About the services
Airbyte is the leading open-source ELT tool, created in July 2020. As of September 2021, they have built over 120 data connectors, and have 5,000 companies using them to sync data. Their ambition is to commoditize data integration by addressing the long tail of connectors through their growing contributor community. Airbyte released a Cloud offer in October 2021 with an infrastructure-type pricing model.
Fivetran is a closed-source, managed ELT service that was created in 2012. As of September 2021, they have built 150 data connectors and have over 2,000 customers. They are considered a reliable choice and have a large customer base. Fivetran charges on monthly active rows (in other words, the number of rows that have been edited or added in a given month).
Pre-built connectors are the primary way to differentiate ETL / ELT solutions, as they enable data teams to focus only on the insights to build
Within 14 months from inception, Airbyte already offers connectors for more than 120 data sources, and all major data warehouses, lakes and databases as data destinations.
All Airbyte connectors are open sourced and can be edited to address any custom needs the customers have. Airbyte users can leverage these connectors through the open-source edition or the Cloud offer.
Airbyte’s Connector Development Kit also enables their users to build custom connectors in a standardized way within 2 hours (instead of 2 days), and the Airbyte team and community can help in their maintenance.
About 30% of the connectors have been contributed by the growing community. Airbyte will provide a SLA for the certified connectors, but Airbyte’s ambition is also to provide a SLA for other connectors through the community and its participative model on the long tail of connectors, and to reach 1,000+ connectors in the next few years.
Airbyte will offer reverse-ETL connectors in 2022.
Fivetran offers connectors for more than 150 data sources. It supports the major data warehouses and databases as destinations. However, Fivetran doesn’t support any data lakes.
Customers can pay extra and request that Fivetran build a new data source, but no one outside the Fivetran team can build new data sources or make improvements to existing sources.
Fivetran’s customers often end up having to build and maintain custom connectors in-house with their own data engineering teams to address all their custom needs.
Airbyte is an ELT tool, and does not transform data prior to loading. Airbyte offers two options to get your data out of the box: a serialized JSON object and the normalized version of the record as tables.
Airbyte also offers custom transformations via SQL and through deep integration with dbt, allowing their users and customers to trigger their own dbt packages at the destination level right after the EL.
Fivetran is an ELT tool, and does not transform data prior to loading, either. It offers its own opinionated normalization out of the box, and recently added support for post-load transformations via copy-and-paste SQL and dbt.
Every company has custom data architectures and, therefore, unique data integration needs. A lot of tools don’t enable teams to address those, which results in a lot of investment in building and maintaining additional in-house scripts.
Airbyte’s architecture modularity implies that you can leverage any part of Airbyte. For instance, you can use Airflow’s orchestrator to trigger Airbyte’s ELT jobs.
You can also edit any pre-built connectors to your own specific needs, or even leverage the Connector Development Kit to build your own custom connectors in a matter of hours (instead of days) and have its maintenance shared with the community and the Airbyte team.
Airbyte’s promise is to address all your ELT needs and the long tail of integrations.
Fivetran released cloud functions to let their customers edit connectors by writing small function to fetch data using Go, Java, Node.js, Python, C# or F#. Customers will need to host their functions on a serverless platform.
Support & docs
Data integration tools can be complex, so customers need to have great support channels. This includes online documentation as well as tutorials, email and chat support. More complicated tools may also offer training services.
Airbyte provides in-app chat support with an average time to respond of 1 hour.
Their documentation is comprehensive and full of tutorials. Airbyte also has a Slack and Discourse community where help is available from the Airbyte team, other users or contributors.
Airbyte does not provide any training services.
Fivetran provides support through an in-app form, but does not offer chat support.
Their documentation is comprehensive, but Fivetran doesn’t offer a Slack or Discourse community.
Fivetran does not provide any training services.
Airbyte provides a one-month free trial or $400 worth of credits, whichever expires first. Airbyte’s pricing is credit-based, and you consume credits based on compute time and, to a lesser extent, egress costs. Airbyte positions itself as a self-service infrastructure company.
This pricing structure adapts well to all use cases, including database replication.
Airbyte doesn’t charge for failed syncs or normalization.
Airbyte offers adapted pricing to customers with large volumes.
Fivetran provides a 14-day free trial. It discloses a pricing based on monthly active rows, i.e., rows that are added or edited in a given month.
Fivetran’s volume-based pricing doesn’t adapt well with database replication use cases that involve the replication of millions of rows.