5 Key Differences Between Talend OS and Xplenty:
- Talend OS fails to merge powerful ETL with ease-of-use. Xplenty offers enterprise-grade ETL tools in an easy-to-use package.
- Talend OS requires skilled data engineers to operate. Any ETL beginner can quickly learn to operate Xplenty.
- Open-Source Talend OS comes with steep auxiliary costs for skilled labor and hosting. Xplenty is affordable with zero auxiliary costs.
- Talend OS doesn’t offer any user support. All Xplenty tiers receive unlimited user support from a dedicated integration specialist.
- Talend OS is software you have to download and install. Xplenty is a hosted, cloud-native platform that you can access anywhere.
Talend OS and Xplenty are powerful, data integration solutions that can serve virtually any ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) use-case. In this respect, they have considerable overlap. Nevertheless, they are different enough – in terms of cost, ease of use, and capabilities – that their distinctions could affect your decision to choose one platform over the other.
In this guide, we’ll explore Talend OS vs. Xplenty from multiple angles so you can determine which is best for your needs. We’ll start with a brief overview of each platform, then zoom into the most important areas of comparison. We’re going to cover a lot of ground, so feel free to use the following links to navigate this guide:
- Talend OS Overview
- Xplenty Overview
- ETL, ELT, and ETLT Capabilities
- Are They Cloud Native?
- Native Connectors
- Compliance, Security, and Encryption
- Availability of User Support
- Pricing Structure
- Final Thoughts on Talend OS vs. Xplenty
We’ll begin with a brief overview of Talend OS and Xplenty:
Talend OS Overview
Talend Open Studio offers a suite of integration solutions to service a variety of app integration, data quality, and data integration use-cases. These solutions include:
- Open Studio for Data Integration: An ETL and ELT platform with a visual user interface and a range of pre-built connectors for popular data sources and destinations.
- Open Studio for Big Data: An ETL and ELT platform with tools for managing big data integrations. It includes various Hadoop components, Hadoop Security for Kerberos, tools for managing unstructured data, and connectors for various cloud services.
- Open Studio for Data Preparation: A graphical tool that allows you to create reusable data preparation workflows.
- Open Studio for Data Quality: A graphical data quality tool that profiles data and offers drill-down features.
- Open Studio for ESB: An Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) that allows you to integrate legacy systems and other applications.
It’s important to note that Talend follows the “freemium” business model. This means that users can only access basic data integration and app integration features through the above-referenced platforms. Moreover, you can only use the Talend OS platforms as independently-operating systems via separate interfaces. To access an integrated solution that includes all Talend services in a single interface, users have to pay for Talend Data Fabric.
Talend Data Fabric offers cloud-based ETL tools, premium connectors, machine learning tools, better data quality management, and it includes user support. The problem is, Talend Data Fabric is so expensive that most small- to medium-sized companies can’t afford it.
Another important point about Talend is the fact that most of its marketing literature centers around Talend’s paid services like Talend Data Fabric. Trying to parse out the basic services that are actually available for free in Talend OS is difficult without diving deep into the platform yourself. Many users describe Talend OS as an “entry-level” ETL product that they end up needing to upgrade in order to access the powerful capabilities their use-cases require. In this respect, committing to Talend OS is somewhat of a risk, especially if you are looking for a “free” service that offers powerful ETL/ELT capabilities.
As this Talend reviewer points out: “Yes, the open-source version is free, but it is little more than a demo if you are going to do anything complex or mission-critical. If you cannot compare versions of projects with one another this tool is useless and they are really only using open source as a sales tool.”
Here are some key considerations to remember before choosing Talend OS as your data integration solution:
- Not a cloud-native platform: Talend OS solutions are software that you need to download and run on a physical or hosted server. This means that your team will not immediately be able to access the platform remotely without additional set up via your cloud service provider.
- Significant auxiliary costs: Even though Talend OS is free, it comes with significant auxiliary costs related to hosting, cloud server processing, and skilled labor.
- Requires skilled staff to operate: Using Talend OS and any other Talend product requires a staff of full-time data engineers with Talend certification. Data engineers without Talend experience face a steep learning curve while trying to learn the platform. Ultimately, this skilled labor burden represents a significant payroll expense of at least $100,000 annually per engineer.
- Inefficient CPU usage: The most common thing that Talend OS users complain about is the platform’s high CPU and memory consumption – which represents additional and unnecessary costs because you are paying for the hosting (see user reviews quoted below).
- You might need to upgrade to a paid version: After the “freemium” price tag of Talend OS pulls you into the ecosystem, you may realize that you can achieve more for less by paying for one of Talend’s subscription models like Talend Data Fabric. If you’re planning to use this freemium platform, don’t let the free price tag pull you into a situation you can’t afford.
Here’s what users are saying about Talend OS:
“Overall as an ETL tool Talend does the job quite well when it comes to orchestration and scheduling. However, a lot of work is needed to make it run optimally. The interface is java-based and is rough, to say the least. There is a lot of time spent on fighting this interface. A pretty good product hampered by its subpar user interface.” -Group Manager for Data Platforms
I've used the 3 different releases of the commercial version, Talend Integration Suite, for the last 6+ months ... The tutorials are necessary to get a good conceptual foundation and the tool itself is quite powerful. However, every release of the suite that I've used has had inexcusable bugs in the integration studio application, the integration components, and the admin console. The typical answer we receive from support is to upgrade, at which point we're met with a new batch of bugs that affect our ability to use the system in production with confidence. So, try the open source edition and see if it meets your needs, but don't expect to get a well tested, well supported system when you ante up for the commercially licensed edition. -Travis Truman
“The software has high CPU and memory consumption. It is missing some built-in components such as elasticsearch connectors and google APIs.” -Aymen H.
“I noticed that TOS has a weird CPU and ram consumption. Also, the fact that it does not have a built-in script to support elasticsearch.” -Oussema B.
Key points about Talend OS: Talend OS is an open-source suite of app and data integration tools. Even though you can download and use these tools for free, they come with a steep learning curve and significant auxiliary expenses related to skilled labor costs and server/hosting costs. Since Talend OS has a reputation for high CPU and memory consumption, server/hosting fees can be unusually high. Moreover, many organizations will need to upgrade to Talend Data Fabric or another paid version of Talend, which compounds expenses even more. This platform is excellent for a large enterprise with deep pockets. The question is, can your organization afford it, and does your team have the requisite skills to operate it?
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Xplenty is a powerful and affordable ETL/ELT-only platform that was created with the vision that everyone in an organization should be able to develop sophisticated ETL pipelines – whether they are experienced data engineers, data scientists, or complete ETL beginners. Xplenty achieves this mission through an easy-to-use visual interface and an incredible support team that guides users through every step required to connect data sources and destinations.
The best part about Xplenty is the fact that it doesn’t sacrifice enterprise-grade capabilities in order to achieve its ease-of-use objective. In fact, Xplenty offers similar ETL/ELT capabilities as Talend OS, Talend Data Fabric, MuleSoft, and Jitterbit. The difference is that Xplenty packages these capabilities into an accessible and intuitive interface that anyone can learn how to use in minutes. Whether you’re a graphic artist from the creative department, a veteran data engineer, or a data scientist without coding skills, Xplenty can help you build sophisticated data pipelines.
Xplenty's stellar customer support team is the secret sauce behind the platform's ability to empower anyone to build data integrations. Every Xplenty account – no matter if you are managing a single data integration or thousands – qualifies for unlimited email, phone, and video conference support from a dedicated Xplenty integration specialist.
Here’s what users say about Xplenty:
“There are mostly two types of ETL as a service on the market: one is super easy to use and can migrate your data across services and databases but lacks transformation capabilities, while the other needs full-time data engineers to operate but tailored solutions are available programmatically. Xplenty sits in the golden middle letting analysts and engineers deploying custom transformation jobs in minutes even based on multiple data sources.” -Tamas S.
“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.” -Nick G.
“Xplenty is on PAR with enterprise-level tools.” -Guru Kiran S.
Key points about Xplenty: Xplenty merges enterprise-level ETL, ease-of-use, affordability, and amazing customer support into a single data integration service. These characteristics of Xplenty have empowered numerous organizations – and individual departments within these organizations – to liberate themselves from the costs and skilled labor requirements of difficult-to-use ETL solutions like Talend OS, Talend Data Fabric, Jitterbit, and MuleSoft.
Now that we’ve given a general overview of Talend OS and Xplenty, let’s look at these platforms from a variety of angles.
ETL, ELT, and ETLT Capabilities
Both Talend OS and Xplenty allow you to build ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) projects where you perform preload transformations that model data in-pipeline. They also let you build ELT (Extract, Load, Transform) projects where you perform post-load transformations after loading data into the destination data warehouse. Finally, both platforms support ETLT projects. ETLT performs lightweight transformations preload (usually for security and compliance purposes), and manages more in-depth transformations within the data warehouse.
Are They Cloud-Native?
Talend is not a cloud-native platform. Xplenty was purpose-built to exist fully in the cloud.
While Talend OS can help you ETL data to and from cloud-native services, it is not actually a cloud-native platform. This means that you will need to arrange for a cloud server or onsite server to host the Talend platform and make it available through a web-based interface. Not only does this represent significant costs added on top of this open-source solution, but it also represents a significant set-up delay.
Xplenty is a hosted, cloud-native platform that operates fully in the cloud. This means that Xplenty is ready to use via a web-based interface the instant you log into the platform, so you can build sophisticated ETL pipelines and automated workflows from day one. It also means that Xplenty is accessible from anywhere that has an internet connection – making Xplenty ideal in pandemic situations when businesses are moving to remote teams.
While the Talend ecosystem offers more native connectors than Xplenty, Xplenty’s connectors are easier for all skill levels to use.
Talend OS Native Connectors
The Talend platform offers an extensive library of 1,000+ connectors to various apps, cloud services, databases, and data warehouses; however, it’s not clear by Talend’s marketing literature whether all of these connectors are available to open-source Talend OS users, or whether you will need to upgrade to Talend Data Fabric to access the full range of connectors.
Finally, Talend’s pre-built connectors are difficult to use because they were made for data engineers, not ETL beginners. This challenge is compounded by the fact that Talend OS does not offer any kind of user support.
Xplenty Native Connectors
Xplenty offers 140+ native connectors that empower new users to develop data integrations between the most popular apps, cloud-based services, databases, and data warehouses. Also, Xplenty’s native REST API connector allows you to quickly set up integrations for uncommon sources and destinations when a prebuilt connector doesn’t exist. Finally, if you run into trouble with a connection, your Xplenty Success Engineer can access an extensive library of custom connections built for other customers, so you build virtually any data connection you require.
Another popular feature from Xplenty is its two-way Salesforce to Salesforce integration. This feature lets you (1) extract information from Salesforce into Xplenty; (2) transform it, join it, and enrich it with other data; and (3) pipe the data back into Salesforce. You can also use Xplenty to quickly ETL data from one Salesforce org to another.
Here are several of the 140+ native connectors available from Xplenty:
Finally, Xplenty also includes over 100 out-of-the-box, no-code transformations. These empower ETL beginners to create automated workflows that FILTER, JOIN, SELECT, LIMIT, and CLONE data in-pipeline before it arrives at your destination. Moreover, Xplenty allows data engineers to custom-code more nuanced transformations in SQL or Xplenty’s native scripting language.
Compliance, Security, and Encryption
Talend OS doesn’t make it clear whether any native security and compliance features are available. On the other hand, Xplenty is committed to meeting the most important industry and government data compliance and security standards.
Talend OS Security
Talend’s marketing literature claims that Talend Data Fabric (the paid tier of Talend) meets data compliance requirements for SOC 2, GDPR, and HIPAA. However, the native security and compliance features of Talend OS are not clear. Talend OS users may need to develop custom processes on their own to ensure that their data meets industry, state, and national security and compliance standards.
Xplenty keeps your data secure while meeting the most important industry and government data compliance standards. These include SOC 2, GDPR, CCPA, and HIPAA. Xplenty also implements TLS encryption in transit and at rest. Read more about Xplenty’s advanced security, encryption, and compliance features.
Availability of User Support
One of the biggest areas of departure between Talend OS and Xplenty is user support. Talend OS users cannot receive any kind of user support. Conversely, all Xplenty users receive unlimited user support via email, voice, and video conference.
Talend OS User Support
Talend OS does not offer user support, so you will have to turn to online documentation, volunteer forums, and YouTube videos when you run into trouble. Many reviewers find this lack of support from Talend OS frustrating. One Talend OS reviewer says: “There used to be many Youtube channels that offered Talend training, but now there don't seem to be any. The solution should offer more online training resources.”
Paying for Talend Data Fabric is one way to qualify for support, but the basic tier of Talend Data Fabric only comes with email support. You will have to pay extra for live telephone support.
Here’s what customers who qualify for Talend support say about the experience:
“Dealing with support was fruitless. They recommended we work with their professional services, which we did for a day, where it became evident it was a support issue. It hasn't worked for us.” -Jason G.
“Bad support from Talend. Sometimes the technical support is not able to respond, and after several emails, they stop answering. There are a lot of problems with setting up Talend for the first time and downloading the libraries.” -Federico Nastasi
“...the support sometimes was not up to par to resolve issues quickly, and had to a few times, completely reinstall the server-side setup.” -Raju D.
Xplenty User Support
As an ETL-as-a-service solution that anyone can use, the crown jewel of Xplenty is its unrivaled user support team. From the very beginning, all Xplenty customers are assigned an on-call Pre-Sales Engineer. The Pre-Sales Engineer works with you to develop a proof-of-concept to ensure Xplenty fits your ETL/ELT needs and budget.
After subscribing to Xplenty, all service level commitments gain unlimited access to a dedicated Xplenty Success Engineer via email, phone, and video conference. Your Xplenty Success Engineer works closely with you and your team to develop an Impact Plan, build actual integrations, set up workflows, debug problems, and ultimately, teach your team to use the platform.
At the end of the day, your Success Engineer is more like a member of your team than a support person working in a call center. This dedicated integration specialist is there to help you – even take the reins to build integrations and solve different problems – no matter how little tech experience you have.
Here’s what reviewers say about Xplenty user support:
“As a bonus to the product features, Xplenty has excellent customer service. The team goes above and beyond to work with us to develop our data flows and answer any questions we have about the product in their real-time chat system. If bugs or feature requests are discussed, the support team works with us to find adequate workarounds and keeps us in-the-loop while the fix/feature is implemented.” -Lally B.
“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 Cloud proposition. A nice change from dealing with a faceless machine.” -Jamie B.
“The customer support is one of the best I have experienced. They were very prompt every time I would have an issue with using Xplenty. Moreover, the development team is also quite fast, as they were able to implement pagination for an API I was using in less than 2 days.” -Alexandru B.
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Both Talend and Xplenty are celebrated for their graphical user interfaces. The difference is that Talend OS was built for data engineers while Xplenty was built for ETL beginners, data analysts who don’t know how to code, and experienced data engineers alike.
Talend OS User-Friendliness
Talend OS offers a graphical user interface for building ETL pipelines. However, this interface was built for experienced data engineers. If you’re an ETL beginner or a data scientist who doesn’t know how to code, it’s unlikely that you can use Talend without extensive training. This is only made worse by the fact that Talend OS doesn’t come with any user support. When you get stuck, there’s no one you can turn to for help.
Here’s an image of Talend’s graphical user interface:
These customer reviews show how difficult it is to use Talend OS:
“The [Talend] interface can be deceiving at first glance. You really need to understand each of the components before you know its inputs and outputs fully. In fact, I occasionally had problems with the interface not showing up completely … It can be confusing to understand how data will be mapped between components. Our projects end up being a Java "black-box" requiring Talend to modify, even when compiled to run from the command line.” -Joseph A.
“[You’ll] need cheap, readily available people to show you how to get started. Without that, you're faced with a really steep learning curve. Talend could only recommend fairly expensive partners, and Upwork people seemed to be fairly pricey too. It's a useful tool – just have someone that can learn it. -Executive Sponsor in Real Estate
Every aspect of Xplenty was designed to provide a powerful yet easy-to-use platform for ETL beginners and experienced data engineers. With Xplenty’s long list of native connectors and ready-made data transformations, non-tech-savvy users can develop sophisticated ETL workflows that used to be the domain of data engineers only. Best of all, they can do it in minutes.
Inexperienced users can quickly learn how to define data fields, set primary keys, set API parameters, and schedule the frequency of data loads. Last but not least, Xplenty’s amazing user support team is always available to help when your team runs into a jam.
Here are several screenshots of Xplenty’s graphical user interface:
Here’s what users say about Xplenty’s ease-of-use:
“After evaluating 10 or so ETL providers I went with XPlenty because their service has a relatively straightforward GUI, but also allows for a fairly sophisticated level of configuration. Most of the time the GUI is sufficient, but I'm also able to script bits and pieces and add custom SQL to handle the weird edge cases or make some of the large transfers more efficient (e.g. using a custom date field). I'm also able to do data transformations as part of the pipeline.” -Consultant in Automotive Industry
“The [Xplenty] UI is intuitive but you can always use SQL to filter your sources or to create new sets in scheduled packages. Also, there are plenty of built-in functions available … Its intuitive features save a lot of engineering hours. I would recommend Xplenty for agile teams having multiple sources of data where data analysts frequently need custom datasets to deliver insights.” -Tamas S.
“I came from very minimal experience working with SQL, REST APIs, and Salesforce SOQL. In a few weeks, we were able to connect our Salesforce into a SQL database for reporting, storage, and analysis. The time we saved and the insights we gained were invaluable.” -Administrator in Information Tech
Talend Open Studio is free and open-source but users will incur high auxiliary costs that fluctuate from month-to-month. Xplenty charges an affordable flat rate per connector that is easy to plan into your budget.
Talend OS Pricing Structure
As we mentioned above, Talend Open Studio follows the “freemium” pricing strategy. While Talend OS is an excellent “starter” ETL platform, many users end up needing to pay for Talend Data Fabric when their data integration requirements grow more sophisticated. As for the cost of Talend Data Fabric, Talend negotiates custom billing arrangements for each client, so it’s difficult to know what your unique licensing fees will be. Some Talend subscribers are spending a few thousand dollars a month while others are spending millions of dollars per year.
Regardless of whether you’re using Talend OS or a paid version of the platform, there will be extensive auxiliary costs. These include:
- Staffing: You’ll need to hire Talend-certified data engineers to develop ETL pipelines, monitor/improve performance, and correct problems as they arise. Each Talend-certified professional represents a cost of at least $100,000 annually.
- Contracting: Talend OS doesn’t offer any user support options. You might need outside help to develop integrations and workflows if you run into a problem your team can’t fix on its own.
- Hardware and hosting: You’ll need a platform to install Talend OS. This represents extensive costs for hardware, server licensing, and/or cloud hosting. From month to month, the costs of these resources will go up and down as you scale to manage different levels of demand on the system. The more data you pipe and transform through Talend OS, the more expensive these costs will be. As a result, budgeting for Talend OS is unpredictable and difficult to plan.
As this Reddit user points out, the auxiliary costs that come with a solution like Talend Data Fabric can easily dwarf the licensing fees: “The cost of owning middleware is a lot more than just the cost of the licences … Despite the product pitch on the ease of building integrations – it requires deep technical skills to do it well. In a decent sized organisation this could be several people – all paid a lot of money.”
This user says that Talend OS isn’t very practical beyond simple projects, and you will likely need to upgrade to a paid version:
“The free version of this software is infuriating to use for anything but the most simple projects. There is no good way to implement source control without paying for the software which is outrageously expensive per seat.” -Malcolm O'Callaghan
Xplenty Pricing Structure
Xplenty offers a flat-rate pricing plan that’s predictable and affordable. Rather than charging based on the seat, data volume, or processing, Xplenty charges a fixed, monthly, per-connector fee. Once you pay this flat rate for the connection, you’re free to send and transform as much data across the connection as you need. You can perform sophisticated transformations on the data without worrying about additional processing fees.
The predictable nature of Xplenty pricing makes it easy to budget monthly costs. Plus, unlike the free and paid versions of Talend, Xplenty will not incur any auxiliary costs. Here’s how Xplenty achieves zero auxiliary costs: (1) Xplenty is so easy to use that you don’t need to hire skilled data engineers; (2) it’s a cloud-native platform, so you don’t need to pay for a server or hosting; and (3), Xplenty’s flat-rate pricing means that you don’t need to pay extra during a high month of data transmissions.
Here’s what one Xplenty user says about the price of the platform:
“The cost of their service is well worth the accuracy, consistency, and time savings it provides. I would recommend them to anyone looking to connect data in CRM systems like Salesforce to SQL databases, and anything in between.” -Administrator in Information Tech
Finally, if you just want to give Xplenty a test-spin, you don’t have to pay a dime. Sign up for a free 7-day pilot here.
Final Thoughts on Talend OS vs. Xplenty
Now that you’ve read through this guide, you should have a better understanding for whether Talend OS or Xplenty is right for your use-case. At the end of the day, your decision to choose one platform over the other will probably hinge the following questions:
- Do you have a skilled team of data engineers on hand to operate your ETL platform? If your current team lacks the skills and experience required to use and maintain the Talend OS platform, Xplenty is an excellent choice because you don’t require any data engineering or coding skills to use it.
- Are you already using Talend solutions for your ESB, iPaaS, or other use-cases? If your team is already using the Talend ecosystem of products – and if you can afford it – adding Talend OS for Data Integration to your toolbelt could make a lot of sense.
- Do you have an enterprise-scale budget? Even though it’s a free, open-source platform, the high auxiliary costs of Talend OS – related to skilled labor, hosting, and processing – are so high that the solution is unaffordable for most small- to medium-sized businesses. If you don’t have an enterprise-scale budget, consider Xplenty as an affordable alternative. In addition to being dramatically less expensive than Talend, Xplenty’s flat-rate pricing model makes it easy to plan your budget months in advance.
If you’re still on the fence about Talend and Xplenty and want to give Xplenty a test-spin before finalizing your decision, contact us for a risk-free 7-day pilot now.