQL and dbt.
Drawbacks: Non-technical users may have trouble creating and managing their data pipelines since Airbyte is made for developers.
What Users Say: The platform's rating of 4.1 / 5 on G2, points to frequent errors as a top deal-breaker.
What it Costs: Airbyte is free unless you need cloud hosting, cloud management, or in-app chat support; then, it’s $2.50/credit. Airbyte offers a 14-day free trial.
Who Should Use It: Since the tool is open-source and developer-friendly, smaller companies with technical resources looking to create data pipelines may benefit from Airbyte.
What It Is: Informatica, like Talend, is a platform for enterprise customers because of its complex and rich data management capabilities.
Key Features: 50K+ connectors, enterprise data management capabilities, and ETL/ELT
Benefits: The platform supports almost any integration use case, including iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service), API management, ETL, and more.
Drawbacks: Informatica is designed for the enterprise meaning smaller-medium sized businesses can be priced out.
What Users Say: With a score of 4.2 / 5 on G2, reviewers applaud its scalability but say its encryption, infrastructure capabilities, and deployment and scheduling could use work.
What it Costs: Pricing isn’t clearly stated on Informatica’s website, but since it’s an enterprise tool, expect costs to be high.
Who Should Use It: If you have massive data projects and your own security and encryption, Informatica could be the tool for you.
Getting Started with SaaS ETL Tools
The impact of SaaS ETL tools is undeniable, but more importantly, choosing a tool that aligns with your specific goals is crucial.
Here are some best practices to help you get started with SaaS ETL tools:
- Assess your needs: Assess your data integration needs while considering factors like data volume, data sources, desired integrations, and the technical expertise of your team.
- Evaluate features: Evaluate tools that fit your needs. Popular features are user-friendly interfaces, no-code/low-code capabilities, automation, and security features.
- Consider Pricing and Support: Opt for a tool with transparent, predictable pricing. Ask about customer support and if there's documentation to help you navigate implementation.
- Take Advantage of Trials: Use free trials to explore a platform's features, assess its ease of use, and gather feedback from your team.
SaaS ETL tools are a powerful addition to any organization’s data management toolkit, especially when coupled with machine learning.
Integrate.io: The SaaS ETL tool for you
Integrate.io is designed to provide enterprise-level features packaged in an easy-to-use, no-code/low-code data integration platform.
Integrate.io offers transparent pricing, an accessible user interface, and powerful ETL features, making it a top choice among SaaS ETL tools. Sign up today for a free 14-day trial, then schedule your ETL trial meeting and one of our experts will walk you through the setup process to ensure you get the most out of your trial time.