Data Pipeline vs. ETL – How To Spot the Differences (2023)

Ethan
CEO, Portable

What are the differences between a data pipeline and an ETL workflow?

The biggest difference between a data pipeline and ETL is that ETL is a type of data pipeline. Therefore, while every ETL workflow is a data pipeline, not every data pipeline is an ETL process.

Both approaches offer a seamless data integration solution. Let's quickly summarize the differences:

ConsiderationData PipelineETL Pipeline
Use CasesData analytics, process automation, product developmentPrimarily data analytics
LatencyReal-time or batchPrimarily batch
DeploymentOn-premises or cloud-hostedOn-premises or cloud-hosted
SourcesSaaS applications (CRM systems, ERP platforms, etc.), relational databases, files, webhooksSaaS applications (CRM systems, ERP platforms, etc.), relational databases, files, webhooks
DestinationsData warehouses, transactional databases, data lakes, SaaS applicationsData warehouses, transactional databases, data lakes
Best Suited ForData analysts, data engineers, analytics engineers, business intelligence teams, software engineersData analysts, data engineers, analytics engineers, business intelligence teams, software engineers

What is a data pipeline?

A data pipeline is a set of processes that move data from one place to another. Data pipelines are commonly used in data management and can support a variety of use cases, including real-time data streaming, batch processing, and data migration.

In general, a data pipeline involves extracting raw data from various sources, which may include structured data (e.g. databases) and unstructured data (e.g. logs and documents).

The extracted data is then transformed, which may involve cleaning, filtering, and organizing the data to make it more usable. This process may involve using tools such as SQL to manipulate the data. The transformed data is then loaded into a target data store, which could be a database, a data warehouse, or a data lake (e.g. Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3 buckets).

By using a data pipeline, organizations can more effectively manage and utilize their data to support various business processes and drive better outcomes.

How do ETL pipelines load data into a data warehouse?

To load data into a data warehouse using an ETL pipeline (extract, transform, and load), the first step is to extract the data from the source system. This could involve APIs or other interfaces to access data from applications or databases. The extracted data can be in various formats, such as CSV or JSON, and may include both structured and unstructured data.

Next, the data is transformed to clean, filter, and organize it in preparation for ingestion into the data warehouse (Google BigQuery, Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, etc.). The transformed data is then loaded into the data warehouse - defining a schema to ensure that the data is structured in a way that is consistent with the data warehouse's requirements.

Overall, ETL pipelines are an important tool for loading data into a data warehouse, allowing organizations to more effectively manage and utilize their data to support various business processes and drive better outcomes.

Getting started with a no-code ETL pipeline

Whether you want to power predictive analytics, machine learning models, or simply move social media data into your warehouse for data analysis, you need a simple solution.

Wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to build your own data processing pipeline? If things just scaled to with the big data sets that exist across your company?

You wouldn't have to learn an open-source framework, write Python code, or worry about the validation of large volumes of data.

Without these bottlenecks, you can spend your time on data analysis, writing SQL, and managing data transformations to turn raw data into business insights.

Lucky for you, no code ETL tools can streamline these workflows and make it simple to sync datasets into your analytics environment.

Portable offers no code ETL data pipelines, so you can move data from source systems into your target system quickly and easily.

Here's how you get started with using Portable for ETL / ELT data pipelines.

  1. Create your account (no credit card necessary)

  2. Connect a data source

  3. Authenticate your data source

  4. Select a destination and configure your credentials

  5. Connect your source to your data warehousing environment

  6. Run your flow to start replicating data from your source to your destination

  7. Use the dropdown menu to set your data flow to run on a cadence

Next Steps

Ready to get started? Try Portable today!