Most businesses have data stored in a variety of locations, from in-house databases to SaaS platforms. To get a full picture of their finances and operations, they pull data from all those sources into a data warehouse or data lake and run analytics against it. But they don't want to build and maintain their own data pipelines.
Fortunately, it’s not necessary to code everything in-house. Here's an comparison of two such tools, head to head.
Altova sells a range of products: desktop development tools, server software, mobile development software, and regulatory solutions. The desktop development tools are available in a bundle as Altova MissionKit, or individually. They include:
- MapForce — graphical data mapping, conversion, and integration tool
- XMLspy — graphical schema designer that includes a code generator, file converters, and debuggers
- StyleVision — a tool for designing reports and forms based on XML, database, and XBRL inputs
- UModel — UML application modeler that generates Java, C++, C#, or Visual Basic .NET code and project documentation
- DatabaseSpy — multi-database query, design, and database comparison tool
- DiffDog — diff / merge utility for files, directories, and database schemas and tables
- SchemaAgent — tool for analyzing and managing relationships among XML-based files
Stitch Data Loader is a cloud-based platform for ETL — extract, transform, and load. More than 3,000 companies use Stitch to move billions of records every day from SaaS applications and databases into data warehouses and data lakes, where it can be analyzed with BI tools. Stitch is a Talend company and is part of the Talend Data Fabric.
|Focus||Transformations||Data ingestion, ELT|
|Database replication||Full table; incremental via hand-coded SELECT statements||Full table; incremental via change data capture or SELECT/replication keys|
|SaaS sources||None||More than 100|
|Ability for customers to add new data sources||No||Yes|
|Connects to data warehouses? Data lakes?||No / No||Yes / Yes|
|G2 customer satisfaction||4.5/5||4.8/5 (+6%)|
|Purchase process||Options for self-service and talking with sales||Options for self-service or talking with sales. Also available from the AWS store.|
|Compliance, governance, and security certifications||None||HIPAA, GDPR, SOC 2|
|Data sharing||No||Yes, through Talend Data Fabric|
|Vendor lock-in||Month to month or annual contracts. Open source integrations|
|Developer tools||COM-based API (Component Object Module)||Import API, Stitch Connect API for integrating Stitch with other platforms, Singer open source project|
Let's dive into some of the details of each platform.
Altova MapForce is a data transformation tool. It's a Windows-based IDE that enables you to transform data from one format to another, or from one schema to another, by means of a drag-and-drop user interface. It supports only XSLT (eXtensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) in its Basic Edition, but Professional and Enterprise editions add support for XQuery, Java, C#, C++, and MapForce's proprietary BUILT-IN transformation language.
Stitch is an ELT product. Within the pipeline, Stitch does only transformations that are required for compatibility with the destination, such as translating data types or denesting data when relevant. Stitch is part of Talend, which also provides tools for transforming data either within the data warehouse or via external processing engines such as Spark and MapReduce. Transformations can be defined in SQL, Python, Java, or via graphical user interface.
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Connectors: Data sources and destinations
Each of these tools supports a variety of data sources and destinations.
Altova MapForce maps data between XML, database, EDI, XBRL, flat file, Excel, JSON, and/or web service, then transforms data or autogenerates data integration code for future execution. MapForce supports different sources and destinations depending on the edition used. Basic Edition supports only XML, XML Schema, and HL7 electronic health information (EHI) files. Professional Edition adds support for flat files and relational databases. Enterprise Edition adds support for EDI formats, JSON files, Excel 2007 and later, and XBRL. None of the editions supports data warehouses or data lakes as sources or targets.
Stitch supports more than 100 database and SaaS integrations as data sources, and eight data warehouse and data lake destinations. Customers can contract with Stitch to build new sources, and anyone can add a new source to Stitch by developing it according to the standards laid out in Singer, an open source toolkit for writing scripts that move data. Singer integrations can be run independently, regardless of whether the user is a Stitch customer. Running Singer integrations on Stitch’s platform allows users to take advantage of Stitch's monitoring, scheduling, credential management, and autoscaling features.
Support, documentation, and training
Data integration tools can be complex, so vendors offer several ways to help their customers. Online documentation is the first resource users often turn to, and support teams can answer questions that aren't covered in the docs. Vendors of the more complicated tools may also offer training services.
Altova MapForce provides support through a web-based form. Product consulting, including telephone support, is available for an hourly fee. Documentation is provided in the form of PDF-format manuals available for download, and an online version of the same information. The company provides online training materials.
Stitch provides in-app chat support to all customers, and phone support is available for Enterprise customers. Support SLAs are available. Documentation is comprehensive and is open source — anyone can contribute additions and improvements or repurpose the content. Stitch does not provide training services.
Altova provides a 30-day free trial of MapForce (in a bundle with its entire line of developer tools). Licenses start at $999 for one installed user. Altova also prices the software per concurrent user or named user, and sells 5-, 10-, 20-, and 50-user licenses of each type. A support and maintenance package is available at additional cost.
Stitch has pricing that scales to fit a wide range of budgets and company sizes. All new users get an unlimited 14-day trial. Standard plans range from $100 to $1,250 per month depending on scale, with discounts for paying annually. Enterprise plans for larger organizations and mission-critical use cases can include custom features, data volumes, and service levels, and are priced individually.
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Which tool is better overall? That's something every organization has to decide based on its unique requirements, but we can help you get started. Sign up now for a free trial of Stitch.