Data Insights

ETL vs ELT: The Key Differences

John Lafleur
March 7, 2023
8 min read
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Fivetran was the first cloud-based ELT solution and have grown significantly in popularity with the success of data warehouses as Snowflake. Fivetran differs from Airbyte with its closed-source approach and by offering dbt transformation packages for all their connectors.


Matillion is the self-hosted ELT alternative to Fivetran. Its verticalized approach offers its own transformation process.

What is interesting is that the top 3 tools that were the most adopted are all 3 ELT tools, no wonder given the added value of the ELT process!

Top 3 ETL Tools

It still feels important to mention the most popular ETL solutions out there, so you can visualize by yourself the differences between the ETL and ELT tools.


Talend Data Integration was initially an open-source ETL tool and is to be implemented in the customer's own infrastructure. This constraint makes it that it always had an Enterprise focus. It supports a wide range of data sources and provides built-in transformations for data cleansing and transformation.

Informatica PowerCenter

Informatica PowerCenter was a widely-used ETL tool that supported data profiling, in addition to data cleansing and data transformation processes. It was also implemented in their customers' infrastructure,

Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)

Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services is the Microsoft alternative from within their Microsoft infrastructure.

No ETL tools had a cloud infrastructure with a cloud-hosted offer, if we consider Microsoft to be a private cloud platform. They all had an Enterprise focus, as they were much slower and more difficult to implement for faster-pace companies by being self-hosted. 

It is to be noted that some workflow orchestrators, such as Apache Airflow, have been used to orchestrate data integration jobs, but they require a lot more engineering work for every connector you use, so this wasn’t the focus of this article.


ELT solutions offer several significant advantages over ETL solutions, including faster processing times, more flexibility and automations, better scalability, lower cost, easier maintenance, better data integrity and reliability. 

These advantages have made ELT solutions an essential part of the data strategy for companies looking to integrate data from multiple sources into a central repository. If your company is considering an ETL solution, you might want to reconsider.

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