Top Data Integration Tools for 2021: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

At Panoply, we've made it our mission to be data integration experts. We collected the data and collated a list of all the top data integration tools to help you integrate all your data quickly and cost-effectively. 

Unlike data integration tool lists from the likes of Gartner and others, this list focuses on helping you get started with generating useful business insights as quickly as possible, depending on the use case and budget. 

Some of these tools will be more helpful than others depending on on your organization's size and how much data you work with on a day-to-day basis. 

What is data integration?

Data integration is essentially a tool or a technique to quickly and consistently achieve a 360-degree view of enterprise-wide data. Data integration issues often come up when multiple systems generate large volumes of data in complex data center environments. 

To derive real value, we have to understand the data in aggregate and not in isolation. In this scenario, data integration tools help push data from raw, fragmented, and disparate sources into a central destination for analysis. This approach ensures that the data you work with is accurate, current, complete, reliable, and ready for evaluation and reporting. 

When it works as intended, you can track business data down to the most minute detail, but if every relevant piece of data you need isn't readily available, the quality of your insights could seriously suffer. 

Although this may sound like a no-brainer, the reality is that, without good data practices in place, relevant information can quickly become siloed, fragmented across teams, or simply forgotten because no one's looked at it in a while. 

If you're facing these types of problems in your data analytics flow, one or more of the data integration tools described below might provide the perfect solution. 

Top data integration tools 

1. Panoply

Panoply is a data integration solution, ETL tool, and data warehouse. What stands out about Panoply is enhanced usability that allows teams with different skill levels to get started quickly. 

With a wide range of data sources with pre-built integrations, Panoply can handle just about anything from flat files to S3 buckets and beyond. You can also easily integrate data from various third-party sources, including Facebook, Google AnalyticsInstagram, and many more. 

Panoply is completely cloud-based and boast a web-based interface that's easily accessible to team members with a wide range of technical skill levels. Plus, Panoply is one of the least expensive solutions on this list, making it a perfect solution for smaller organizations without the budget for an extensive data engineering team. 

Panoply price: a free trial is available; see all pricing options.

2. Informatica PowerCenter

Informatica PowerCenter is a unique end-to-end data integration platform known for its powerful automation capabilities. PowerCenter uses a metadata-driven approach to integration that accelerates data ingestion, migration, validation, and processing. However, finding the right balance between making ETL data accessible while maintaining control can be problematic. 

PowerCenter supports multiple DBMS technologies and is one of the leading tools in this category. However, Informatica's data integration offerings are quite pricey (and in the six-figure range for licenses), but they're an industry leader and with good reason. If you're looking for a data integration solution for a large, well-resourced organization, or if you're dealing with a lot of legacy on-premise data sources, Informatica PowerCenter might be the best option for you.

Informatica PowerCenter price: starts at $2,000 per month, and a free trial is available.

3. Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)

Microsoft SSIS is a popular ETL and data integration tool that boasts a user-friendly GUI for managing integrations using MS SQL Server. This easy-to-use interface allows users to deploy integrated data warehousing solutions without writing much code. SSIS offers a simple drag-and-drop ETL for multiple data types and warehouse destinations, including non-Microsoft databases. 

As it's ubiquitous and ships with SQL Server, you might already have SSIS. Even if you don't, engineering teams are known to purchase a license just to get access to this robust tool that works great for organizations with a mix of technical skill levels. It's equally useful for ETL wizards and point-and-click types alike.

SSIS price: starting at $931–$15,000, and a free trial is available. 

4. Talend

Talend's Open Studio is an open-source data integration tool that offers both a free and a commercial version. Perfect for both technical and non-technical users, Open Studio brings together both on-premise and cloud-based data sources. 

Open Studio comes with flexible self-service tools, an extensive component library, pre-built templates, and hundreds of connectors and integrations for commonly used technologies out of the box, including Azure, AWS, Dropbox, Salesforce, and social media APIs. Pricing for Talend is on a per-user basis. If you're looking for a versatile but not particularly cheap data integration tool, Talend may be right for you.

Talend price: $1,170 per user, per month or $12,000 annually, and a free basic option is available.

5. Census

Census was the first of a category of Operational Analytics tools that defined the “reverse ETL” process. The data pipeline tool makes it easy to send data from a data warehouse to apps like Salesforce, Zendesk, and Hubspot. 

Unlike ETL (or ELT) tools that sync data from source systems to a data warehouse, the approach is much more dependent on clean and modeled data. Census allows users to write SQL queries to define what data is synced to the destination tools to ensure that the data that ends up in the destination systems is trustworthy.

Finally, the tool’s built-in dbt integration allows users to schedule syncs from the warehouse to the destination tool every time a dbt model has updated. This ensures that the data that Census syncs to the destination tools is as fresh as possible.

Census price: available upon request; a free tier with 1 data warehouse connection and 2 team members is available.

6. Denodo

Denodo is a platform that provides a variety of data management flavors like Agile BI, logical data lakes, and highly customizable logical data warehouses. Built with SQL, Denodo users might find the interface similar to relational databases. Denodo's approach to data integration relies on data virtualization, which allows it to connect all sorts of data sources, from on-premise repositories to legacy systems to cloud sources. 

Denodo's approach generates searchable metadata for every data source in the resulting virtualization layer. This makes it much easier for data seekers to collect and discover the information they need for analysis. 

Denodo's offering is customizable for industry verticals like healthcare, oil and gas, and government. If you're operating in a regulated industry or working within a government agency, Denodo could be the best option for you.

Denodo price: pricing for specific plans available on request, and a 30-day free trial is available.

7. IBM Infosphere

IBM Infosphere is an information integration platform that provides colossal parallel processing capabilities. This highly scalable and flexible integration tool makes data warehousing and business intelligence operations effortless. Infosphere is a complete solution, offering ETL, data warehousing (based on IBM’s iconic DB2, naturally), and metadata management. Web-based apps like Metadata Workbench and Business Glossary are often used to control processes associated with Infosphere. 

As a leading integration solution from IBM, Infosphere really shines when it comes to ETL. It allows users to connect to a wide variety of data sources while handling unstructured data reasonably well. Pricing can vary significantly depending on your implementation and can be out of reach for most small and medium-sized businesses.

IBM Infosphere price: can vary depending on use, and a free tier is available.

8. Qlik Replicate 

Known as Attunity Connect before Qlik acquired it, Qlik Replicate helps enterprises simplify, automate, and fast-track data integration from cloud and on-premise sources. So, if you were looking for an integrator like Attunity Connect that works well with legacy systems and a wide range of platforms like Windows, UNIX, Linux, HP NonStop, and Mainframe systems, Qlik Replicate fits the bill.

Qlik Replicate is also supported by a wide range of tools and an extensive list of data sources through its integrations following a DataOps approach. This method helps accelerate the discovery and availability of analytics-ready data for cataloging, refining, and publishing.

The Qlik Data Integration Platform enables continuous, real-time data ingestion, and streaming which may be useful for enterprise-level operations but could be excessive for small and medium-sized businesses.

Qlik Replicate price: available upon request, and a free trial is available.

 

9. Hitachi Vantara 

Hitachi Vantara, a two-time leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant, offers data integration solutions perfect for IoT projects. A couple of years ago, this solution came in the form of Pentaho Data Integration. However, Hitachi Data Systems, Pentaho, and Hitachi Insight Group have merged to provide everything you need in one central platform called Lumada Data Integration.

Hitachi Vantara has something to offer for every level of data infrastructure, from storage to a full-featured data analytics suite. If your company is working with IoT data, you might want to consider Hitachi Vantara as you'll benefit from the Hitachi Insight Group's extensive experience in this space. However, pricing can vary quite a bit depending on your specific needs.

Hitachi Vantara price: available upon request.

10. SAP Data Services 

SAP Data Services, formally known as SAP BusinessObjects Data Services (BODS), is a set of tools that enables users to integrate data from both SAP and non-SAP data sources. These include relational databases, individual files, big data sources like Hadoop and NoSQL databases, and SAP Systems like ERP and HANA. This enterprise-class solution makes it easy to ensure data quality, delivering the right level of insights across departments.

You'll also benefit from SAP's end-to-end metadata tracking that allows you to trace any element of a report right back to the data source. It also provides insights into the transformations that occurred and what was used to calculate them. 

SAP is known for building enormous solutions for large enterprise clients, so it'll undoubtedly be overkill for smaller businesses. SAP Data Services pricing varies by the number of CPU cores used, so you'll have to reach out to get a better grasp of their pricing.

SAP Data Services price: available upon request, and they also offer a free software product trial.

11. InterSystems Ensemble

InterSystems has been around for decades. Founded in 1978, the company launched its Ensemble data integration platform around 18 years ago with a standard suite of integration tools. The integration platform also comes with an enterprise service bus, business process management protocols, event processing, and (of course) data analytics.

Ensemble's main selling point is that it minimizes the complexity often associated with data integration projects. InterSystems also created a productive developer community around its products through InterSystems Atelier, its plug-in for the Eclipse development framework. 

Ensemble is best suited for regulated industries with mission-critical applications, multiple language support, transactional data analysis, and SQL integration. It's also a suitable tool for highly regulated healthcare data. 

If you work with medical records or other sensitive data, buying into the InterSystems ecosystem could make things significantly easier. Ensemble licenses are priced according to platform type, so you'll have to reach out to them for pricing information.

InterSystems Ensemble price: available upon request.

12. Dell Boomi AtomSphere

Developed initially by Boomi and later acquired by Dell, AtomSphere uses a fully graphical interface for drag-and-drop data integration and management. This multi-tenant platform supports numerous application integrations as a service, making AtomSphere more accessible for SMBs and large enterprises.

Like several data integration platforms on this list, AtomSphere has an extensive suite of built-in connectors and APIs, but what stands out is the no-code graphical interface design that makes it accessible to a wide range of technical skill levels. 

Best suited to move and manage data across hybrid IT architectures, AtomSphere integrations are organized as distinct "atoms." This means you can set up integrations across multiple components of your data system (on-premise, in the cloud, or private cloud) and connect them into a "molecule" for load balancing and high availability. 

Dell Boomi AtomSphere price: starts at $550 per month, and a 30-day free trial is available.

13. Astera Centerprise

Astera's Centerprise integration platform is a Windows-based on-premise solution with a drag-and-drop graphical user interface that makes it easier for non-technical team members to use. Designed to allow business users to work directly on data integration and management tasks, Centerprise, in theory, cuts down the latency of analytics-based business decisions by taking the IT department out of the loop. 

Centerprise is extensible and equipped to work on both legacy and modern systems. It has several pre-built connectors for data tasks and works well with unstructured data, using the Astera ReportMiner system to extract relevant data from various document types. Pricing varies depending on the number of licenses and users, subscription being perpetual or periodic, and a mix of other features. Quotes are based on requirements and use-cases. 

Astera Centerprise price: available upon request, and they also offer a free trial.

How to choose the right data integration tool

Choosing the right data integration tool can be challenging when considering the sheer number of options available today. However, it's important to make an educated decision to ensure that it fits your business use case, budgets, and skill sets. 

Before committing, consider how your data sources will be supported at scale. It's essential to choose a tool that can grow with you as your business scales and your data becomes more complicated. 

Data extracted from disparate sources can also come in different formats. This makes it important to find a tool that quickly transforms the data to engage in meaningful analysis

Finally, even if you don't operate in a regulated industry vertical, it's important to choose a tool that helps ensure privacy and security.

Data integration tools: The TL;DR

  • Large enterprises with massive data sets are probably best off with tools like Informatica, Oracle, IBM, SAP, or Hitachi. 
  • Government, healthcare, and other verticals with specialized or sensitive data may have better luck with Denodo, Hitachi Vantara, or InterSystems Ensemble.
  • Companies looking for ease of use should check out SSIS, Panoply, Dell Boomi AtomSphere, or Astera Centerprise.
  • Cost-conscious organizations should go for Panoply or Dell Boomi AtomSphere.

At Panoply, we’re passionate about achieving seamless and affordable data integration. To get a feel for what we do, start a 14-day free trial or request a personalized demo.

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