Seriously, there are some core functions that most ETL tool vendors offer today. These include:
- The ability to deal with multiple input data formats (such as flat files, SQL databases, SAS data sets, etc.)
- Built-in data profiling and analysis functionality allowing the examination of source data
- Built-in data transformation functions (such as data type conversion, date reformatting, etc.)
- Support for data quality/cleansing functionality (either built-in, or via interfaces to popular data quality tools like Group 1, DataFlux, or Business Objects)
- Metadata support, allowing for the capture and identification of data transformation and business rules
- Job scheduling functionality
- Version control of the ETL maps
- The ability to manipulate data either inside or outside the target database (aka: ETL versus ELT)
What you should avoid
My ETL guys suggest staying away from code-generating ETL tools, which are difficult to troubleshoot and de-bug. They also recommend steering clear of ETL tools that don't provide error tracking and logging functionality.
And a final thought: ETL isn't just for breakfast anymore. What I mean by this is that ETL isn't exclusive to data warehouse projects, but can solve a host of data movement and transformation problems. Best of luck with your tool selection!
For more information on ETL tools
Dig deeper on Extract transform load tools
Related Q&A from Jill Dyché, Partner and co-founder, Baseline Consulting
Is it better for companies to go with an enterprise-wide master data management (MDM) implementation or deploy MDM departmentally? Find out which ...continue reading
Is it a good idea to launch a data governance project without the help of a master data management (MDM) initiative? See what our MDM expert has to ...continue reading
Do you need to gather business requirements for an MDM project? Find out and learn how functional requirements are the key difference between the MDM...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.