What's the difference between extract, transform and load (ETL) tools and enterprise data replication (EDR) tools?

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An extract, transform and load (ETL) tool is a means of taking data from one or many formats, transforming it and loading it into a database. ETL is used to convert data types, transform or calculate values based on application requirements, and loading the resulting values into a target database. ETL tools are often used to retrieve data from disparate data sources for loading into a single, target database -- often a data warehouse.

My research tells me that enterprise data replication (EDR) is a relatively new concept, perhaps coined by my friend and fellow TDWI faculty member Mark Madsen. My semi-educated guess on the difference: EDR, or enterprise data replication, tools are database-centric and used to copy or migrate database objects from one system to another. EDR copies or synchronizes data between one or many systems. It's a new concept, but is basically copying or moving database tables with little or no data transformation. EDR tools don't have the facilities that ETL offers for transforming the data based on data value and business rules.

More on ETL tools

This was first published in October 2007

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