Panoply is the ancient Greek word for the suit of armor worn by soldiers going into battle. In recent years, that definition's evolved a little and now refers to an "extensive" or "impressive" collection of various things. Like a beautiful panoply of flowers. Or an impressive panoply of ETL features.
All this got us thinking: Does Panoply (the ETL platform) live up to its name? Does Panoply have an impressive panoply of ETL features? Or are there other tools that deserve your attention?
The answer is: Yes and no to all the above.
Panoply is a smaller, newer, cheaper platform than, say, Talend or Fivetran, and it's only been available since 2017 — its developers describe themselves as a "group of data geeks," a title they wear with pride — so we expected little going into this review. But then we discovered that Panoply serves two purposes: It's an ETL platform and a data warehouse rolled into one.
This duality might sound great, but it's quite limiting. If you already use a warehouse, then this platform isn't much use.
We suppose Panoply might serve a purpose if you're completely new to data management and don't even know about warehouses like Redshift and Snowflake. Plus, we'll always champion any small group of data geeks who want to change the ETL world.
Here's our full Panoply review.
|Trial length||14 days|
|User ratings on Capterra / G2||4.1/5 / 4.5/5|
|Data transformation||Data warehouse, ETL|
|Data source connectors||40+|
|Customization?||Yes, custom connectors|
|Connects to data warehouses? Data lakes?||No / No|
|Compliance/security certifications||HIPAA, GDPR, SOC 2|
Panoply: What You Need to Know
We presumed Panoply was just another ETL tool before we reviewed it. We quickly learned it's much more than that — a data warehouse/ETL combo that takes care of all aspects of data management. Normally, you'd use an ETL tool to extract data from a source, transform the data into the correct format, and then load it into a warehouse of your choice. Say Google BigQuery or Microsoft Azure. With Panoply, you don't get that choice because those self-described data geeks look after all your data in the cloud.
This is a good and bad thing, depending on how you view ETL. If you want to simplify the entire process and not have to worry about warehousing, Panoply's approach makes sense. If you already have a warehouse (or know what warehouse you want to use), you're better off with another platform. Take a look at TopETL's other reviews.
We'd say Panoply does the job for entry-level ETL; it's a good fit for a startup or medium-sized enterprise but not a company larger than that. Bigger organizations rely on the massive infrastructure of a Redshift or BigQuery or another enormous warehouse. We don't think Panoply will convince these companies to change the status quo.
That's not to say there's no flexibility with Panoply. You can connect it with other ETL tools like Fivetran and Stitch for more advanced data integration workflows. Presumably, you can connect to another data warehouse that way, but it seems like a complicated way to do it.
Let's inspect the ETL side of things. Panoply's biggest USP is its simplicity, and how it seamlessly automates most of the data integration process and does it quicker than you can say A-B-C. (Or E-T-L.) But perhaps it's a little too simple, with few of the flashy features on a Talend or an Xplenty. (Though you get much more features than with an open-source tool like Stitch.) Couple Panoply's ETL capabilities with its built-in data warehousing features and you have a unique concept that will suit many smaller companies. Panoply even offers some real-time business intelligence capabilities and analytics tools with query optimization directly on the platform. Or you can connect to a BI tool of your liking (Tableau or Looker, perhaps?) for better data visualization.
Panoply: Data Source Connectors
Panoply comes with a generous 40 connectors out-of-the-box. Other ETL platforms offer double or triple that amount, but there's an excellent selection here, including CRMs, relational databases, cloud APIs, SaaS tools, and more. All the big names are available, such as Google Analytics, Postgre SQL, MySQL, Amazon S3, HubSpot, Shopify, Microsoft SQL Server, and, of course, the almighty Salesforce.
If all that wasn't enough, you can pipe data into Panoply with any connector as long as it has a standard ODBC/JDBC connection. This is where things get complicated for the average user — which is why out-of-the-box connectors are so popular in ETL — but the option for some extra functionality is there if you require it.
Panoply: Support and Training
Panoply's friendly team of data geeks is only an email away, and the consensus online is that the quality of customer support is pretty good. We love how Panoply offers all users the same response times regardless of how much they pay. (Not every ETL tool does this.)
Understandably, there are few training opportunities on Panoply with it being such a new platform. However, you can deep dive into user guides, FAQs, and other valuable information from its support team on its website (Panoply.io).
It seems Panoply's pricing sits somewhere between the consumption-based model, where users pay for the amount of data they use, and the connector-based model, where users only pay for each connector they use. At least there aren't loads of complicated pricing models.
Panoply says its prices start from $200 per month, which is the cheaper side of the ETL pricing spectrum, but it doesn't specify what you get for that price. Everything else is pretty transparent, and there are no hidden fees or nasty surprises.
You can always take up the 14-day free trial and let us know what you think in the comments. The ETL-cloud data warehouse dual model is a fresh approach to conventional data management and something to experience for yourself.
What Panoply Says
"We’re here because we’ve been there. We’re a group of data geeks — a title we wear with pride — that know how frustrating it is when your data is locked away in some departmental silo, when you don’t have time to build data pipelines, when you can’t wait until next sprint, next month, or next quarter to get your hands on mission-critical data. We built Panoply to relieve that frustration and to make it possible for every company of any size to do advanced analysis without the overhead that comes with traditional data infrastructure."
Panoply Reviews: What Users Think
"Superior data warehouse services! Panoply's product as a whole is fantastic. It has alleviated a large portion of our business intelligence responsibilities. The data sources that it integrates with are comprehensive and allows us to ingest everything we need." — Daniel G.
"Alright as-is. Great for small agencies, lacking for tech use cases." — Matej A.
"Cheap if it works for you, but you get what you pay for – rude management." — User who works for a venture capital firm