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 three such tools, head to head.

About Azure Data Factory

Azure Data Factory is a cloud-based data integration service for creating ETL and ELT pipelines. It allows users to create data processing workflows in the cloud,either through a graphical interface or by writing code, for orchestrating and automating data movement and data transformation.

Stitch and Talend partner closely with Microsoft. While this page details our products that have some overlapping functionality and the differences between them, we're more complementary than we are competitive. Microsoft Azure offers lots of products beyond what's mentioned on this page, and we have thousands of customers who successfully use our solutions together.

About Apache Airflow

Apache Airflow is an open source project that lets developers orchestrate workflows to extract, transform, load, and store data.

About Stitch

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.

Competitors stitch
Focus ETL Orchestration, scheduling, workflows Data ingestion, ELT
Database replication Full table; incremental via custom SELECT query Only via plugins Full table; incremental via change data capture or SELECT/replication keys
SaaS sources About 20, with several more in preview Only via plugins More than 100
Ability for customers to add new data sources No Yes Yes
Connects to data warehouses? Data lakes? Yes / Yes Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
Transparent pricing Yes Yes Yes
G2 customer satisfaction 4.6/5 Not rated 4.8/5
Support SLAs Yes No Available
Purchase process Options for self-service or talking with sales Free to download and use Options for self-service or talking with sales. Also available from the AWS store.
Compliance, governance, and security certifications HIPAA, GDPR, ISO 27001, others None HIPAA, GDPR, SOC 2
Data sharing No Yes, via plugins Yes, through Talend Data Fabric
Vendor lock-in Free to use Month to month or annual contracts. Open source integrations
Developer tools REST API, .Net and Python SDKs Experimental REST API 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.

Transformations

Azure Data Factory

Azure Data Factory supports both pre- and post-load transformations. Users apply transformations either by using a GUI to map them, or in code using Power Query Online. Azure Data Factory supports a wide range of transformation functions.

Apache Airflow

Apache Airflow is a powerful tool for authoring, scheduling, and monitoring workflows as directed acyclic graphs (DAG) of tasks. A DAG is a topological representation of the way data flows within a system. Airflow manages execution dependencies among jobs (known as operators in Airflow parlance) in the DAG, and programmatically handles job failures, retries, and alerting. Developers can write Python code to transform data as an action in a workflow.

Stitch

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.

Azure Data Factory

Azure Data Factory integrates with about 80 data sources, including SaaS platforms, SQL and NoSQL databases, generic protocols, and various file types. It supports around 20 cloud and on-premises data warehouse and database destinations.

Apache Airflow

Airflow orchestrates workflows to extract, transform, load, and store data. It run tasks, which are sets of activities, via operators, which are templates for tasks that can by Python functions or external scripts. Developers can create operators for any source or destination. In addition, Airflow supports plugins that implement operators and hooks — interfaces to external platforms. The Airflow community has built plugins for databases like MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server and SaaS platforms such as Salesforce, Stripe, and Facebook Ads.

Stitch

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.

Azure Data Factory

Azure Data Factory provides support via online forums and an online support request form. Email and phone support are available. Documentation is comprehensive. Digital training materials are available.

Apache Airflow

The open source community provides Airflow support through a Slack community. Documentation includes quick start and how-to guides. Other than a tutorial on the Apache website there are no training resources.

Stitch

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.

Pricing

Azure Data Factory

Pricing for Azure Data Factory's data pipeline is calculated based on number of pipeline orchestration runs; compute-hours for flow execution and debugging; and number of Data Factory operations, such as pipeline monitoring.

Apache Airflow

Airflow is free and open source, licensed under Apache License 2.0.

Stitch

Stitch has pricing that scales to fit a wide range of budgets and company sizes. All new users get an unlimited 14-day trial. After the trial, there's a free plan for smaller organizations and nonproduction workloads. 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.

Get started now

Which tool is best 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.