iPaaS vs ETL: The Difference Explained

The number of applications used by the typical business is above 130, and it is increasing by 30% annually.

Companies have resorted to solutions that can integrate them and/or their data in an effort to maximize the potential of their expanding app ecosystem. An extract, transfer, and load (ETL) tool and an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) are two common choices.

The article examines – ETL vs. iPaaS each in order to help your organization distinguish between the two and select the option that is best for it.

Overview Of What ETL Is?

Data is gathered from many sources and stored in a target database using the frequently employed data integration technique known as ETL. Typically, this target database is a data warehouse, a consolidated data warehouse that has been tailored for reporting and business intelligence.

ETL involves extracting data from source locations (possibly internal and external sources), transforming it from its original format to suit the criteria and architecture of the target database, and then loading the data.

ELT (extract, load, transform), a variation of ETL, reverses the sequence of these operations: data is imported into the target database before even being processed. When dealing with unstructured data and NoSQL databases, the ELT technique is often preferable.

Overview Of What iPaaS Is?

An iPaaS is, to put it simply, a cloud-based platform that enables you to link your systems, whether they are hosted locally or remotely. Once integrated, the systems can communicate data with safety via API endpoints, enabling workers that use various tools to quickly retrieve the very same types of information. While doing so, it can offer data security by implementing API policies like authentication and permission.

For instance, you could utilize an iPaaS to link a marketing automation software like HubSpot with a CRM like Salesforce. Once integrated, you can create data flows across systems. For instance, the update on a prospect’s Salesforce page is immediately reflected if the prospect obtains a new lead score in HubSpot.

The Difference Between The Two – ETL vs. iPaaS

Although they appear to be very comparable, there are some significant distinctions to take into account while you into ETL vs. iPaaS.

  • In contrast to an ETL tool, an iPaaS enables real-time data transfer between systems.
  • While an iPaaS may efficiently manage cloud, on-premise, or hybrid systems, ETL tools are frequently designed for on-premise systems.
  • An ETL tool could only integrate data; an iPaaS can integrate both your systems and your data.

You can choose between an ETL and an iPaaS product in a variety of scenarios based on these differences:

Do you require real-time data access? Are a lot of your present systems cloud-based? And would you favor making your payment in the form of a subscription? An iPaaS is probably the preferable choice if the response to any of these questions is yes.

However, do you predominantly employ on-premises and older systems? Do you wish to alter and import your data gradually in a pretty safe and easy way? And do you favor spending money on a consumption-based pricing scheme? The best choice therefore might be an ETL tool.

ETL vs. iPaaS – Pros Of ETL And iPaaS

You can track data lineage with the use of ETL technologies. iPaaS allows for quick communication with your cloud apps.
Your operations become more robust thanks to ETL tools. iPaaS provides affordable app connections.
ETL improves efficiency. More agile business operations
Data movements can be integrated via ETL technologies. Lightweight message platforms are supported by iPaaS solutions.
You can see the flow of your data systems using ETL technologies. iPaaS enables you to increase compliance and data security.
iPaaS provides real-time data connections.

ETL vs. iPaaS – Cons Of ETL And iPaaS



When you require real-time data processing and on-demand data access, ETL technologies are not helpful.

Given the variety of IPaaS available today, selecting the best one might be difficult.

Business users and data analysts can’t easily use ETL tools.

The IT teams integrate the systems, there is a chance for mistakes made by humans and data exposure.

Considerations You Need To Look At While Choosing an IPaaS Platform

There are a few features to consider if working with an IPaaS platform is something you’re thinking about. Here are a few that we suggest:

  • The iPaaS platform must be prepared for business use.
  • It should be adaptable, providing secure cloud applications, end-to-end audit trails, simplified bulk data transfers, geo-fencing, and geo-redundancy.
  • Data integration, hybrid integration, automation, and cloud integration should all be supported by the iPaaS vendor support system.
  • A contemporary iPaaS should be used. When necessary, it should work in harmony with existing technologies to develop new applications, acquire fresh data, and integrate operations.
  • Additionally, the iPaaS ought to provide you with outstanding performance at cheap total ownership expenses. It should enable you to hire fewer full-time staff members and replace its technology components for less money.


ETL challenges

The following are the top three ETL challenges:

  • Not in real-time, but batch-driven

ETL transfers data in groups, typically hourly or daily. Fast-moving enterprises that require real-time or nearly real-time information may find this to be too slow.

  • Integrates Only Data 

ETL methods cannot integrate the applications that produce the data; they can only integrate the data. For enterprises that demand complete control and monitoring over their environment, this might not offer a close enough integration.

  • Legacy-oriented

Many ETL tools are designed specifically for or only work with legacy on-premises systems. This might not be sufficient for modern cloud-centric IT workloads.

iPaaS, on the other hand, fixes many of the issues with ETL. While iPaaS flourishes on flexibility, agility, and real-time insights, ETL needs predictability. As a cloud-native integration solution with the ability to combine numerous systems and APIs as well as data, iPaaS is perfectly suited for use in the cloud, on-premises, and hybrid IT environments.


The debate over on ETL vs. iPaaS is not about which one is better but is more about which suits your business better. ETL and IPaaS technologies can both support better data governance. Even though IPaaS gives you greater adaptability and scalability, there may be some features that you require from an ETL system instead.

Basically, based on your unique company requirements, select either an ETL or an IPaaS.

Either way, both services have the potential to aid in the digital transformation of your company. The database processing and connectivity options supplied by both platforms can optimize the way you work.

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