ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) is a key component of the modern data stack. It involves extracting data from external business apps like Salesforce and HubSpot and loading it into a central warehouse or data lake.
ETL solutions help teams leverage data analytics for business excellence. But choosing the right automation tool for your budget can be overwhelming.
Here's what you need to know about different types of solutions, cost factors, and the best ETL tools to consider.
The simple answer is this: It depends on several factors, and ETL cost varies widely among different tools and solutions.
In general, data-driven organizations should expect to pay somewhere between $99 and $2,000+ per month for the most popular ETL solutions.
The final cost will depend mainly on the size and complexity of your company's data sets and the specific features needed. Advanced features, such as complex transformations, tend to increase cost.
If your data workflow involves a lot of long-tail data sources, many solutions won't come with built-in integrations for them---meaning you'll need to either create your own or pay extra.
Initial installation, setup, and support in the first year are likely to be more expensive, with subsequent years costing a bit less.
While there are open-source ETL tools out there that you can use for free or low-cost (such as Keboola or Apache Airflow), using no-cost tools will likely require significant development and maintenance efforts. Consider whether that trade-off of time instead of money will be worth it for your organization's long-term success.
ETL tools may charge extra for multi-cloud support. You may be able to save if your cloud data warehouse is integrated, like using Microsoft Azure Synapse Analytics with Azure, Amazon Redshift with AWS, and Google BigQuery with Google Cloud Platform.
At the end of the day, cost isn't the only important part of choosing the right ETL solution for your needs.
Implementing an ETL pipeline into your company's data strategy can be a significant investment. These are some factors to consider that'll impact the final price of your solution:
More processing power and storage capacity are required to handle large amounts of data.
As such, most ETL tools are priced based on the volume of data being processed. The more data you have, the more you can expect to pay.
If you have a lot of data to process and maintain, look into a solution like Portable which doesn't charge based on volume.
Custom connectors are designed to integrate with long-tail applications that aren't already supported by popular ETL solutions.
Developing these connectors can be a complex, time-consuming process, which adds to the overall price. Any ongoing maintenance needed may also result in additional fees.
Portable will build and maintain custom data connectors for free, making it ideal for companies who work with lots of long-tail applications.
Legacy systems that use outdated data storage formats and communication protocols may require custom development to work with ETL tools.
Data ingestion from various data sources could involve building new connectors, scripting, or data modeling --- all of which will increase your overall investment.
On-premise ETL is hosted locally, meaning it's installed and maintained on your company's hardware infrastructure. It can be expensive initially due to hardware and licensing costs.
Cloud ETL software is stored and managed on a third-party provider's servers. Many cloud-based options require a higher subscription tier for each new tool you want to access. This can quickly get expensive if you're looking for a feature-rich solution.
Ultimately, on-premise ETL requires a significant investment upfront, while cloud solutions are more of a long-term, ongoing expense.
ETL tools that offer real-time data processing will likely be more costly due to the resource expenditure and infrastructure required.
Batch processing involves collecting data in batches based on a predefined schedule. It's less complex, requiring fewer resources and minimal maintenance.
While batch processing can greatly reduce the overall cost of ELT, real-time data integration is best for applications that need data within seconds of accuracy, like financial trading or threat detection.
ETL processes are often complex, extracting and transforming data from a variety of sources and formats.
Not only that, but many companies manage dozens or even hundreds of these data pipelines and integrations.
The more pipelines and complex data you have, the more costly an ETL solution becomes.
Data quality can determine the final price. Sources that apply schema and metadata before ingestion will cost less than those that require more transformations.
Premium support is an optional add-on offered by many ETL providers and can be a worthwhile investment depending on how technical your team is.
While premium support often comes at an additional cost, some ETL solutions, like Portable, provide hands-on customer support for free.
ETL solutions can be grouped into three distinct categories, each at different price points.
Custom ETL tools are built specifically for an organization's unique needs so they can extract data from a wide range of sources. Because of this, they're one of the most flexible solutions, though that flexibility comes at a higher price point.
It rarely makes sense to build a custom ETL pipeline. The most common use cases are for nonexistent data sources, strict regulatory requirements, or large organizations that need a completely custom solution.
Custom ETL pipelines are also useful in situations where the popular data integration tools won't build or support the connectors you need.
For a custom ETL solution, organizations should expect to pay several thousand dollars initially to set up the tool, as well as ongoing maintenance expenses.
The cost of developing and maintaining a custom ETL tool largely depends on the complexity of the company's existing data workflows and desired features.
Proprietary ETL tools are commercial software solutions that require either a license or subscription to use. They support most relational and non-relational databases.
Not only do these platforms have all the features of open-source tools, but they also offer hundreds of connectors that are fully managed by the vendor. This means minimal effort for you and your team.
For a proprietary or cloud-based ETL solution, organizations can expect to pay somewhere between $1,000 to $25,000+ annually.
The cost of proprietary ETL depends on the features included and level of support provided, as well as the number of users and data sets involved.
Open-source ETL tools are freely available and can be customized to meet an organization's unique needs. However, companies will likely need to invest in development resources to tailor the tool.
For open-source ETL solutions that are free to use, organizations can expect to pay somewhere between zero to thousands of dollars. The final cost will depend on how much customization and development are needed.
Open-source ETL solutions provide a few key benefits: easy access to source code, flexibility to tinker and adjust, and a lower price point.
Open-source solutions are most common in on-premises infrastructure. However, they vary widely in functionality and ease of use.
Because they can require a lot of upkeep to maintain, investing in them may not make sense for some companies.
|Free Pricing Tier
|Free manually triggered syncs
|Per scheduled data flow
|Monthly active rows (MAR)
|Free open-source software
|Free up to 1 million events, limited to 50+ data connectors
|Events/month (in millions)
|Free up to 1 million rows per month
|Rows/month (in millions)
|Free up to 1,000 visitors/month and 2 data sources
|Number of connectors
|Free sync data with visualization tools
|Number of data flows
|Records/month (in millions)
Portable is one of the best --- and most accommodating --- ETL tools on the market. It's ideal for business intelligence teams who deal with a lot of long-tail applications.
Over 300 long-tail pre-built data connectors ready to use
Custom data source connectors available upon request for free
Hands-on assistance available 24 hours a day at no additional cost
Free: Manually triggered syncs
$200/month: Per scheduled data workflow
Custom: For tailored business solutions
Fivetran is one of the most in-demand ETL tools in 2023. It's a fully-managed cloud-based platform. Tasks like data translation, quality checks, and deduplication are automatic.
Fully-managed, zero-maintenance architecture
Complete integration and fast deployment
Ability to connect BI tools
Airbyte is a free, open-source data tool focused on servicing more mainstream data sources.
Over 300 standard connectors you can use or modify
Ability to create bespoke connectors
Excellent support and scalable pricing
Cloud: Starts at $1/credit
Enterprise plans: Custom pricing
Hevo is a cloud-based data management and integration solution. It allows you to copy and load data near real time from over 150 sources.
Automated data pipeline with over 150 data sources supported
Real-time data replication
No-code data transformations
Free: Up to 1 million events
Custom: For large businesses
Matillion is another ETL data integration solution that includes an on-premise option. What sets it apart is its friendly user interface, making it easier to create data pipelines.
Built-in data transformation tools (filtering, pivoting, and merging)
Support for a variety of data sources, including unstructured data without schema and enterprise data formats (flat files, XML files, CSV files, JSON, EDI)
Monitoring and logging features for auditing/troubleshooting
Stitch is another ETL solution that's in high demand in 2023 and controls data extraction using built-in SQL, GUI, Python, or Java. It integrates with Talend, a big data platform.
Highly scalable solution
Offers enterprise-grade security, including SOC 2 and HIPAA compliance
Auditing and email alerts
Includes over 300 data connectors
Supports creation of user profiles and segmentation based on the buyer journey
Includes a tool that allows you to create custom data connectors
Free: Up to 1,000 monthly visitors and 2 data sources
$120/month: 10,000 monthly visitors
Custom pricing: For large businesses
Rivery is another cloud-based ETL platform that's also low-code. It's unique in that it uses what it calls "rivers" as scripts for data workflows.
Includes pre-built "rivers" that connect popular destinations and data sources
Has over 200 built-in data source connectors
Supports 15+ data destinations
Enterprise: Custom pricing
Integrate.io is a cloud-based iPaaS (integration platform as a service) that comes with several pre-built connectors to mainstream business programs.
Drag-and-drop interface and APIs that allow you to construct new integrations
Simple workflow design and pre-built connectors for databases, CRM systems, and other SaaS tools
Performs reverse ETL and change data capture (CDC)
Enterprise: Custom pricing
Dataddo is ETL software that supports transporting of data between any two cloud services.
Supports ETL/ELT and reverse ELT
Managed data pipelines and over 200 pre-built connectors
Sync Data: Free
Data to Dashboards: $129/month
Data Anywhere: $129/month
Etlworks is a modern cloud-based ETL platform that aims to grow and scale alongside your company.
Automatic and manual mapping
Includes support for cloud-based data warehouses
Any-to-any data integration platform
ETL solutions are a valuable investment for companies looking to streamline their data warehousing and integration strategy, but price points vary widely depending on a variety of factors.
Portable is a solution that's ideal if your company works with a lot of long-tail applications. With 300+ built-in connectors plus free custom integrations, it's one of the most accommodating tools you can find.
Try Portable today for free by creating an account, connecting to a data source, and manually triggering a sync.