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.
Meltano is an open-source orchestrator dedicated to data integration, built by Gitlab on top of Singer’s taps and targets. Since 2019, they have been iterating on several approaches. They are a spin-off of Gitlab focused on the ETL use case. After two years, they now support 34 connectors, and can leverage all of Singer’s increasingly outdated taps and targets. Meltano distinguishes itself with its focus on DataOps and the CLI interface.
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 (MIT) 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.
Within 2 years from inception, the Meltano team built 35 connectors, but then decided to stop investing time in expanding their list of supported connectors, choosing instead to rely fully on Singer’s taps and targets (without providing any support or maintenance for them).
Singer’s connectors are open sourced (AGPL) and can be edited to address custom needs. However, unlike Airbyte’s connectors they don’t work out of the box and require engineering work.
Meltano also offers a SDK to more easily build Singer taps and targets, with more standardization.
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 (both open-source and cloud editions), allowing their users and customers to trigger their own dbt packages at the destination level right after the EL.
Meltano only offers transformations through a deep integration with the open-source edition of 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.
Being open source means you can leverage Singer’s taps and targets the way you want. But the lack of standardization across them makes it a difficult task to leverage those connectors to address your custom needs. Meltano hopes to address the standardization issue for new connectors built with their SDK, though.
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 chat support directly on their web app, 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.
Meltano has a Slack community, and has open-sourced documentation. Meltano does not provide support apart from that.
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.
Meltano doesn’t offer a cloud-hosted solution yet, or any premium support. It only offers an open-source edition.