In today's world of Internet Technology and the need for instant access to a wide range of information, companies are constantly receiving unprecedented amounts of data from various sources and in an array of different formats. Sorting through this mass of data to find patterns and actionable insights is nearly impossible. This is where the process of Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL), more specifically cloud ETL tools, becomes invaluable.
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The Cloud ETL Process
Cloud ETL tools are the standard used all over the world to quickly and precisely process huge amounts of data. There are three distinct functions in the ETL process:
The first stage is the extraction of data. During this process. raw data is obtained from a large variety of sources, which include databases, security appliances, network appliances, and security hardware, as well as several other viable sources. This vast amount of data streams through digital networks at lightning speed and is promptly collected as it happens.
During the transformation stage of the ETL process, consolidated streams of information are funneled into functional channels of data businesses can use. Simultaneously, the data is cleansed and reduced in volume by eliminating useless and duplicate data. This vital data is then standardized and formatted to be used or analyzed when needed. But, before it goes to the next step, the data is sorted and verified.
The last phase of the ETL process is called the Load. This step transfers the data into the necessary locations. This can include analytical tools, cloud-based databases, cold network databases, or various other applications the company deems necessary.
The concept of ETL is not actually that new. It has been around for ages. But, like all things, it has evolved and grown. Now, ETL not only turns raw data into usable business intelligence, but it also paves the way to more comprehensive cloud technology.
Streamlined ETL tools are vital to the whole cloud ETL process. There are still some companies that prefer to code the ETL process manually, however, this generally results in gross inefficiencies and tremendous frustration. Additionally, an excessive strain is put on tenuous resources such as time and money.
This being said, manual ETL does have some advantages. Manually controlling the extraction, transformation, and loading of data allows a company to fully customize a solution. However, this usually leads to difficulties in maintaining and scaling the information gathered, which means the drawbacks of a manual system far outweigh the benefits of using reliable ETL tools.
Benefits of Cloud ETL
There are numerous benefits to running your ETL processes in the cloud:
Obviously, manual coding and micromanaging the ETL process does have some short-term benefits, but over time, the sheer volume of data and sources, plus the abundant complexities increase. As resources increase, the process of scaling and managing becomes extremely difficult. Cloud ETL tools remove these difficulties because they scale to meet all of your growing needs.
Cloud ETL tools keep everything in one, easily accessible place. Having some parts of the process onsite, others in a remote location and the rest in the cloud quickly becomes a nightmare to integrate. ETL tools can manage the entire process in one place, reducing the need for extra dependencies.
Incorporating a real-time ETL process manually, without disrupting normal business operations, can be extremely difficult. When ETL tools handle this for you, providing real-time data from sources throughout the organization at the push of a button, the whole process becomes much easier.
With manual systems, your development team is constantly correcting errors and fixing bugs. Cloud ETL tools handle all maintenance automatically. All patches and updates are seamlessly and automatically propagated and the advanced ETL testing tools ensure that all data is complete, accurate and maintains integrity.
The collection, storage, and usage of data is not the free-for-all it used to be. Complex legislation and regulation like imposed by the GDPR and HIPAA can make staying within the fuzzy lines quite a challenge. Cloud ETL tools ensure that you are always in compliance.
Here is a quick comparison between the best ETL tools to help you find the perfect solution for your business.
Best Cloud ETL Tools
Cloud ETL tools offer streamlined data processing, integration, and scalability in real-time. There are many ETL options to chose from, but here are our top three:
Xplenty is a cloud ETL solution that provides simplified visual data pipelines for an automated flow of data across various destinations and sources. The powerful real-time transformation tools allow customers to clean, stabilize, and transform all company data while complying with best practice legislation.
Xplenty has the ability to transform custom APIs to ETL data without coding. This is a much sought after solution for many companies, especially when thee company needs to connect to less common APIs. Xplenty is one of the very few no-code applications that can do this. It is also very flexible and provides an excellent user interface to perform this task.
Fivetran quickly and efficiently replicates and transfers all of your business data to your data warehouse, without the need for data pipelines, configuration, or maintenance. You can easily connect with anything you like, without the need for coding.
Advantages: Setup is quick and easy. You are able to store all of your data yourself, so you never risk losing access to your information, not even when the source application is closed. Analytics are in real-time and always up-to-date. Excellent customer support team.
Disadvantages: You don't get detailed logs and progress reports. You can only monitor progress.
Blendo provides the ability to integrate all company data quickly and efficiently without the need for coding or maintenance, and without complicated ETL scripts. The system is designed with non-techies in mind, which allows users to collect data from services all over the cloud, load the data into your data warehouse, and then optimize and sort the compiled data according to your needs. You decide how often data is pulled from your source, and you monitor usage.
Advantages: Quick and easy setup. Good customer support. Good choice for integrating data from Xero accounting software.
Disadvantages: Automatic refresh every 15 minutes and it doesn't show the progress of the initial import.
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