Matillion Review: Pros, Cons, Features and User Secrets

Our Verdict

We have a major gripe with Matillion ETL: It's not actually an ETL platform. It looks like an ETL, markets itself as an ETL, and nearly everyone in the world thinks it's an ETL. But it's not. It's an ELT tool, and that's a completely different thing.

In case you don't know, ELT stands for Extract, Load, Transform. Both ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) and ELT computer software extracts data from various sources through data pipelines. However, ELT loads data into a final destination, such as a data warehouse, before the transformation stage is complete. So ELT doesn't transform your data into a usable format at all. It lets the data destination do all the hard work.

So what is Matillion doing on TopETL, a website that reviews ETL products? Well, it's such a popular tool, and we thought it was important you knew the difference between ETL and ELT when looking for products. Plus, Matillion is really good at what it does, so it's well worth a mention. It's just different, that's all, and there's nothing wrong with being different.

Let's examine Matillion, the ETL tool that's not an ETL tool. Stay tuned for our Matillion review.

Matillion Features
Trial length 14 days
User ratings on Capterra / G2 4.3/5 / 4.3/5
Data transformation ELT (Not ETL!)
Data source connectors One of the top ETL tools for connectors, with around 100 integrations that streamline pipeline workflows
Customization? Yes, create your own custom connectors
Connects to data warehouses? Data lakes? Yes / Yes
Support SLAs? No
Developer tools REST API
Compliance/security certifications GDPR, HIPAA
Matillion: What You Need to Know

Okay, Matillion's not an ETL tool, but we haven't uncovered some big secret. The company makes it very clear on its website:

"While we refer to the product as Matillion ETL since 'ETL' is more commonly known, Matillion is actually an ELT product. Following an ELT approach, Matillion loads source data directly into your database, allowing you to transform and prepare data for analytics using the power of your cloud data architecture."

So that clears that up.

While TopETL specializes in ETL reviews, we realize that sometimes our readers might prefer to go down the ELT route, especially if they have a lot of legacy data. This is because ELT handles enormous amounts of structured and unstructured data without requiring a relational or structured data format. Still, we think it's best to invest in a tool with both ETL and ELT capabilities, such as Fivetran or Xplenty. These platforms give you the best of both worlds.

Back to Matillion. It uses ELT to integrate data between sources such as CRMs, ERPs, SaaS applications and databases to a data warehouse (or lake) of your choice. (Think of Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Snowflake, Microsoft Azure and the like.) Then, these cloud data warehouses perform transformation for real-time analytics. This is opposite of how ETL handles things.

Note: Once you push data into your warehouse, you can't extract it and integrate it with another destination. You can still gather business intelligence insights by integrating your warehouse with BI tools like Looker and Tableau, but this marks the end of your data pipeline. Your data has reached its final destination.

The wonderful thing about Matillion is that it requires little code, making it a good data management option for teams without data engineers. If code's your thing, you can still hand-code custom scripts in Bash, SQL and Python for more complicated pipelines. The option is there.

We found the platform super simple to use, and its smooth interface and functionality impressed us. Other things we loved include its real-time monitoring and scheduler — Matillion sent us email notifications when data integration tasks took place. That way, we didn't have to keep logging into the system to see what was going on.

Let's quickly talk about scale as well. Because Matillion exists in a clustered environment, it automatically scales as your data management projects do. There's plenty of scope for more complex data integration, which would enable better data analytics further down the pipeline.

So once you get over the initial shock that Matillion ETL is not an ETL, it's an all-around solid platform for data management with an excellent user interface.

Matillion: Data Source Connectors

Matillion comes with approximately 100 user-friendly connectors. This number is comparable to that of platforms like Fivetran, while tools like Talend and Informatica offer more. Aside from the obvious AWS and Salesforce connections, some of the more obscure data sources include AOL (remember that?), MariaDB and LinkedIn.

Matillion offers a wide selection of connectors for integrating legacy data, modern data, and everything in between, making the platform a good fit for small companies, financial services organizations, hospitals and others. The REST API connector lets you create custom integrations (if you know how.)

Matillion: Support and Training

Matillion customer support extends to phone and email, which is a plus when so many ETLs — sorry, ELTs — won't let you talk to a human being. Quality of support and response times are good, and there are no limitations if you subscribe to one of the cheaper pricing models.

There are lots of training opportunities too. The Matillion Academy has certifications for all things data management, such as data extraction, data engineering, orchestration, ingestion and automation processes. You can also find user guides, tutorials and FAQs on the Matillion website.

Matillion: Pricing

Matillion still uses the pay-per-hour pricing model, which we think is an outdated concept for ETL/ELT. Still, this type of pricing might work out to be cheaper in some circumstances. Prices start from $1.37 per hour, which is standard for this kind of thing, but the good news is that there are no upfront costs or commitments.

As always, we recommend the 14-day free trial, even if it's just so you can see what ELT is all about.

What Matillion Says

"Matillion ETL is a data integration tool that we purpose built for Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Azure Synapse, and Delta Lake on Databricks."

Matillion Reviews: What Users Think

The Good

"Matillion works well with Snowflake and various sources like S3, SQL, and other databases, which makes it the best ELT tool." — A healthcare consultant

The Bad

"Their support team is not that fast, and sometimes it's hard to find solutions on their documentation. I had a support case that stayed open for four days, and I didn't get any reply, I had to find a workaround by myself. Also, there are some data types for Redshift it does not support." — Paulo Henrique O.

The Ugly

"The user experience feels a little dated. Some things could be better displayed/explained." — Erick B.

Matillion Review: The Bottom Line

Okay, so Matillion doesn't help with the ETL process, but we forgive them. This ELT tool is one of the best on the market, and it has an incredible range of features. If you don't mind your data destination transforming data, you can't go wrong with this product. Overall, we had a satisfactory experience with Matillion, and we think it's a great tool. The platform was reliable, and we loved the automation, ease of use, scalability and selection of connectors.

Despite its merits, though, we still prefer an ETL-ELT combo over Matillion for greater flexibility, especially if you're looking to scale your data management workflows. If you insist on ELT exclusivity, consider Matillion's pay-per-hour pricing structure, which might work out to be more expensive than other platforms depending on how you approach data transformation.