Choosing the best ETL tool is paramount for business success. Find the optimum solution with the help of this feature comparison of Talend and Fivetran.

Talend versus Fivetrand comparison, lead image.
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The more data your business has — and the more sources it is coming from — the more complicated it is to consolidate all of it and mine meaningful insights from the numbers. ETL software automates this process of data gathering for your company, making data-driven decisions a cinch. Today, we are comparing the ETL software solutions offered by Talend and Fivetran to help you decide which one is the right fit for your business.

What is Talend?

Talend is a suite of cloud-based data apps designed for ETL work. It’s open source, so it’s easy to get started with the basics for free and to build your own data connectors with whatever specifications you need. Several paid plans provide even more capabilities.

What is Fivetran?

Fivetran is a SaaS data integration service that makes it simple to connect all your data and apps using automated pipelines. Fivetran is not open source, so while it provides a lot of data connectors out of the box, you can’t build your own.

Talend vs. Fivetran feature comparison

  Talend Fivetran
No-code option No Yes
Data extractions Yes Yes
Data integration Yes Yes
Data quality control Yes Yes
Reporting/analytics Yes Yes

No-code platform

Perhaps the biggest differentiator between Talend and Fivetran is the latter’s no-code option. Fivetran is designed to get you up and running within days or even hours, and it doesn’t require coding knowledge to operate, though it does provide the option to customize queries via SQL if you have that knowledge. Thus, you don’t need a dedicated data engineer to launch and use Fivetran, making it a great option for teams that don’t have that kind of support.

Talend’s open source nature does come at the expense of user friendliness, and you will almost certainly need a data engineer to set up the pipelines and make the most of the service. The tradeoff for this higher learning curve is greater functionality and many options for connectors (more on this in the next section), but for teams that need a no-code option, Fivetran is a better choice in this category.

SEE: Job description: ETL/data warehouse developer (TechRepublic Premium)

Data sources and extraction

Fivetran offers more than 100 data connectors out of the box, and the service routinely adds more. Fivetran’s out-of-the-box connectors cover pretty much all of the major data sources, including Oracle, Zoho, Salesforce and SAP. If you only need to connect to traditional data sources, Fivetran will probably provide everything you need in a simple-to-use package.

Technically, Fivetran offers the option to build a customized “function connector,” but the software’s emphasis is on the selection of existing connectors, and some users have noted that they are sometimes surprised how often they can’t connect to the data they need.

If you need to pull data from more unusual sources, Talend is a better bet. Thanks to the open source nature of the software, there are hundreds and hundreds of connectors available that have been built by Talend itself or by other users, and more are added all the time, so you have far more options than Fivetran out of the gate. If by chance someone hasn’t already created the connector you need, you can have your data engineer build your own.

Data analysis and visualization

While there are many great business intelligence software options out there that make it easy to analyze and visualize your platform, not every company wants to add yet another solution to the mix. Fivetran offers basic data analysis visualization capabilities, letting you quickly extract insights from the data.

Talend also offers this capability via Talend Open Data Studio, which is a separate download. The charts and graphical conversation tools are pretty rudimentary in terms of aesthetics, but they get the job done, especially for internal analysis. If you want a powerhouse BI platform, you’ll probably need to look into a separate solution, such as Microsoft Power BI.

SEE: Cheat sheet: Microsoft Power BI (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Talend vs. Fivetran: Which should you choose?

Both Talend and Fivetran are solid offerings in the ETL category, but they’re designed with different users in mind. Fivetran is meant more for beginners and non-software experts who need to connect to common data sources quickly and easily without coding knowledge. Talend is designed for power users who are willing to master the learning curve in exchange for more data connection opportunities.

More ETL comparisons

Not sure if either of these options is right for you? Check out our other ETL software comparison guides: Firebolt vs Snowflake: Compare data warehousing platforms, Databricks vs Snowflake: ETL tool comparison, Snowflake vs AWS Redshift: Data warehousing software comparison, Dremio vs Snowflake: Comparing two of the best ETL tools, Azure Synapse vs Snowflake: ETL tool comparison, BigQuery vs Snowflake: Which ETL tool is best? and Stitch vs Fivetran: ETL tool comparison.