StarNavi Blog - How ETL Cloud Services Can Help You Navigate Your Data?
In today’s day and age, data is the lifeblood of most organizations. It is an objective source of insights about everything from your customers’ behavior to how you can better optimize your supply chain. That being said, the actual process of integrating and organizing big data can be complicated. This is especially true if you have limited technical background and rely on colleagues or a third-party company to manage your technology stack. The good news is that different types of data integrations can help you blend data from multiple sources and make it easier to analyze.
Specifically, that type of data integration is called an ETL cloud service. Standing for “extract, transform, load,” an ETL cloud service can help you build a comprehensive and easy-to-navigate data warehouse. In the end, it helps you and your colleagues easily analyze your data so that you can make better business decisions. In this article, we are going to take a deep dive into ETL data services. You will learn everything from what ETL is to several Python ETL tools that can help you leverage everything that these services have to offer.
What is ETL?
If you haven’t yet heard of ETL, you may be wondering what it is and specifically how it can help your organization. We are here to help. ETL data services are essentially ways in which you can transfer data from a source database to a destination data warehouse. The ETL of ETL data services represents three different steps that are part of this process. Ultimately, data is extracted from the source system, transformed into a format that can be analyzed, and then loaded into a data warehouse or other type of system.
ETL traces its origins all the way back to the 1970s. During that time, businesses and other organizations were starting to use databases to store a wide array of business data. But as those businesses started to grow, there was an acute need to integrate all of the data that was spread across different databases. While these businesses tried different types of strategies, many of them settled on ETL.
ETL data services transformed since then, with the rise of data warehouses in the 1980s and 1990s and additional data formats and sources in the last decade. Nonetheless, ETL cloud services remain one of the essential tools for both small and large businesses in today’s business world.
The Three Stages of ETL Data Services in More Detail
To understand ETL data services on a more granular level, it is helpful to talk about the “E,” “T,” and “L.” As we mentioned, the “E” stands for extraction. It is the first step of this process because ETL data services are pulling data out of many different sources and applications. While one may think that users need to prioritize or select the data that is extracted, the extraction part of ETL services extracts more data than needed. The filtering is performed at a later time. During the extraction process, your ETL service will work hard to ensure that the original data sources aren’t harmed. Keeping the original data sources intact, both in terms of response time and performance, is a key part of the extraction process.
From extraction, there is transformation. The transformation here is essentially running different types of functions and queries on the database. Doing so, the goal is to retrieve a certain subset of records. From there, using SQL SELECT statements, you can do things like sort, join, aggregate, and concatenate the data. This transformation step is a critical part of the entire process, as it is organizing and cleaning the data in a way that is suitable for further analysis.
Finally, the “L” stands for the load. Once this transformation process is complete, you will load the transformed data to the new data warehouse. It is encouraged to complete all of your transformations before the loading process. While you can theoretically do it as you are loading, the better practice is to do this during the appropriate transformation stage. That being said, the load process is arguably the most exciting, as you have a new data warehouse with cleaned and organized data.
Why Is ETL Important?
Throughout this discussion, we have offered some hints on why ETL is important. But having said this, it is worth the time to discuss the benefits that ETL services can offer to your company. Most importantly, ETL data services help you get an intimate look at your company’s data. ETL services allow all types of businesses to not only have a thorough historical context for their business but to identify opportunities where they can create even more value. Moreover, viewing this data is much more seamless. Instead of gathering bits of data from many different databases, ETL services make it easier to analyze data relevant to a specific initiative. This saves your entire organization time, which translates into more profits down the road.
ETL data services are also important to many organizations because they let non-technical employees reuse and interpret data. Once again, this makes your organization more productive, allowing your employees to spend more time on the things that matter than go down rabbit holes to solve technical problems.
The bottom line? ETL data services can make your life easier. They can help in the day-to-day struggles of finding and interpreting data. You and your colleagues can be on the same page when analyzing historical data or looking at data to justify a “bet the company” decision. And lest we forget, ETL can help your company save money and increase your bottom line. It is a win-win for both employee morale and the long-term health of your company.
Some Situations Where ETL Data Services Are Helpful
Looking at ETL data services more concretely, you may be wondering how to use an ETL service in a practical manner. While there are many different situations where ETL data services can be helpful, we wanted to highlight two here. First, ETL data services can be extremely helpful if you have a team of data scientists that are trying to solve a problem. That problem may require a significant amount of data cleaning. Because ETL services have better cleaning functions compared to the ones available in SQL, you will likely want to leverage the power of ETL. In doing so, you can more easily navigate the cleaning process and move one step closer to successfully finish the project.
It is also a smart idea to use ETL data services when moving large amounts of data. If there are complex rules and transformations, ETL cloud services make the job substantially easier. This is because ETL tools are built to handle string manipulation, multiple sets of data, and complex calculations. You can be confident that your complex data can be moved and transformed in the way that you want.
Some Python ETL Tools That You Can Use
When talking about ETL services or ETL as a service, there is plenty of good news. As we discussed, ETL services let you quickly move, transform, and analyze data. But beyond the immense value that ETL inherently provides, there are plenty of free, open-source tools that can help you leverage ETL tools. While you may want to pull up Google to look at the many different software testing tools and other tools, several tools deserve much of your attention.
The first tool is Airflow. Airflow lets you use Python to organize, schedule, and monitor ETL processes. One of the coolest things about Airflow is that it has an intuitive user interface to manage so-called Directed Acyclic Graphs. Along with this, Airflow is scalable and extendable. It is a great option if you are looking for a way to make your ETL processes run more smoothly.
From Airflow, there is petl. Petl is like Pandas in that it lets users create Python tables by extracting data from many different sources and output them to a database. That being said, petl is special in that it is more suited for ETL processes. And finally, there is Odo. Odo is special in that it offers an easy way to move data between different containers. It can be an excellent tool for you if you spend lots of time loading data from CSV files to SQL databases.
Get Started Today
ETL services can create an immense amount of value for your organization. They take a typical process and make it easier and more seamless. Whether you work for a smaller or larger business, ETL cloud services can make your life significantly easier. If you would like some help implementing ETL services in your company, we invite you to contact our B&D department. At StarNavi, we have a team of experienced remote developers who can help you leverage everything that ETL services have to offer. To learn more about us and how we can help you, click here.
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