The Talend Product Suite tries to be a one-stop-shop for everything integration. Whether you need an ESB, iPaaS, API Gateway, or ETL platform, Talend has a tool for it.
Xplenty, on the other hand, is a targeted solution that focuses on ETL only, with an enterprise-grade solution that empowers non-tech-savvy users to build sophisticated data integrations.
Both Talend and Xplenty are powerful ETL solutions with excellent reputations. How do you know which one is best for your use-case? In this guide, we’ll compare Talend and Xplenty from several angles to see how they measure up.
Overview of Talend vs. Xplenty
Talend wants to be everything. ESB, iPaaS, API Gateway, Data Governance, Data Management, Data Quality, Cloud Storage, ETL – you name it. Because of the platform’s long list of services, many large enterprises are using the Talend Product Suite as their all-in-one integration to connect apps, integrate data warehouses, manage ETL pipelines, fuel business intelligence, and a great deal more.
Talend is available in two versions: Talend Open Studio and Talend Data Fabric.
Talend Open Studio: Talend Open Studio is a free, open-source version of the Talend platform. Open Studio includes the following integration tools, which operate independently of each other:
- Open Studio Data Integration: An ETL/ELT platform that provides a graphical user interface, and a wide variety of prebuilt connectors.
- Open Studio Big Data: An ETL/ELT platform that includes special tools for dealing with big data like Hadoop components, Hadoop Security for Kerberos, data lake interaction tools, cloud services connectors, and more.
- Stitch Data Loader: A web-based ETL platform that allows you to create simple integrations with a graphical user interface. Stitch integrations are free for up to 5 million rows of data per month. After that, Stitch uses a volume-based pricing structure.
- Other Tools: Talend Open Studio also includes open-source tools for ESB, Data Quality, Data Management, and Data Preparation.
Talend Data Fabric: Talend Data Fabric is the paid edition of the Talend Product Suite. It includes all of the Open Studio tools mentioned above with additional features like:
- Access to additional prebuilt connectors for popular data sources/destinations
- User-based pricing (per seat) that offers unlimited connectors and unlimited data volumes
- Batch loading and real-time loading capabilities
- Machine learning tools for data quality management
As useful as Talend can be, the platform presents two serious challenges:
- it is expensive. Unlocking the most useful features of Talend by upgrading to Talend Data Fabric is so pricy that many small- to- medium-sized companies simply cannot afford it. In fact, many enterprises are spending millions of dollars a year to access Talend’s full integration capabilities.
- It is notoriously difficult to use. If you don’t already have a data engineer on staff (preferably one with Talend certification), you’ll need to hire an engineer to use the platform successfully. Once the painful set-up process is complete, Talend works well, but the initial learning curve is steep.
Talend has a 4-star out of 5-star rating on G2Crowd. Here’s what users are saying about the platform:
“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.”
“If your organization or department works regularly with ETL jobs or sources data from multiple locations and needs to integrate them to provide for better data compatibility, then Talend Data Integration is a great tool and I would strongly recommend it. This mostly applies to established corporations, and not startups as the licensing fee is quite high.”
Before you choose Talend, you might want to ask if you really need to pay extra for Talend’s wide array of integration tools. Or do you simply want a powerful ETL platform that’s easy for beginners to operate?
Xplenty believes that anyone should be able to create ETL pipelines regardless of their tech experience. That's why they offer an easy-to-use graphical interface and an amazing support team that will guide you through the process of connecting any data source with any destination in minutes.
Regardless of whether you’re an executive assistant, a member of the marketing department, a business analyst, or just someone who doesn’t know anything about ETL, you can use Xplenty to set up data integrations without needing to involve your data engineering team.
As an affordable, no-code/low-code platform, Xplenty is unique in its ability to offer the level of enterprise-grade ETL capabilities you’d expect in more expensive solutions like Talend and MuleSoft. With the power and customization features to satisfy data engineers and developers, and a virtually unlimited capacity to scale with a dynamically-created H cluster, no ETL job is too much for Xplenty.
Compatible with the most widely-used data warehouses, Xplenty comes with a long list of native connectors as well as a native REST API connector. New users can quickly set up automatic integrations for virtually any data source/destination.
Here’s a sample of Xplenty’s integration offerings:
(Image Source: Xplenty.com)
One integration that makes Xplenty unique is its two-way Salesforce-to-Salesforce connector, which allows you to pull data from Salesforce, transform it, and pipe it back into Salesforce. You can also join your Salesforce information with other data before sending it to your data warehouse.
Here are the most popular features/characteristics of the Xplenty platform:
- Cloud-native platform accessible from anywhere
- No-code/low-code UI that anyone can learn to use in minutes
- Large selection of out-of-the-box data transformations
- Library of native connectors for the most common sources/destinations
- REST API connector to connect with any REST API
- Workflow creation tools that any ETL beginner can use
- Advanced security, encryption, and compliance
- Email alerts without no additional configuration needed
- Scalability through a dynamically-created clusters
- Amazing user support by telephone and video chat for all service level commitments
- Two-way Salesforce to Salesforce integrations
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Xplenty is its amazing customer support team. From the very beginning, you’ll be assigned a Pre-Sales Engineer to guide you through a proof of concept and verify that Xplenty will meet your requirements. After signing up, you’ll be assigned a Success Engineer to help you create an Impact Plan, debug issues, set up integrations, design workflows, and share best practices for the smoothest implementation possible.
At the end of the day, Xplenty’s unique combination of sophisticated, enterprise-grade ETL, ease of use, affordability, and stellar customer support has empowered countless customers to say goodbye to overpriced ETL platforms once and for all.
Xplenty has a 4.4-star out of 5-star rating on G2Crowd. Here’s what users are saying about the platform:
“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.”
“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.”
“Xplenty is on PAR with enterprise-level tools.”
Now that you have an overview of Talend vs. Xplenty, let’s compare them from several different angles.
Every ETL platform needs to make tough choices when designing their user interfaces. Most have to choose between a UI design that’s “intuitive and user-friendly” or “made for data engineers only.” In Talend’s case, the UI was built with experienced developers in mind. This is fine for Talend engineers, who can breeze through the platform with ease. Nevertheless, ETL beginners struggle with the easiest tasks when trying to use Talend.
Here’s a sample of Talend’s UI:
(Video Source: Youtube Channel Edurika)
To make matters worse, Talend doesn’t offer the kind of hand-holding that Xplenty support provides. Users who don’t sign up for a high enough paid tier will not even be able to call and speak with a support representative by voice. Many users find the lack of quality support frustrating.
Finally, most users attest that the free version of Talend is more like a preview, and it’s only useful for simple tasks. To experience the full power of Talend’s GUI, you’ll need to upgrade to Talend Data Fabric, which gives you more pre-built connectors, machine learning tools, better data quality management, and more.
Here are some reviews on user-friendliness:
“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.”
“[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.
“There can be minor improvements in UI and a tour to guide through the most basic features of Talend should be given when somebody first opens it.”
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Everything about Xplenty’s graphical user interface was designed to keep things as intuitive and straightforward as possible for ETL beginners, without sacrificing any of the power and customization capabilities of an enterprise-grade ETL platform.
This is precisely why a recent customer chose Xplenty instead of Talend. Before using Xplenty, they struggled to get their integrations up and running on the Talend platform. Then they saw how simple it was to integrate their pipeline with Xplenty. They were able to set up an ETL pipeline that iterates through an external API, formats the JSON response, and pushes it to their database. They couldn’t believe how simple it was.
Xplenty’s point-and-click, no-code interface simplifies the process of building custom data pipelines. By clicking through the integration steps, users who are new to data integration can set primary keys, define data fields, set API parameters, and schedule the frequency of data loads. Xplenty users also benefit from a long list of out-of-the-box preload transformations.
Don’t know what any of this means? This is where Xplenty’s amazing support team comes in to help.
Here’s a quick sample of the UI:
(Video Source: Youtube Channel Xplenty)
Here’s what users say about the Xplenty UI:
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Talend Customer Support
As previously stated, if you don’t opt for a paid version of Talend, you will not receive any customer support services. According to the Talend webpage, “As part of your paid Talend subscription, you automatically receive either Gold or Platinum Customer Support Service.” The Gold tier receives email support only. The Platinum and Diamond tiers qualify for telephone support with a live person. Only the Diamond support tier offers “Enhanced Response Times.”
Even Talend subscribers who qualify for customer support complain that the quality and responsiveness is not up to par. Here’s what they’re saying:
“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.”
“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.”
“...the support sometimes was not up to par to resolve issues quickly, and had to a few times, completely reinstall the server-side setup.”
Xplenty Customer Support
The quality, availability, and responsiveness of Xplenty support is a significant area of difference between these platforms. Xplenty offers customer support to all users regardless of their service-level commitment. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a single integration between Salesforce and a data warehouse – or managing 1,000 ETL pipelines for a complex IT architecture – Xplenty support is always there to solve your integration challenges.
Since all Xplenty customers receive unlimited telephone, video conferencing, email, and text support, you’ll never be left in the dark. As a team, you and your dedicated integration specialist will explore the Xplenty platform, set up new integrations, design workflow pipelines, overcome challenges, and establish a meaningful working relationship.
Here’s what reviewers say about Xplenty 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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The free version of Talend, “Open Studio,” is a great way to test out the platform, but most users will need to upgrade to the paid version if they want to move beyond basic ETL projects.
Unfortunately, once you upgrade, Talend has a reputation for being expensive. The greater your business requirements, the more it will cost. Talend determines its pricing on a case-by-case basis, so you’ll need to contact a sales representative to negotiate your custom billing arrangements. While some users could be spending as little as several thousand dollars a month for Talend, it’s not uncommon for large enterprises to spend millions of dollars a year.
Talend comes with auxiliary costs as well:
- Contracting fees if you need assistance creating your integrations and workflows.
- The time it takes to get your integrations running.
- The staffing requirements to maintain the platform.
In a lot of cases the true cost of using Talend is found in these auxiliary expenditures, which dwarf the actual 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.”
Here’s what users are saying about Talend costs:
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.
“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.”
Xplenty’s flat-rate pricing structure is transparent, affordable, and predictable. Instead of charging by data volume, the platform has a fixed rate per connector. You can send an unlimited amount of data through an integration without increasing your monthly bill.
Xplenty’s price predictability makes budgeting for ETL simple and predictable. Best of all, Xplenty is dramatically less expensive than Talend. Many users pay as little as $1,200 per month for a handful of integrations. No matter your service level, Xplenty gives you unlimited data flows at the frequency you desire.
If you want to give Xplenty a test spin, try the free 2-week pilot with no restrictions.
Here’s what users say about Xplenty’s price:
“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.”
“If you aren't running a massive amount of real-time integrations then it is cost-effective.”
Final Thoughts on Talend vs. Xplenty
Talend is built for experienced developers. ETL beginners and new developers who lack the requisite data engineering skills and training will struggle to achieve anything meaningful with the platform. Therefore, enterprises that use Talend have to invest a considerable amount of time and money into hiring and training skilled staff to operate the platform. This expense, and Talend’s exorbitant licensing fees and other costs, make the platform prohibitively expensive for most small- to medium-sized firms.
In comparison, Xplenty offers the perfect balance between enterprise-grade ETL, affordability, and ease of use. In fact, Xplenty is so easy to use that even ETL beginners – who have never programmed a single line of code – can quickly learn to build complex integrations with the platform.
Want to try Xplenty for yourself? Sign up for a 2-week pilot of Xplenty and try the platform for free!