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 build everything in-house. We put together this ETL tool comparison guide to help you choose the product that’s the best fit for your business.

Overview

Segment, Actian, and Stitch are all popular platforms. Here's a side-by-side look at how they stack up against each other.

Focus Event tracking, data ingestion, ELT Databases and data integration Data ingestion, ELT
Database replication No database data sources Unknown Full table; incremental via change data capture or SELECT/replication keys
SaaS sources About 35 Several More than 100
Ability for customers to add new data sources For events but not cloud app sources (see explanation below) Yes Yes
Connects to data warehouses? Data lakes? Yes / No Yes / No Yes / Yes
Transparent pricing Yes No Yes
G2 customer satisfaction 4.6/5 4.1/5 4.8/5
Support SLAs Available Yes Available
Purchase process Options for self-service and talking with sales Requires a conversation with sales Options for self-service or talking with sales. Also available from the AWS store.
Compliance, governance, and security certifications GDPR SOC 2 Type 2, PCI HIPAA, GDPR, SOC 2
Data sharing No Yes Yes, through Talend Data Fabric
Vendor lock-in Month to month or annual contracts. The company maintains several open source projects. Annual contracts. DataFlow is based on the open source KNIME data mining platform Month to month or annual contracts. Open source integrations
Developer tools JavaScript library, mobile SDKs, server-side libraries, HTTP Tracking API, Pixel Tracking API, Objects API, Objects Bulk API Studio SDK for creating custom connectors, Runtime Client SDK for embedding integrations, Integration Manager API for managing integrations 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

Segment

Segment lets users track events across multiple applications and send event data to multiple destinations. It's designed to collect and connect customer data from multiple marketing, analytics, and data warehousing tools. It's not primarily an ETL tool, but it does include connectivity to some SaaS data sources and data warehouse destinations. To the extent that it performs ETL operations, Segment focuses on the E and L, extraction and loading. It extracts raw data from sources and loads it into destinations without allowing users to define their own transformations — though Segment itself transforms events and objects to conform to its standard as it sends them between different tools, including to the data warehouse.

Actian

Actian DataFlow can run about 30 bundled preload transformations, including ones that perform operations like aggregating and filtering data, and ones that let users write custom code in JavaScript, R, and JVM-supported scripting languages. Users apply transformations (and specify inputs and outputs) by dragging icons onto a graphical workspace.

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.

Segment

Segment has a different focus than most ETL tools — it's designed to track events from applications, websites, and mobile apps and unify them into customer profiles. In Segment, an event is a set of actions that represents a step in the funnel, such as user invited or signed up or order completed. Users can define events that make sense for their business use cases, based on key metrics that provide business value, and create tracking plans to document the events and properties they intend to collect across Segment sources.

Segment offers integrations for several different kinds of sources:

  • It tracks and sends events between more than 250 supported tools.
  • It replicates data from about 35 cloud app sources that are common among ETL tools.

  • To understand the difference between the events and SaaS data sources, take the example of Salesforce, which is one of a handful of integrations supported in both categories. Event tracking would enable updates to Salesforce leads and contacts based things those users did in a separate system, like a mobile app.

    If you want to replicate all of the data in your Salesforce instance to your data warehouse, including information entered by your sales team, that’s only possible with a cloud app source.

    Customers can use Segment's developer tools to track new event sources, but no one outside of the Segment team can build new cloud app sources.

    Segment supports six destinations:

  • Amazon Redshift
  • Google BigQuery
  • Snowflake
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse
  • Postgres
  • IBM Db2
  • Actian

    Actian (formerly Ingres Corp.) offers products in three areas: * Data analytics * Avalanche, a cloud data warehouse * Vector, a columnar analytics database * DataFlow (formerly Pervasive DataRush), a plugin to the open source KNIME platform for writing dataflows * Data management — database and application development tools * Data integration * DataConnect (formerly Pervasive Data Integrator) for creating data integrations * DataCloud, the cloud deployment for DataConnect * Business Xchange for B2B integration * PointConnect, for application integration Most run on a local Windows or Linux client. DataConnect supports more than 150 source and target connectors. It has connectors for file types such as ASCII, Binary, and Unicode; databases such as PostgreSQL, ODBC, and Sybase; and application files such as Excel, DataEase, and GoldMine. None are cloud data warehouses or data lakes, but some on-premises data warehouses are supported.

    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.

    Segment

    Segment provides support through a ticketing system. Documentation is comprehensive. Segment does not provide training services.

    Actian

    Actian provides online, email, and telephone support. Documentation is bundled with each downloaded application and available online. Digital training materials are available.

    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

    Segment

    Segment provides a 14-day free trial, and has a free Developer tier. Team accounts start at $120 per month. Pricing is based in part on the volume of monthly tracked users in data sources. Business plans for larger organizations are priced individually.

    Actian

    Actian provides evaluation licenses. Pricing isn't disclosed.

    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.