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November 15, 2010

ETL tool: Out of the Box or Custom?

Filed under: ETL — Katherine Vasilega @ 7:08 am

As companies seek for software to fit their data integration needs, the first question they need to decide upon is whether to build a custom or to obtain an out of the box ETL tool. The best answer to this question is simple: it depends on your situation. In any case, both approaches have to be carefully examined. I offer you to consider some advantages and disadvantages of each method.

Out of the Box ETL Tool

The primary reason to obtain an out of the box ETL tool is that it helps companies minimize time and cost required for developing the proprietary code. Many companies are confident that vendor ETL tools are more effective at delivering projects on time and within budget. There are also other advantages, such as a wide range of rich built-in features; the ability to be reused for future projects; simplicity of ETL processes maintenance.

On the other hand, a lot of time spent on evaluation, selection and learning of the product can be a disadvantage of ETL vendor tools. Training costs and support fees, as well as not fitting 100% to your business needs are also among the drawbacks.

Custom ETL Tool

Some organizations believe that custom software saves time and money on support and maintenance of their data warehouse, because custom ETL tools are 100% geared to their business needs. More flexibility for complex data sources and transformation mappings are also among the advantages of custom ETL tools. Meanwhile, time needed for the development life cycle is a big disadvantage of custom ETL tools. Also, these tools don’t provide all the rich functionality of ETL software packages and can be hardly reused for different projects.

Each approach has its own particular features across industries and they vary a lot depending on your requirements. Just keep in mind that the general tendency of the efficient ETL tool is to integrate data quickly, practically, and cost-effectively.

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