Key Differences Between Dell Boomi and Xplenty

  • Dell Boomi users must have basic IT skills and some coding experience. Any ETL beginner can use Xplenty to integrate any source/destination (no IT or coding skills required).
  • Xplenty is an ETL platform and good at large-volume integrations and complex transformations. Dell Boomi is an iPaaS and good at simple, small-volume integrations. 
  • Dell Boomi users pay extra for access to phone-based customer support. All Xplenty users receive free, unlimited phone and video support from their dedicated integration specialist.
  • All Xplenty users have access to Salesforce-to-Salesforce integrations. Dell Boomi users must subscribe to a higher cost service-level to access Salesforce-to-Salesforce integrations. 
  • Dell Boomi pricing is complex, multi-layered, and it’s difficult to know the ultimate cost until after using the platform. Xplenty pricing is simple and predictable – a flat-rate per connector, and that’s it.

Dell Boomi and Xplenty are cloud-based data integration solutions that simplify the process of moving data from diverse sources, transforming it, and loading it into a destination such as a data warehouse for further analysis. Both Boomi and Xplenty include intuitive graphical interfaces, a wide variety of source/destination connectors, ready-made data transformations – and they have stellar reputations for quality and reliability. 

That being said, there is a very important difference between these platforms. Boomi is an iPaaS and API gateway. Xplenty is an automated Extract, Transform and Load (ETL)solution. While both can manage data integration processes, they take different approaches to solving the challenges of data integration. This can affect which platform you choose for your data integration needs depending on the use-case.  

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Below, we’ll explore these and other differences, so you can determine whether Boomi or Xplenty is best-suited to meet your business needs. Here’s a quick review of the biggest differences between Dell Boomi and Xplenty:

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Overview of Dell Boomi and Xplenty

We’ll start with a brief overview of Dell Boomi and Xplenty:

Dell Boomi Overview

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Having first launched in 2000, Boomi released a cloud-native integration platform called AtomSphere in 2007. In 2010, Dell acquired the company and it became Dell Boomi. Boomi and its AtomSphere platform serve the following use-cases:

  • iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service), API Gateway, and API Manager: As an iPaaS and API manager, Boomi offers a point-and-click, no-code/low-code interface for connecting apps and microservices when building applications and IT infrastructures. The platform also includes a number of pre-built connectors to facilitate app integrations, and it has tools for building custom APIs.
  • iPaaS as an ETL Alternative: Boomi can also handle data integrations by serving as an “ETL alternative.” Its pre-built connectors help with setting up ETL-like data flows. We’ll be focusing on this “ETL alternative” aspect of Boomi in this guide. 

Using an iPaaS like Boomi as an ETL alternative might be appropriate in the following situations: 

  • Your team is already using and familiar with the platform.
  • You are willing to pay extra for iPaaS, API gateway, and API manager capabilities. 
  • You require true real-time data integrations.
  • Your integration needs are low-volume. 

However, it’s important to remember the downsides of iPaaS data integrations which include: 

  • Struggling to meet data compliance standards (like GDPR, SOC2, HIPAA, CCPA, etc.).
  • Difficulties with high-volume data integrations.
  • Challenges with complex transformations. 

If you simply need to design and manage ETL, you might want to ask whether you can achieve your ETL integrations faster, more cost-efficiently, and more reliably with a tool that was designed for ETL and ETL only.  

Here’s what one Boomi user says about the platform:

“I found the Boomi learning curve to be quite steep and the documentation (specifically, examples of working processes) to be lacking. Basic integrations are straightforward, but complex processes require a lot of moving parts, some of them buried behind multiple layers of windows … I also feel like the UI could use some improvement. The process/connector browser, specifically, gets quite cumbersome when working with multiple projects and/or complex integrations … I'm constantly worried that something will be missed in a deep layer that will cause the integration to fail.” 

Xplenty Overview

Xplenty logo.png

Having first launched in 2011, Xplenty is a cloud-based, automated ETL solution. The platform offers an intuitive, graphical user interface that allows you to create sophisticated data pipelines and transformation workflows – often in just a few minutes without writing a single line of code. 

Xplenty was designed to empower ETL beginners to build data pipelines without sacrificing the power and capabilities of an enterprise-grade solution. Whether you’re the CEO’s assistant, a copywriter on the marketing team, or a BI intern, you can use Xplenty to develop sophisticated ETL processes quickly. At the same time, data engineers enjoy Xplenty’s native scripting language and SQL editor for more nuanced customization and advanced, enterprise-level features.

Here are some additional characteristics of Xplenty:

  • Two-way Salesforce-to-Salesforce integrations: Pull your data from Salesforce, transform it, and push the data back into Salesforce. 
  • 100+ pre-built connectors and a REST API connector: Xplenty offers pre-built connectors for the most popular sources/destinations. It also has a REST API connector that allows you to connect to any source/destination with a REST API. 
  • 100+ out-of-the-box transformations: Xplenty includes over 100 out-of-the-box transformations (FILTER, SELECT, JOIN, CLONE, LIMIT, and more) which you can easily apply to pipelines using a drag-and-drop interface. Advanced users can take advantage of Xplenty’s native scripting language or SQL editor for more advanced operations if desired.
  • Predictable, flat-rate pricing: Xplenty uses a flat-rate pricing structure that charges a set fee per connection and does not charge extra for increased data volume or increased processing. 
  • Zero auxiliary costs: Xplenty is cloud-native, so you don’t need to pay for hosting. It’s easy for anyone to use, so you don’t need to hire skilled engineers. Finally, Xplenty’s powerful data engine handles your in-pipeline transformations, so you eliminate the extra processing fees for post-load transformations. 

Here’s what one user says about Xplenty:

“Xplenty's easy-to-use interface makes it possible for less-technical members of my team to dive in and create/edit ETL jobs and schedules. We use Xplenty to enhance partner data, transform and add flexibility to how we structure and consume various data streams. Xplenty makes this easy.”

  • Nick M., Director of Client Success

After this brief overview of Dell Boomi and Xplenty, let’s dive deeper into how these platforms compare. 

iPaaS vs. ETL

Boomi is an Integration Platform as a Service, while Xplenty is an ETL solution. 

Dell Boomi: iPaas as an ETL Alternative

As we already discussed, an iPaaS like Boomi AtomSphere can perform many ETL processes. However, it’s important to remember that an iPaaS is purpose-built to connect applications – which need to sync small amounts of data between themselves quickly. When using an iPaaS to manage large volume ETL and complex transformations, you may run into problems. 

Essentially an iPaaS or API manager like Boomi is intended to serve as the middleware that integrates applications, sending small amounts of information via messaging queues and multiple stages. They are very good at complex workflow management, but when it comes to moving and transforming large volumes of data consistently, they are not ideal.

Here’s what users say about using Boomi as an ETL alternative:

“I understand that it's not an ETL but it gets quite demanding on the atom [data transformation process] if there are huge data sets involved.”

“If you’re just moving data from source A to source B with a relatively clean data character set without a lot of transformation, then Boomi can work well for both small and large workloads and large. The problem with Boomi as an ETL tool is when you have a transformation or data character set/formatting issues.”

“When Boomi fails in the mapper the entire batch fails, not a specific record. If you try and run each record separately the performance effect becomes a real problem especially in medium to larger record count scenarios. The Boomi mapper isn’t as robust as other tools around complex transformations, character set conversions, and data type conversions and formatting. We have used it in some cases but for real ETL scenarios we have chosen another tool.”

  • Marc Cohen

Xplenty: ETL Only 

The primary arguments for using an iPaaS instead of ETL are: 

  • An iPaaS includes pre-built connectors for faster setup when building data pipelines.
  • An iPaaS offers real-time integration capabilities.
  • An iPaaS includes a graphical user interface so it’s easier to use and operate.

However, these arguments don’t apply to a modern ETL-as-a-Service platform like Xplenty. Xplenty has conquered all of the historical challenges of ETL by offering the following: 

  • Easy-to-use: Includes a graphical user interface that’s so easy to use anyone can set up data pipelines and transformation workflows. 
  • Attentive customer support: Every user receives unlimited access to an integration specialist.
  • Fast setup: Users can create ETL processes in minutes.
  • 100+ Pre-built connectors: Offers a wide range of pre-built connectors to connect to virtually any source/destination.

One user describes Xplenty’s speed and ease-of-use like this:

“With Xplenty, everything is seamless and flexible. You actually enjoy doing data migration. In the past, it was a nightmare, and now you want to push data all the time, and it’s very cool."

Pre-Built Connectors/Integrations

Both Boomi and Xplenty offer a similar range of pre-built connectors. However, the difference in the platforms is noticeable when you encounter a source/destination that isn’t in the library. 

Dell Boomi: 100+ Connectors

Dell Boomi includes more than 100 pre-built connectors for popular apps, SaaS services, data warehouses, and databases. For example, Boomi’s “Database Connector” can connect to any database with a JDBC driver.  

When a pre-built connector doesn’t exist in Boomi’s library, the platform offers the Boomi Connector SDK, which is SOAP and REST compatible. Boomi recommends connecting the SDK to the Eclipse IDE with a plug-in so you can hand-code custom connections in Java.

While you can complete many Boomi operations without code, sometimes you’ll need some coding skills to set up a custom integration as this user points out:

“Mapping values between two dynamic JSON arrays is a true challenge. If you need to map array elements from Array 1 into Y array elements in Array 2… well, have fun setting that up. Easy to do in code, but quite unintuitive and nearly impossible to do in Boomi. I was able to get a demonstration from a Boomi customer service rep and the solution provided was not scalable.”

“No built-in code IDE even though you'll need to embed more and more code as you increase the complexity and sophistication of your integrations.”

Here’s what users say about Boomi’s pre-built connectors. Note that “writing integrations” and “coding” is mentioned, indicating that a certain level of coding prowess may be required:

“Boomi's strong points are its SaaS/cloud nature, its volume of pre-built connectors, the ease of writing integrations for systems that don't have pre-built connectors, and its intuitive wire-flow format that builds on the upsides of competing products while simultaneously improving their functionality.”

“Best part here I can put forward is that this product moved out of the box now, by adding a "custom connector" concept wherein a developer can try to connect to different systems by coding himself apart from inbuilt provided connectors.”

Xplenty: 100+ Connectors

Like Boomi, Xplenty features 100-plus pre-built connectors for the most widely-used databases, data warehouses, apps, and SaaS services. Furthermore, if a source/destination isn’t on the list, Xplenty has a native REST connector that will connect to any source/destination with a REST API.

The Xplenty team is also available to provide assistance with setting up integrations and data transformations. Every Xplenty account – regardless of the service level commitment – has unlimited access to a dedicated integration specialist, who will teach you how to use the platform, take the reins when you need to develop a challenging integration, and answer any questions you have. 

Here’s a sample of Xplenty’s pre-built connectors.

In addition to its pre-built connectors, Xplenty has an archive of custom integrations that Xplenty integration specialists have created in the past. Your integration specialist will be able to refer to this library so you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel when setting up a custom integration.

Here’s what one user says about Xplenty connectors:

“If I had to describe one thing that I enjoy the most about XPlenty – it would be the number of connections that I seem to be able to facilitate intuitively. I'm not a DBA - I'm a BI Analyst who needed to expand his role into a bit of data management for various reasons, and I've found the transition painless and liberating with XPlenty.”

“We needed to connect a number of sources, transform data, and load them into one centralized location fairly quickly with limited bandwidth from our DBAs. Xplenty enabled me, and one other analyst, to pick up that bit of the workload without a ton of training - so we were able to meet our deadlines. The speed and consistency of XPlenty are impressive, and it more than makes up for what a few tools in our kit may be lacking.”

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Salesforce Connector

Dell Boomi and Xplenty both have native Salesforce connectors. However, Xplenty offers the advantage of Salesforce-to-Salesforce integrations so you can extract Salesforce data from one business account, transform it, and push it into the Salesforce account of another. This feature doesn’t come standard with Boomi. 

Dell Boomi: Salesforce Connector

Dell Boomi includes an excellent one-way Salesforce connector that allows you to pull data from Salesforce, transform it, and load it into a Data Warehouse or database. However, when it comes to a Salesforce-to-Salesforce integration, Boomi users have to subscribe to an additional service that increases the price so high that it dissuades many firms except large enterprises from using it.  

This user has had success with Boomi’s one-way Salesforce connector:

“I was able to automate several processes which involve integration with Salesforce, Success factors, NetSuite, ViewCentral, and many more third-party vendors which otherwise would have caused a lot of manual effort and would have been more error-prone.”

Xplenty: Salesforce to Salesforce Connector

One of the biggest reasons for new customers to onboard Xplenty is its native, Salesforce-to-Salesforce connector. This feature brings powerful ETL capabilities to the hands of organizations that don’t have massive ETL budgets. Usually, only the most expensive ETL solutions – such as MuleSoft, Talend, and Jitterbit – can manage this type of connection. In contrast, Xplenty makes Salesforce-to-Salesforce quick, easy, and inexpensive to implement.

Here’s what the Salesforce-to-Salesforce integration does in a nutshell:

“Whether you're going through a merger or acquisition, looking to push sales info to partners, or you have a distributor or supplier who needs sales information, Salesforce to Salesforce connections allow you to share Salesforce data between Salesforce organizations. As long as both businesses have Salesforce, you can push records and fields for any object type over to the other business – saving you time, money, and plenty of hassle.”

A Salesforce-to-Salesforce connection is valuable because it allows you to synchronize data across businesses and departments that use different Salesforce accounts. It also lets you transform the data in-pipeline to conform to the Salesforce configuration of the receiving account. 

Of course, Xplenty lets you ETL data from Salesforce directly into your data warehouse, and you can pipe your data warehouse information to Salesforce as well. 

Here’s what it looks like to design an ETL pipeline from Salesforce to Redshift with Xplenty. This process takes approximately three minutes:

These reviews talk about Xplenty’s Salesforce integrations: 

“We have a lot of SaaS services that we use that lock up a tremendous amount of valuable data. We needed a way to bring this value back in-house to combine with data from other systems to maximize its value. We were able to do this very quickly with Xplenty and now we are able to take value-adding aggregate data and push it back to these services such as Salesforce. This has made these tools even more valuable.

“We've been able to migrate from Netsuite into Google Bigquery, Bigquery to Salesforce, as well as various other combinations of software fairly intuitively! It's far easier to learn than other integration tools, and just as powerful!”

Pricing Structure

Boomi’s pricing model is complex while Xplenty’s model is simple and straightforward.

Dell Boomi: Complex Pricing

Boomi’s pricing structure is complicated with many different plans and tiers, as you’ll note on Boomi’s pricing page. The base plan, Boomi says is a “starter solution for small and medium businesses to integrate two applications,” starts at $549 per month. 

Unfortunately, the base plan doesn’t include the best features Boomi has to offer. For example, you can only use Boomi in production (not in a test mode or sandbox), it lacks advanced security features, there’s no Salesforce-to-Salesforce capacity, and it’s missing a lot of other features. Moreover, you will need to upgrade to a higher tier if you want access to telephone support – and even in the higher tiers phone support is a paid add-on.

At the end of the day, Boomi’s pricing structure is difficult to understand. You may end up paying more as you use the platform and realize that you need advanced features that are only available in the higher tiers.  

Xplenty: Flat-Rate, Per-Connection Pricing 

Xplenty keeps its pricing model as simple as possible. Xplenty charges by the connector, via a flat-rate pricing strategy. It doesn’t charge by volume or processing power, just a flat-rate based on how many connectors you need. This means that you won’t be charged more if you’re dealing with extra-large volume datasets or complex transformations. Your bills will stay the same each month unless you change the number of connectors. 

Also, you will never have to pay extra for Xplenty’s support via email, phone, and video conference. It’s unlimited and free to all users.

Since a basic integration requires two connectors (one for the source and one for the destination), the base-level price of Xplenty is the flat-rate cost of two connectors. As an enterprise-grade ETL platform, you can scale up to as many connectors as you require.  

Finally, there are no auxiliary costs with Xplenty. Because it’s a cloud-native solution that you access via a web interface, you won’t have to pay extra to host the platform. Also, Xplenty is easy to use, so you won’t have to hire new staff or spend money on additional training. 

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Customer Support

With Boomi, phone support is only available by paying extra. With Xplenty, phone and video support is available to all customers. 

Dell Boomi: Paid Support Only Available for Higher Tier Levels

Boomi’s base plan is limited to “standard support,” which consists of using forums, reference guides, and chat-based support to answer your questions. You can only issue 15 support tickets a year with the base plan.

Even when you upgrade to a higher level tier, you will not receive anything beyond “standard support” unless you pay extra. The higher tiers allow you to pay an extra fee to have unlimited phone support and a guaranteed response time of 8 hours (Premier Support) or 4 hours (Premier Plus Support). 

Here’s what customers say about Boomi support:

“Boomi customer support leveraged their internal resources to figure out the problem and provided an alternate solution which I have put into place.”

“Licensing is costly. After-sales, support could be more responsive.”

“Working with the Boomi Support Team to resolve the issue for a few days and still no response.”

Xplenty: Unlimited Phone and Video Support for All Service Levels

All service level commitments receive unlimited access to Xplenty support. In fact, every Xplenty account has a dedicated integration specialist assigned to it. Your Xplenty integration specialist is available by email, phone, and video conference to guide you through every detail of the platform, set up new integrations, and develop custom integrations and transformation pipelines. 

In fact, the Xplenty support team is an integral part of the platform. It’s one of the key reasons Xplenty has been able to create an ETL platform that anyone can operate. Your dedicated integration specialist will feel like a member of your team, always ready to lend a helping hand.   

Here’s what reviewers say about Xplenty support:

“By far, their support is incredible. They are incredibly responsive and helpful and the people doing the support know their stuff. Next, I would say that they have found a nice blend of capabilities and simplicity. We have been able to get non-engineers productive in the tool very quickly.”

 “When there is no native connector, the REST API connector will achieve the result we want, and the support team is always ready to jump in and help if needed. I also like the fact that the support team and comprehensive documentation are often focussed on helping you learn to achieve the result you want rather than doing the job for you. This has helped us leverage the learnings for other uses.”

“What we love best about Xplenty is the near real-time support we get from the team. Xplenty's point of difference is the customer support we receive. The product itself is good. Easy to use at a high level. The people at Xplenty are the difference – which is unusual for a cloud proposition. A nice change from dealing with a faceless machine.”

Final Thoughts on Dell Boomi vs Xplenty 

Let’s wrap this piece up with a quick analogy. Imagine you have a wide bridge spanning across a river. You also have a helicopter. There are 1,000 people who need to cross the river. Are you going to load them onto buses and send them across the bridge, or are you going to do countless trips in the helicopter?

Of course, you’ll load them into the buses and send them across the bridge. It’s more efficient and it will get the job done faster. 

Boomi is like the helicopter. It’s optimized for moving small packages fast. As an iPaaS, that’s what Boomi was made for – to manage the high-speed, low volume message data between applications. While Boomi can perform ETL operations, you may experience data accuracy problems and a lack of stability when you move into large-volume transfers and complex transformations. You may also find the platform difficult to use since it requires basic IT knowledge and preferably some coding skills to operate. 

Xplenty is like the wide bridge with buses speeding across. As an ETL-dedicated platform, Xplenty was designed to handle large-volume transfers and complex in-pipeline transformations. Best of all, it’s extremely easy to operate. After an hour with your dedicated Xplenty integration specialist, regardless of your skill level, you’ll be able to set up ETL processes all on your own.

Want to try Xplenty for yourself? Schedule a call with our team and experience Xplenty now