What is an ETL Tool & Why Do You Need It?


ETL tool is an asset for any data-driven business in 2020. Whether they want to migrate bulk data from on-premise or legacy systems to the cloud, or need real-time streaming, they need an ETL tool to get the job done.

In this article, we will discuss what is an ETL tool and how can it make the data migration process easy?

Key points covered in this article:

-         What is an ETL tool?

-         Why ETL Tools are important for business?


-         Types of ETL Tools

What is an ETL Tools?

An ETL tool is used to perform Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) operations. It can extract data from disparate sources, add relevant transformations to this data to make it compatible with the destination format, and then loads this data into the destination storage unit. In some cases this data can be on the cloud so we will call it a cloud migration.

The complete process of ETL is used for data integration tasks. Businesses have units working on different data formats, each data format needs to be combined into a single data warehouse for business insights and visualizations at the end of the business period. This gives business managers and all C-level executives a holistic view of their data.

Companies often buy these ETL tools and then use them on a per-task basis. Or, they get subscription to cloud ETL tools and use them on a per-minute basis. Of course, the first one offers them more options and since there is only a one-time cost, these tools are a lot cost-effective in the long term.

Why ETL Tools are important for business?

ETL operation have always been performed by businesses through ETL teams. Before the use of ETL tools, a single ETL task took days and sometimes weeks to complete. It was because connectors for databases were not readily available. It was hard to migrate data from as COBOL database to an IBM DB 2 database.

But today, with the help of these ETL tools, you can conduct the same job within seconds.

ETL tools offer data mapping that allows you to create data flows for each data migration task. Once the data is mapped, you just have to run the data flow to make it work.

Here is how a simple dataflow looks like in AsteraCenterprise Data integrator, one of the best ETL tools available in the market.

What is an ETL Tool Why Do You Need It

If you look closely, the data flow includes a data map of an extraction from a database into an excel file by applying relevant transformations to the data. This is done to make the data compatible with the destination file format.

Types of ETL Tools

There are multiple ETL tools available in the market, each serving a different purpose. Let’s discuss each one of them.

Batch ETL Tools

These tools are used to extract bulk data from one or more data sources and then load them to a database. The data is loaded in batches because these tools are not made for real-time data processing. However, they can apply transformations and filters to the data all in a single go. Since they offer batch processing, they are cost-effective.

Real-Time ETL Tools

Most data-centric companies use real-time data extraction ETL tools. These type of ETL tools offer two ways to transfer data, ETL vs ELT. In the first case, data is transformed and then loaded to the destination system. In the second case, data is loaded to the destination system and then transformed.

These tools are a lot faster than batch processing ETL tools. Financial companies use these ETL tools because a slight delay in financial digits can cause loss of billions in the financial market.

They are costly in comparison with the batch processing tools.

On-Premise ETL Tools

A large number of companies operate legacy systems that have both the data and the repository configured on-premise. The main reason behind such an implementation is data security. That’s why, companies prefer having an ETL tool that can be deployed on-site.

Cloud ETL Tools

Various cloud-based applications form an essential part of enterprise architecture. To manage data transfer from these apps, companies opt for ETL tools deployed in the cloud. These tools let them leverage the flexibility and agility that the cloud arrangement provides.

Which ETL Tool to choose for your business?

The best way to figure out which ETL tool will work best for your business is to ascertain your business requirements. You can then make a correct estimate about whether you need a cloud ETl tool or an on-premise ETL tool, or one that has both these features.

AsteraCenterprise is one such tool that offers both batch and real-time processing and has the capability to work on on-premise systems and on the cloud. Download a free trial of this tool and see it in action.

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