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ETL Automation: 5 Functions You Need

ETL automation: coffee and diagram

 

In our latest ebook, Accelerate Time to Insight, we talk about the ways in which automating data transformation can help organizations maintain market leadership.  When it comes to staying ahead of the competition, insight is the new currency. And rapid time to insight is one of the biggest advantages and organization can have in today’s fast-paced business environment. Near-real-time insight is critical to providing exceptional customer experiences, streamlining operations, and fostering innovation. And ETL automation is one of the keys to helping you achieve that optimum speed and agility.

ETL automation is worth your time

As the amount of data multiplies and the need for speed becomes more urgent, we are rapidly reaching a point where we have no choice but to automate parts of ETL and data transformation. We can’t wait for data, no matter how much there is. Running jobs and processes manually and hand-coding everything won’t cut it.

Why? To achieve rapid time to insight, organizations need to scale data transformation dramatically. Doing that without automation requires adding more people. There are several reasons why this isn’t feasible for most businesses:

 

  • Considering the rate at which we need to scale, we simply can’t add people fast enough to keep up. The amount of data is increasing quickly and exponentially.
  • Infinitely adding more people to keep up with data and real-time demands isn’t financially or operationally tenable for any organization.
  • Even if we could do the first two things, people with the experience and skills needed to do complex, rapid hand-coding are finite in number and very in-demand.

 

So ETL automation is a realistic and effective strategy for improving time to insight through faster data transformation.

5 must-have ETL automation functions

When you are looking to automate your ETL data processes, there are five product functionalities that you shouldn’t skip. All are part of Matillion ETL software, and all can enable you to quickly provide valuable insights across your organization. Any ETL product you evaluate should have these five things:

 

Job triggers

Matillion ETL lets you create both Orchestration Jobs (the E and L of ETL) and Transformation Jobs (the T). Within the product, you can have Orchestration Jobs trigger either other Orchestration Jobs or Transformation Jobs. You can also put conditional statements in place to deal with error handling and notifications.

 

Cloud Service Provider (CSP) services integration

Different components and features within Matillion work with various CSP products such as AWS Simple Queue Service (SQS), Google Cloud Pub/Sub, and Azure Queue Storage. You can use these features, along with other technologies, to listen for messages and trigger jobs to run.

 

Change data capture (CDC)

CDC is the process of capturing changes in a data source and keeping a target in sync with those changes. Once data is in sync, you can apply additional transformations, and any data referenced in, for example, a business intelligence product in your cloud data warehouse will be up to date. Matillion ETL running in the Amazon environment (for either Amazon Redshift or Snowflake) has CDC functionality built in. CDC in Matillion can be used with several databases including My SQL, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and Oracle. Matillion works hand in hand with AWS services (DMS, SQS, S3, and Lambda) to accomplish this.

 

Built-in job scheduler

If you can, use an ETL product with a built-in job scheduler. One benefit of this function is that you don’t have to rely on a third-party source or other mechanism to launch your ETL jobs. Therefore, you can centrally manage your ETL job schedules, making processes easier to maintain, debug, and monitor. Another benefit is that you can take advantage of dependency management. Parent jobs can be scheduled to trigger child jobs. You can then turn jobs into components and reuse them, saving development time and making job management that much simpler. The Matillion user interface provides a cron-based job scheduler that is easy to set up and maintain.

 

API access

Matillion also provides an API where a call can be made to execute jobs. This happens within a script to execute a job via the Matillion API connection. In addition to running jobs, the Matillion API provides several endpoints from which you can access other useful items.

 

Spend time on insights, not processes

There’s still no substitute for human intelligence when it comes to complex data analytics. But we can automate parts of data transformation to free up that human intelligence to focus on more strategic thinking, with fast access to data and insights to fuel innovation and progress. And Matillion ETL supports organizations in making the most of valuable human resources and speeding time to insight wherever possible.

 

To learn more about ETL automation and how it can help accelerate insight and innovation in your organization, download our ebook, Accelerate Time to Insight