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Fivetran Alternatives - Keboola is what you are looking for in 2023

Looking for a Fivetran alternative? Connect your data, build pipelines, and automate workflows with Keboola.

How To
March 16, 2021
Fivetran Alternatives - Keboola is what you are looking for in 2023
Looking for a Fivetran alternative? Connect your data, build pipelines, and automate workflows with Keboola.

When researching your next ETL and ELT tool, you should consider Keboola as an alternative to Fivetran. To make your choice easier we compare side-by-side Fivetran and Keboola on critical product features, pricing, and everything in between:

In a rush? Here is a summary of the comparison between Keboola and Fivetran:

fivetran alternatives comparison table

Start by connecting data sources in just a few clicks and at no cost.

1. Overview: What are Fivetran and Keboola used for?

Fivetran and Keboola can be used to build ETL pipelines.You can use either software to automate your Extract Transform Load (ETL) data pipeline. This allows you to collect data from all its sources (extract), clean it (transform) and save it to a database or data warehouse of your choice (load).

Relying on an ETL platform for your data integrations has multiple advantages:

  1. Saves you engineering hours, which can now be used for more revenue-generating work.
  2. Outsources the maintenance of the infrastructure and software for your ETL pipeline to the SaaS vendor.
  3. Accelerates your time to insights.

Unlike its competitor Fivetran and other ETL-only tools, Keboola goes beyond data integrations. It is an end-to-end data platform, offering tools for data tasks beyond ETL, such as prototyping machine learning products, data governance, and plenty more. But more on this later.

2. Data sources

Keboola and Fivetran both allow you to extract data from multiple in-house and 3rd Party data sources, such as:

  • CRM and sales software: Hubspot, Salesforce, Pipedrive, etc.
  • Advertising platforms: Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Linkedin Ads, Twitter Ads, CJ Affiliate, BingAds, and others.
  • Marketing communication: CustomerIO, Drip, Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, Klaviyo, ...
  • Project management: Asana, Jira, Emails, Freelo, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.
  • In-house data: Google Sheets, CSVs, Excel, Dropbox, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and others.
  • Support and customer success software: Delighted, Zendesk, Intercom, Freshdesk, etc.
  • Accounting solutions: QuickBooks, Fakturoid, FlexiBee, ...

How do the two contenders compare?

  • Quantity: while Fivetran offers around 140 incoming data sources, Keboola’s number is approaching 300. The numbers vary as new sources are added weekly on both data platforms, so make sure to check the links for updates.
  • Data warehouses as sources: Keboola offers more data warehouses as sources than its alternative Fivetran. As of Mar 2021, Fivetran does not allow data extraction from Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, or BigQuery.
  • Transparency and documentation. Fivetran integrations come with how-to guides, while Keboola builds open-source integrations as well as documentation, which allows you to better understand how an extractor works. As an example, look at the differences in documentation and access to code for Google Analytics integration: Fivetran’s implementation vs Keboola’s solution
  • Origin of integrations. Fivetran does not support community-built integrations. What the Fivetran team builds is what you get. In contrast, its alternative Keboola offers rich community-built applications alongside their core integrations.

The most crucial difference between the two is what happens when you want to extract data from a source that is not yet covered by the officially provided connectors and extractors.

3. Custom sources

When you want to extract data from a source that is not officially provided by the vendor, you are going to experience two drastically different scenarios with Keboola and its alternative, Fivetran.

Fivetran does not allow you to build your own custom data source extractors. If you want to add a new source, you need to request it with Fivetran’s support (and wait for them to build it).

On the other hand, Keboola developed an open-source toolkit for building new data source extractors. Keboola offers its Generic component to import data from almost any REST API and countless other APIs. The component acts as a customizable HTTP REST client. So, you can build your own data source. The universal extractor does not require programming prowess, you can write your extractor as a JSON (check the tutorial for more information).

4. Data transformations

Data transformations encompass all the data wrangling and cleaning you need to do to make data usable. For example, cleaning data to remove corrupted records, outliers, transform it in a format before loading it into a database, etc.

Fivetran used to be extremely lacking with the transformation features they offered their clients, but have recently partnered with dbt to extend its SQL transformation abilities. Unfortunately, Fivetran still focuses only on post-load transformations (you cannot sanitize data before data loading), and it is unclear how using dbt affects pricing.

Keboola, on the other hand, offers extensive pre-and post-load data transformations. You can either choose from premade components that do the transformation for you or fully customize transformations by writing the scripts yourself. And unlike its alternative Fivetran, you are not limited to SQL transformations. You can write custom transformations in the programming language your engineers and scientists love best (SQL, Python, R, Julia, …). 

5. Data destinations

Once you have extracted and cleaned your data you want to load it into a destination of your choice:

  • Databases: MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, DynamoDB, Firebird, Microsoft SQL Server, Neo4j, Oracle, …
  • Data warehouses: Apache Hive, Amazon Redshift, IBM dashDB, Snowflake, Synapse, Google BigQuery …
  • Data lakes (for huge deployments)

Both platforms offer similar destinations for your data loading use cases and are rather comparable.

6. Advanced analytics, data visualizations, and machine learning applications

Extracting, transforming, and loading your data is just one piece of the puzzle. What you do with that data sets you apart from competitors. 

Both Keboola and its alternative Fivetran offer a variety of BI and AI tooling integrations, such as connecting your data with Looker, Google Analytics, Jupyter notebooks, … where you can analyze your data.

What sets Keboola apart from its Fivetran alternative is the ecosystem of tooling built specifically for data engineering and data science:

  1. Keboola’ Sandboxes build environments where your data scientists and engineers can prototype AI and ML products without breaking the underlying data pipelines. Prototype data products faster than ever and cut your time-to-product-launch as well as time-to-insights.
  2. Keboola’s Data Catalog allows you to both document data as well as share data with all interested parties. Understanding the data you work with is crucial for building data products and trusting your data analysis.
  3. Data scientists can tap into Keboola’s application marketplace to automate multiple aspects of their work. Among others, they can integrate Google’s NLP API into their workflow or deploy their ML model to Azure as an API with a couple of clicks. This removes bottlenecks where data practitioners had to rely on data engineers to set up the environment and pipelines needed for them to do their work.

7. Automation

Automation frees up your engineering time and puts the data pipeline on autopilot. 

Fivetran has some automation logic in the background, where you can set up the frequency of data syncing.

Unlike Keboola, which comes with a full-fledged automation environment. Automate your ETL pipelines via Orchestrators, which are fully flexible automation applications. You can automate your data extraction, cleaning, loading, and even more bottom-of-the-funnel functions like data analysis. To always work with fresh and relevant data. 

8. Security

Both platforms offer enterprise-grade security and compliance:

The difference is the amount of money you have to pay to tap into those security levels. Fivetran offers safe VPN tunnels for data transfers only on their most expensive plan (if you pay less, you will have to SSH or find another solution). Keboola does not think its paying customers are the only ones who need data protection. Your data is secure even on the freemium model.

9. Support 

Support is integral to deciding which data platform to deploy for your data needs. For sensible reasons. When things go wrong - not if, mind you, when - you have to know you can rely on your vendor to help you resolve your queries.

Keboola is praised for the support it offers its customers:  users have consistently rated Keboola’s customer service with 5/5

The alternative, on the other hand, comes with a mixed bag of feedback. While some customers praise Fivetran for its customer support, others complain about inefficiencies, delays, and the necessary reliance on support for solving common problems.  

10. User satisfaction

User satisfaction is high on both platforms (4.9/5 - Keboola, 4.2/5 - Fivetran), which shows that choosing either product will help you speed up your data operations. Ultimately, the choice will depend on the specific features you need and the cost/benefit analysis.

11. Pricing

The cost of tooling is an important aspect when deciding which data platform will serve your company’s needs best.

Both Keboola and its alternative, Fivetran, have an option to try the product for free. Fivetran offers a 14-day free trial, while Keboola has an always-free no questions asked plan

So, once the free aspect is over, how much do the platforms cost? Both data vendors charge proportionately to usage. 

Fivetran has a custom calculation of “monthly active rows” (MARs) and associated credits. You get charged for the number of rows that were inserted, deleted, or updated within a calendar month (aka Monthly Active Rows). However, it is a bit obscure how much that actually costs, because you need to convert MARs to credits and then credits to dollars.

Keboola, on the other hand, charges 14 cents per processing minute. And that is after you used up your free 300 minutes which you get every month.

12. Summary: Which tool to pick?

In the end, the choice for the best data tool will boil down to how that tool helps your data team solve their problems.

In this article, we compared side-by-side Keboola and its alternative Fivetran on the ETL features and other data operations functionalities: 

fivetran alternatives comparison table

If you want to dive deeper, please feel free to explore Keboola’s features on the always-free plan.

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