Matillion Vs. DBT: Which solution is better for you?

Matillion vs. DBT

Matillion and DBT are both powerful data pipeline creation and management products that can help you connect to data sources, transform data with ETL, and build data pipelines. But what are the differences between the two tools? How can you decide which tool is best for your organization? If you’re considering purchasing a new data pipeline platform, or analyzing whether you currently have the best tool for the job, we’ve pulled together some essential information on key features to consider and the differences between the two products.

What is Matillion?

Matillion’s Data Productivity Cloud is a unified data pipeline platform that allows you to build and manage data pipelines. Matillion unlocks load data from any source (even unstructured data). It includes a complete pushdown architecture, ELT tools, data ops management, and data pipeline orchestration—all in one centralized platform. Matillion is purpose-built for cloud data platforms like Snowflake, Databricks, and AWS Redshift. 

What is DBT?

DBT is a transformational tool that helps companies organize, manage, and manipulate their data effectively. DBT uses SQL to transform raw data into valuable assets for analytics, enhancing the user experience through rapid, streamlined data transformation. DBT’s cloud-based platform can accelerate the speed of data engineering and provide visibility to data pipelines. 

Matillion vs. DBT at-a-glance

FeatureMatillionDBT
Cloud native and fully managedYesYes, in DBT Cloud
Pre-built connectors150+No
Connect to any API sourceYesNo
Built-in workflow orchestrationYesYes, in DBT Cloud
Native pushdown architectureYesYes
Reverse ETLYesNo
Support SLAsYesYes, in DBT Cloud
PricingTask hours and consumption based pricingIndividual developer/seat license and pricing per model custom pricing for enterprise for the cloud version
Full-code and no-code optionsYesNo - only high code
AI data pipeline creationYesNo

Key features to consider

If you're evaluating Matillion vs. DBT, understanding each tool's unique attributes, features, and operational strategies is crucial for a comprehensive comparison. This understanding sets the stage for discussions about comparing Matillion and DBT capabilities. 

Data connectors & integrations

Matillion and DBT are key players in the field of data connectors and integrations, each providing intuitive solutions for managing data pipelines. 

Matillion data connectors & integrations  
Matillion emphasizes the importance of using data as a competitive edge and focuses on cloud-based data integration. It excels in integrating data into cloud data warehouses, offering scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. Matillion offers both batch loading cloud data warehouse and Change Data Capture Loading (CDC). While Matillion comes with over 150 pre-built connectors, you can also create your own connector to any data source using a no-code REST API and visual designer.

DBT data connectors & integrations  
DBT adopts a code-centric approach to data integration, focusing on SQL-based transformations. This approach suits teams that prefer control and transparency, allowing data transformation directly in the warehouses using SQL. DBT is ideal for those who wish to utilize SQL without learning new, proprietary interfaces.

Cost is a critical factor. Each tool has its pricing model, and it's important to consider the total cost of ownership and any other additional expenses. For accurate, up-to-date information, we recommend that you consult the official resources of both Matillion and DBT.

ETL, ELT, and Reverse ETL

Understanding the concepts of ETL, ELT, and Reverse ETL is vital in data management and processing, where they play critical roles in shaping efficient data strategies.

Matillion's ETL, ELT, and Reverse ETL  
Matillion offers robust capabilities in ETL (Extract, Transform, Load), ELT (Extract, Load, Transform), and Reverse ETL, positioning itself as a comprehensive solution for data integration and transformation in a cloud environment. It provides:

  • A versatile platform catering to various data handling needs.
  • A seamless transition of data into cloud data warehouses.
  • An intuitive interface for data manipulation and analysis.

Matillion is designed to be user-friendly with a drag-and-drop interface, accommodating users with different levels of technical expertise.

DBT’s ETL, ELT, and Reverse ETL 
DBT stands out for its explicit focus on the “T” in ELT. DBT uses partners to complete the ELT process and reverse ETL  processes. As an open-source tool, DBT facilitates effective data transformation within warehouses, empowering analysts to manage the ELT workflow comprehensively. Features of DBT include:

  • Open-source platform for data transformation.
  • Partner tools for a complete ELT workflow management.
  • Necessity for a moderate level of coding knowledge.

Transformations

In data analytics and processing, performing complex data transformations efficiently is key.

Matillion transformations 
Matillion transformations provide a platform that enables teams to quickly and efficiently manipulate, refine, and automate data pipelines. Its user-friendly interface allows individuals of any coding skill level to contribute effectively, democratizing data handling and enabling a broader range of team members to manage and interpret data.

  • Facilitates swift data manipulation and refinement.
  • Automates data pipelines.
  • Democratizes data handling, making it accessible to all skill levels.

DBT Transformations 
DBT transformations support the creation of complex data models using SQL, enhancing access to and understanding of data. Through sophisticated transformations, DBT helps improve insight generation and decision-making.

  • Allows definition of complex data models in SQL.
  • Optimizes data access and understanding.
  • Enhances insight generation and decision-making processes.

Architecture

Both Matillion and DBT have unique data architectures that you should consider in your decision-making.

Matillion architecture 
Matillion’s architecture lends itself to centralized data pipeline management, with streamlined pipeline workflows and security built right in. With Matillion’s PipelineOS, you can distribute individual pipeline tasks across multiple stateless containers to match the data workload and only allocate resources that are necessary.

  • Easily manage tasks across multiple tenants with multi-plane architecture
  • High availability with reliability and fail-over features
  • Ensure data security and compliance with audit logging, MFA, role-based access support, and more.

DBT architecture 
DBT has one layer where raw data resides, usually in various databases, data lakes, or cloud storage. SQL-based transformations and results also reside in this layer. The data needs to reside in this central place for DBT to be effective.

Data platform integration

Both Matillion and DBT work with leading cloud data warehouses.

Matillion data platform integration 
Matillion’s Data Productivity Cloud is built for cloud data platforms like Snowflake, Databricks, and AWS Redshift, and has a completely native pushdown architecture. Leverage all the features of your cloud data warehouse, plus get all the productivity gains of Matillion to build and manage pipelines.

DBT’s data platform integration 
DBT supports several major cloud data warehouses and platforms, including Snowflake native support, BigQuery integration, Redshift, and Azure Synapse Analytics.

AI

AI is an increasingly important component of the future of data engineering.

Matillion AI 
Matillion allows you to incorporate AI into your data engineering processes with several capabilities.

  • Matillion Copilot allows you to turn plain language prompts into complex transformations and generate documentation automatically.
  • Take advantage of Language Learning Models (LLMs) in your pipelines to build data pipelines that can handle all types of data, including unstructured data.
  • Enrich LLMs with your enterprise data that goes beyond built-in training data, and get more personalized, accurate responses from AI using Retrieval Augmented Generation capabilities.

DBT AI 
DBT primarily focuses on data transformation and orchestration and does not directly incorporate AI features or capabilities within its core functionality. However, it's worth noting that DBT can be integrated with other tools and platforms that offer AI capabilities to enhance data processing and analysis.

Support & Documentation

Understanding support and documentation is crucial for leveraging the full potential of any data management tool.

Matillion support & documentation

Matillion excels in providing support and documentation, which is vital for maximizing the use of cloud data platforms. The Matillion support and documentation platform offers extensive resources, including troubleshooting guidelines, best practice repositories, and more. This comprehensive support system ensures a smooth data transformation journey:

  • User-friendly and intuitive interface.
  • Extensive collection of video tutorials, webinars, and detailed guides.
  • Supportive community for knowledge sharing and best practice exchange.

Matillion's support and documentation are easily navigable, making it accessible for users regardless of their technical background. This accessibility empowers businesses to make informed, data-driven decisions efficiently.

DBT support & documentation

While DBT also provides significant support and documentation, it takes a different approach, focusing on data transformation within cloud data warehouses using SQL scripts. The DBT support and documentation are robust, catering primarily to users who are more comfortable with code-centric environments.

  • Strong focus on SQL transformation scripts.
  • A community geared towards technically adept users.

Pricing & Cost

Matillion and DBT each have different pricing models to consider with your budget.

Matillion Pricing & Cost

Matillion is known for its cloud-native data integration capabilities, automating pipelines, and facilitating quicker access to insights. Its pricing structure is consumption-based on task hours per credit. This model benefits businesses seeking flexible cost management, potentially leading to cost savings.

  • Cloud-native data integration.
  • Task hours and consumption based pricing.
  • Flexible cost management.

DBT Pricing & Cost

DBT, a command-line (open source version) tool that provides data transformation capabilities within warehouses, offers features like version control, testing, and documentation. DBT follows a freemium pricing model. The free tier supports individual users, while paid versions are designed for larger teams and include premium support.

  • Command-line data transformation tool (open source tool).
  • A freemium model with a free tier and paid versions for larger teams.
  • Features like version control, testing, and documentation.

Making the Choice

Each platform demonstrates unique strengths when comparing Matillion's performance with DBT's performance. Matillion offers an inclusive solution for cloud data warehouse integration and transformation, while DBT specializes in efficient data transformations within the warehouse.

In summary, some features that differentiate Matillion from DBT include:

Unlocking all your data (structured, semi-structured, unstructured)

  • Library of pre-configured connectors
  • Custom connector framework to build your own connectors
  • LLM components to unlock unstructured data

Complete pushdown architecture

  • SQL
  • Python
  • LLMs
  • Native push to Snowflake, Databricks, AWS, Azure, and Google

Augmented pipeline/ELT tools

  • No-code visual pipeline Designer
  • Choose your own coding language or framework (SQL, Python dbt), then build and manage pipelines in Matillion

Data Ops

  • Manage and track performance of all your pipelines in one centralized place
  • Git integration for comprehensive pipeline development and release control
  • Gain insights on metadata and make AI explainable with Lineage

Data pipeline orchestration

  • Automate and schedule data pipelines based on custom parameters
  • Use Auto-Documentation to generate pipeline documentation automatically

All-in-one platform

  • Architecture designed for unlimited scale, with streamlined pipeline workflows and security built right in
  • SaaS platform (with options for hybrid execution)
  • Get up and running in 10 minutes or less

Consumption pricing model

  • Unlimited users with no extra charge
  • You pay only for pipelines run, not development or sampling

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