Fivetran has become a popular tool for efficiently processing and transforming data. The automated data pipeline and ETL solution are used by organizations of various sizes and industry backgrounds, including large enterprises such as Logitech and Penguin Random House.
Fivetran is a great fit for certain types of users, but there are some pros and cons to consider before investing in a Fivetran plan. In this review, we’ll cover those positives and negatives, as well as some key features, pricing information, and possible Fivetran alternatives.
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What is Fivetran?
five-tran is a low-code ETL tool that automates the ETL process and includes dozens of pre-built connectors for popular data sources such as Microsoft Azure, SalesForce, and Facebook. Pre-built data models also make it easy to transform and export data.
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Fivetran is designed to make ETL more accessible and efficient. It automates most of the ETL process so that one person can do the work of an entire team of data engineers. Some knowledge of SQL is useful to use Fivetran, but you don’t need any coding expertise for most tasks.
Fivetran key features
With the features packed into Fivetran, you can essentially automate the entire data pipeline. Dozens of out-of-the-box connectors are ready to use for many of today’s most popular data sources. Fivetran’s developers are also always adding more connectors, and users can request a connector or create their own if one isn’t already available.
Once data is synced through one of the Fivetran connectors, you can use one more than 40 pre-built data models to automate data transformation and loading. While there are fewer out-of-the-box models than connectors, models are available for some of the most commonly used data sources, such as QuickBooks, Salesforce, and Hubspot.
Fivetran datasets can currently be exported to the following 10 destinations:
- Azure Synapse.
- SQL server.
Users can request to add a new destination if it is not yet available. Fivetran also includes tools for quickly and easily replicating datasets and databases. Built-in security features ensure data is protected throughout the ETL pipeline.
Pros and Cons of Fivetran
How do Fivetran’s key features stack up? Are there any downsides to using this low-code ETL tool? Consider these pros and cons before committing to a Fivetran plan.
Benefits of Fivetran
Fivetran is a very useful platform for those who want to streamline their data pipelines without spending hours writing SQL statements. Fivetran’s sheer convenience is its biggest advantage: if you work with data from popular sources, such as Microsoft Azure or Facebook, all the tools you need are already available and ready to use in Fivetran, with little to no coding required for ETL.
The pre-built connectors and models make it easy for anyone to harness the value of their data, regardless of their SQL knowledge. This can open up invaluable new opportunities, such as channeling data insights from Fivetran into machine learning or AI algorithms for automating other business processes. Data mining is an essential part of developing machine learning algorithms, and Fivetran’s pre-built ETL tools can dramatically simplify the data analysis process.
Fivetran also has security features that ensure all your data is safe while moving between sources and clouds. Users get private networks, meaning your data is isolated from other Fivetran users. Identity and access management features are also included, allowing you to manage permissions for different users of your Fivetran subscription. This feature is especially useful at Standard and Enterprise levels, where unlimited users are available.
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Fivetran meets today’s most important security and privacy standards, including SOC 2 auditing, HIPAA, ISO 27001, GDPR and CCPA. This makes it easier to ensure that you and your organization are addressing key security and regulatory compliance challenges. Having all of your data easily accessible through Fivetran can simplify auditing processes.
Disadvantages of Fivetran
If you’re using Fivetran, you probably want an ETL solution that doesn’t require coding. Fivetran can serve this purpose, but only to an extent, as you are somewhat limited in what you can do with Fivetran if you don’t know how to code your own connectors and models.
If you want to use data from currently supported sources that already have pre-built connectors and models, it will be a piece of cake. Unfortunately, if the data source you want to work with does not have Fivetran pre-built support, you will need coding knowledge to create custom connectors and models.
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Users can request Fivetran to add a new connector or pre-built model, but there is no guarantee that Fivetran will do so, especially if the data source in question is not widely used by the vendor’s other customers.
Customer service can also be a challenge with Fivetran. Some users have commented that using Fivetran has been a positive experience in many ways, but they have had issues with customer service billing and communication. This may not be an issue for all users, but customer service is important to keep in mind if you anticipate needing help getting started or resolving technical issues.
Fivetran’s pricing model is based on the amount of data you process through the platform; the cost to each user depends entirely on how much data they sync. However, there is a volume discount, so the price per row of data decreases as you sync more rows. Specifically, you’re priced based on how many rows you insert, update, or delete each month.
There are four main prize tiers available: Starter, Standard Select, Standard and Enterprise. The main difference between these tiers is the additional features that are added as you move up the chain, such as priority customer support, additional data management optionsfaster syncs and unlimited users.
The cost of using Fivetran will increase as the volume of your data syncs increase, regardless of the price point. A two-week free trial is also available.
Fivetran is popular, but it’s not the only high-quality ETL tool on the market today. There are a few important alternatives to consider before investing in a Fivetran plan.
If you are already a Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services user, consider the ETL programs from Microsoft and Amazon. from Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services is a well-optimized and very effective tool for ETL tasks, although it is not a low-code platform. If you have experience with SQL, SSIS may be a more streamlined and flexible platform compared to Fivetran.
Similarly, Amazon users have a great Fivetran alternative in AWS Glue. This ETL tool has an advantage over Microsoft SSIS because of its automated code generation features, which remove some coding barriers for ETL jobs.
Other Fivetran alternatives worth considering are Informatica PowerCenter, Denodo Platform, and Safe Software FME.
Fivetran: A hit or miss low-code ETL solution?
Fivetran is a great option for certain users, but there are better alternatives for users with other data skill levels and project needs. If you and your team members do not have extensive coding knowledge and work primarily with data sources that Fivetran already supports, this is one of the best ETL tools available today.
Users pulling data from sources not currently supported by Fivetran will find the platform lacking. If you or your team has SQL expertise, it may be worth looking at alternative platforms that offer a bit more flexibility compared to Fivetran.
Overall, Fivetran is an accessible and effective ETL tool that provides the core features needed for data analysis and data warehousing in the cloud.
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