The data pipeline vendor landscape, and by association the cloud data warehousing space, is facing some interesting times. Google’s recent announcement of its intent to acquire data pipeline provider Alooma, following swiftly on the heels of Stitch being picked up by Talend last year, is a clear indication the data pipeline / ETL vendor landscape is changing quickly.
Both Stitch and Alooma have strengths in data transfer operations that represent the Extract and the Load operations of ETL, offering point-to-point transfer of data from source to target data warehouse. In Alooma’s case, Google clearly identified a gap in its BigQuery story where customers found it challenging to bring all their various data sources into the data warehouse. The purchase of Alooma, with its list of data source connectors, will attempt to close these silos for BigQuery users.
With the Stitch and Talend tie-up, the story is slightly different. Talend recognizes that customers select cloud-based offerings because they make it very easy to get data from A-to-B. For the very simplest use cases, this means that customers are choosing to avoid Talend’s more complex open source data integration tools that would be the traditional starting point for this sort of work. As such, Talend is positioning Stitch as an entry point tool that offers customers the ability to graduate towards Talend’s more sophisticated ETL offerings as they grow.
We have two different but valid strategies at play – one with legacy ETL vendor Talend, and one with Google focused around the data warehouse. Despite these two different strategies, the desired outcome is similar – migrate data from one location to another, but do so more quickly and efficiently and drive customer acquisition. Sounds great, however, these approaches are not without some unanswered questions.
Where is the T?
Moving data is easier than ever before, but it misses out on the most important part of the data story, what to do with that data once it’s in the cloud data warehouse? What’s needed to get your data truly analytics-ready is the T – the transformation step. This is a necessary part of the ETL equation and is entirely skipped by data pipeline solutions. The recent acquisitions of Alooma and Stitch are an indication that data pipeline solutions are increasingly becoming a commodity. What data pipeline vendors deliver, the ability to easily migrate data into a cloud data warehouse (CDW) from a variety of sources, simply isn’t enough to accomplish the end goal customers are really seeking – the ability to make their aggregated data truly analytics-ready.
Data that comes from different sources including cloud service API’s, relational databases, cloud object storage, on-premises sources, and even spreadsheets, can all be easily collected. The assumption that high-quality, analytic insights can be extracted from this raw data is dangerous and incorrect. In our experience from building hundreds of cloud data warehouses for our customers, data needs to be transformed before it can be used with an analytics tool (or any number of other downstream processes like machine learning). That transformation is, and will always be, a complex collaborative effort where the requirements and rules of the business must be encoded into the transformations. Even the simplest business questions can require heavy reworking of original sources of data to get to an accurate, in-context answer.
Data analytics and business intelligence leaders require an incredibly easy way to load data into a cloud data warehouse, but failing to provide these users with a way to do the crucial data transformation piece does the market a huge disservice. It misunderstands the purpose of a data warehouse in the first place, leaving customers high and dry to build and manage extremely complex data models in SQL or wrestling with their data analysis tool to get the data into the quality they need.
Matillion was designed, from day one, to allow users to get to the high quality analytic output data they need. Not leave them off halfway through the process. See it for yourself.
What is the road ahead for growing customers at Talend?
The challenge now for Talend is to create a joined up and coherent story for the users of Stitch that allows them to grow with the platform without significant technical roadblocks put in their way. Talend’s core data integration offerings are a long way technically from Stitch and customers moving between Stitch and Talend are in for a bumpy ride as these two data integration platforms, conceived in very different eras, are welded together.
What about Alooma refugees?
Google can definitely integrate Alooma into BigQuery, and other related technologies, but Alooma customers on other cloud data warehouses such as Amazon Redshift and Snowflake are about to be refugees left on the sidelines. How does this experience leave them feeling about other SaaS pipeline vendors who may also not be in the market for the long term?
Ultimately, we believe that data analytics teams should have control of the entire ETL process. While change is difficult to manage, there are solutions that fill the gaps and bring together the entire data transformation process to allow businesses to get the insights they need from their data much faster.
Alooma customers – we would love to serve you!
Matillion is data transformation for cloud data warehouses. Purpose built for Amazon Redshift, Snowflake for AWS and Azure, as well as Google BigQuery, our products provide customers with the ability to not only migrate data into a cloud data warehouse but to also quickly and easily transform that data, making it analytics ready. Our software delivery model provides customers with a service they run and control, within their cloud data warehouse, and that can’t be turned off at the whim of a new owner.
For any Alooma refugees considering alternative solutions based on the recent acquisition, Matillion would love the opportunity to serve you. We are offering current Alooma customers the ability to test out Matillion for six months, regardless of your remaining contract length, for free! For any Alooma customer seeking an alternative solution, this is your best offer. Complete this short form and our experts will contact you shortly to discuss your unique needs and get your free trial setup.