Data is New Oil. Period.
Businesses around the world are now moving towards data-driven decision making. Take any industry, any business, and any department, and you will see that they can’t survive without data.
What decisions to make, what steps to take, everything is governed by the data available. However, all these decisions are not possible if you lack data or if it is not available in the right format.
Consolidating this data at a single place and cleansing it for making OLAP operations is not an easy task. Data migration teams without reliable software can take weeks to streamline data integration processes.
That’s where Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) comes in. Let’s learn more about ETL operations in detail.
What is ETL?
ETL in its simplest form means Extract, Transform, and Load. It means, getting data from multiple sources and then loading them on a data warehouse. The whole process is also known as data integration.
You can also say that the ETL tools help integrating data from sources to destinations.
Everything from increasing inventory to hiring workers, to optimizing processes relies on data-driven decisions. If companies do not have resources available to create relevant data visualizations, how can they make better decisions?
This is where ETL helps them. It loads each relevant data point to a data warehouse that businesses can use to make relevant decisions.
ETL consists of three important functions. Let’s learn about each function in detail.
Extracting data is the act of targeting a data source and pulling the data from it so that it can be transformed, integrated, and stored elsewhere. We can target many different databases of various types for extractions, and we can run each extraction on a schedule so that you get a regular flow of current and accurate data.
Data is not always available in your desired format. It needs to be transformed before it can be used for OLAP purposes. That’s where ETL software comes in. It transforms the data by using pre-built transformations.
An example is when you want only one value from a database. However, you can’t extract that value alone. You will have to extract the whole table. So, ETL will bring it to a staging area where that value or data point will be extracted. If it is a column of data points, it will be extracted and moved to the data warehouse. All other data will remain the same.
Finally, once the data is prepared and transformed, it is loaded into the destination – which is in most cases a data warehouse. The loaded data can be used in a variety of ways.
The most commonly known destination is a data warehouse, where you can keep the data for future analysis, tracking trends, or just as integrated storage.
Why ETL Tools are Necessary?
ETL Tools are necessary to load data from multiple data marts, data hubs, and data lakes to a data warehouse. Users can use the ETL tool from one source to a destination using different data connectors.
Source: Astera Centerprise
The data is first arranged in a staging area where it is cleansed, formatted, and transformed. Then this data is moved to its destination which in our case will be the data warehouse.
Since the data is fetched to the staging area first, there is no chance of the data at the source getting overwritten.
Similarly, another method of moving data from the source to the destination is by using pushdown optimization. The process directly loads the data from a source to a destination, bypassing the staging area.
Pushdown optimization allows all transformation to be done on the destination drive. It saves more time and is used for real-time data streaming.
Do You Need an ETL Tool for Data Integration?
ETL tools offer several connectors for integrating data from a source database to a destination warehouse. Without an ETL tool, integrating data from multiple sources can take a lot of time. Before ETL tools, companies had dedicated ETL teams that used to create data connectors for integrating data from legacy systems.
A single integration task tool over a week. With ETL tools, these data integrations are now possible within minutes.
Companies need to understand that the data requirements of companies are not going to decrease. Therefore, using the right ETL tool is the need of the hour. Astera Centerprise data integrator is one such tool that can complete ETL jobs within seconds. It offers over 40 connectors that allow users to easily move data from any data lake to a data warehouse without a problem.