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Rolls Royce is synonymous with power, reliability and dependability. What many may be surprised about, is that the engine manufacturer that powers some of the world’s largest airplanes and ships (they split from the car manufacturer of the same name in the 70’s) is one of the world’s leaders in data analysis. Says chief scientific officer Paul Stein, “At our new factory in Singapore we are generating half a terabyte of manufacturing data on each individual fan blade”.
The data analysts at Rolls Royce are drawing information from a massive amount of sensors, customer data, and other sources, and are using their analysis for everything from manufacturing, to testing products under simulated conditions, and predictive maintenance.
Many organizations today face similar challenges. Drawing large amounts of data from many different sources, and then analyzing this data to provide data-driven business insights.
To accomplish this, the most common process of gathering the data and then having it available in a way that can add the most value, is the ETL process. ETL (Extract, Transform, Load), is the process of extracting the data from the various sources – in the Rolls Royce case it would be from the various sensors, customer data, and so on – transforming the data so that it is standardized, and then loading it, for example into a data warehouse where analysis can be performed on this data.
What Are ETL Tools?
ETL tools are commercial and open-source means to add value or accomplish tasks throughout the ETL process steps. This can be through the ETL testing process, linking a Business Intelligence (BI) tool, or carrying out part of the ETL process itself. With companies integrating huge amounts of data, there are specific ETL Tools for Big Data.
For example, some organizations prefer to manually code the ETL process steps from start to finish, which can result in significant inefficiencies and frustrations, as well as potentially high costs and tying up other important resources.
The Importance of ETL Tools To Data Analysts
The right ETL tool can be the decisive factor when it comes to giving organizations the edge.
Other benefits of using the best ETL tools, especially cloud ETL tools, include scalability, where the tool handles the increases in data and added complexities of new data sources; ensuring all your data is is one place, and that you don’t have some data in the cloud, and some on-prem; real-time data flow, that isn’t held up as you scramble to adapt with your own, in-house solution; not being bogged down with constant maintenance, where developers spend precious time ensuring the process actually works; and ensuring compliance with the latest standards and legislation such as GDPR and HIPAA. For more, check out our ETL tutorial.
The Definitive ETL Tools List
Stitch is a powerful cloud-first, developer-focused platform for rapidly moving data. The tool provides a self-service ETL data pipeline solution, and is built specifically for developers. The Stitch API can replicate data from any source, as well as handling bulk and incremental data updates.
Stitch, which is built on open source Singer, supports data integration from a wide variety of sources, and integrates with many data warehouses and analysis tools. It can connect to Amazon Redshift and Google BigQuery among others, and integrates with many commonly used BI tools.
Blendo is a tool that enables you to integrate your data in minutes, with no coding required or maintenance required, and no ETL scripts. It is built especially for more non-technical users, allowing users to collect data from any cloud service and load it into their data warehouse. Blendo optimizes your data according to your data warehouse, ensuring that the data is readily available for analysis purposes. The tool also lets you choose how often you want to pull data from your chosen source, and monitor your usage.
Fivetran helps you to quickly replicate all your business data to your data warehouse, without the need for maintenance, configuration, or data pipelines. Connect almost any data source, from Facebook ads to Zendesk, without having to write tons of code. With your own, owned data from your various sources, the tool ensures you never lose access to information even if you stop using a source application.
At its core, Fivetran is a fully-managed data pipeline that integrates data from SaaS services and databases into a single data warehouse. Data is sent over a secure connection, using a sophisticated caching layer.
Matillion is an ETL tool that was built specifically for use with Google BigQuery and Amazon Redshift. It allows you to integrate with a number of sources, including many Amazon integration options (it comes with a large selection of pre-built connectors). Due to its integrations with the Amazon ecosystem, it’s best suited to organizations already using Amazon products.
Panoply is an autonomous data warehouse build for analytics professionals, by analytics professionals. With a smart cloud data warehouse that automates the collection, modeling, and scaling of any data, data analysts can have everything they need with this one tool.
First off, data can be collected with zero coding. This includes data from almost any source you can imagine, be it Salesforce, Facebook Ads, or anything in-between. All you have to do is select your data source, and Panoply does the rest. What’s more, data is automatically modeled inside Panoply. So as new types of data become available, they're instantly added to your cloud data warehouse.
Panoply seamlessly connects you to any BI tool you need, so you can start visualizing, analyzing, and sharing data insights in just minutes. And with Panoply’s dashboard, you get full transparency into your data pipeline. Monitor all your data sources, saved queries, and connected BI tools in one place, and easily schedule data uploads.
Take Your Business To New Heights
ETL tools, and specifically the 5 best ETL tools we’ve listed above, are critical for data analysts to know and understand. Like Rolls Royce have discovered, data analysis can drive a business forward, with insights into everything from customer behavior and acquisition, to safety issues and identifying new markets.
Leveraging these 5 essential ETL tools, your organization will be able to take advantage of the data available, and be set up for future success.