Since 2003, we have been closely monitoring the market for ETL and data integration tools. In the past, the focus was on the market leaders who were often seen as visionaries and leaders.
Many organizations used to assume that they had automatically made the right choice if they purchased a tool from one of the market leaders. Since the late nineties, however, the market has changed substantially. Practically all the Business Intelligence (BI) vendors have purchased or developed their own ETL tools. Since a centralized data warehouse is one of the cornerstones of a successful BI solution, this has turned out to be a wise choice. Market estimates show that 70-80% of the costs of a successful BI system relate to the creation of reliable ETL processes and data integration.
A large number of ETL tools are compared in our study
Each year from 2007 until now the Passionned Group investigated a large number of ETL tools based on over 90 criteria that play a major role in the quick and successful development of a Business Intelligence infrastructure. In our study we concentrated on products that could be (relatively) easily used by either business or IT professionals with a minimum of specialized training.
A number of products have not been included in the final report for various reasons; Ab Initio did not reply to any of our attempts to contact them. Sybase has currently spread their functionality across different products and it was impossible for us to judge which functionality was in which product. In this edition of the fully independent study we have divided the products into four separate categories to avoid comparing apples with oranges.
1. Pure ETL Products
These products are independent of the database and the Business Intelligence tool with which they will probably be used. The companies do not rely on another product providing the functionality they offer, and they allow you to migrate to another (relational) database or another Business Intelligence tool without having to substantially change your integration processes. This year Oracle’s ODI product has been added to this category, ETL Solutions’ product Transformation Manager has been removed and Pitney Bowes Data Flow product has been moved to the Niche category.
2. Database Integrated
These products are supplied as an option when you buy the database software; some of the functionality is built into the database and not available separately in the ETL tool itself. The ETL tool is database dependent and will not work with another database, this is not a restriction it is an element of the design. Replacement of the database would entail completely rewriting the integration processes.
3. Business Intelligence Integrated
These are products from the same supplier as the Business Analytics software. In many cases these are separate products and the supplier will claim that they can be used independently of the BI tool. This is probably true, but because of their use of proprietary metadata and sometimes the same scripting tools as the BI product, they are seldom used separately.
4. Niche Products
These are products that don’t fit well into any of the above-mentioned groups, but still have considerable ETL functionality in them. In most cases they are not as complete as the other products we have looked at but they are often in a totally different price class and are very usable to solve certain problems. Traditionally we had included the Open Source products in this category since they lacked the full functionality and customer experience to qualify for the main categories. We have moved Talend to the category Pure ETL tools since both their level of functionality and market acceptance justify their inclusion.
The new release of CloverETL has added so much functionality that it would qualify for inclusion as a Pure ETL product, however it still has a very limited user base and as such still fits better into the Niche category, although for companies looking for a very reasonably-priced alternative to the major products this would certainly be a good place to start. After a great deal of discussion we have added Syncsort’s DMExpress product and Expressor’s Data Integrator Platform to this category.
DMExpress has the functionality to be considered a Pure ETL product, but certainly not the user base, and Syncsort themselves position it more as an accelerator than a full-function product. Expressor was bought by QlikTech just after we had done our research and may well be moved to the Business Intelligence Integrated category at some time in the (near) future.