META Group, Inc. announced the availability of its newest METAspectrum In Depth report, covering the extract/transform/load (ETL) middleware market. This market comprises vendors that offer tools used in designing and populating analytic databases such as data warehouses, data marts and operational data stores. Specifically, ETL tools provide for the periodic extraction, transformation, and integration of data from any number of data sources into time-variant databases used predominantly for query and reporting.

"The ETL adoption rate will expand 10-20 percent annually during the next three to five years, with the services component growing at a commensurate pace," said Doug Laney, vice president with META Group's Technology Research Services and lead author of the report. "However, due to price pressure from DBMS vendors offering increasingly competitive offerings at bundled prices, the financial growth of this market will be in the 5-15 percent range, annually."

According to META Group, ETL market growth will resume, albeit modestly, in 2004, fueled by an aggressive uptake in customer data integration (CDI) efforts and consolidation of departmental data warehouse efforts into enterprise initiatives. Consolidation within the ETL market will not occur in the next few years, but rather second-tier purveyors will continue joining forces with business intelligence vendors. Top-tier ETL vendors, on the other hand, will either absorb or build out enterprise application integration technology along with other forms of data integration.

Key Findings and Guidance

The ETL Tools report evaluated the 13 largest ETL vendors. According to the report, ETL buyers are demonstrating a preference for market leaders and are willing to make architectural concessions to embrace such leaders.

  • Leaders - with Ascential and SAS tied for the top spot - offer mature products with a broad array of data sourcing and targeting options, seamless access to mainframe data, robust developer environments and job parallelization. They have also leveraged strong financial cushions, enabling them to innovate and acquire ancillary capabilities.
  • The bulk of vendors fell into the challenger category. Business Objects was viewed as having the strongest vertical expertise of all vendors. Oracle, DataMirror and Sunopsis are noted for offering built-in intelligence features that help speed the mapping of data sources, tuning of jobs or handling of aberrations during runtime.
  • Followers in this market are milking an existing installed base for service and maintenance fees as they search for an acquirer or new home for their technology. Despite being ranked a follower in this report, Microsoft - with its large installed base, attractive pricing and apparent commitment to this market - should cause the entire market to stand up and take notice by 2005/06.
  • In many cases, a challenger or a follower could be the favored selection because of expertise in a particular vertical industry or technology domain.

Providing comprehensive, side-by-side vendor comparisons and research, META Group's ETL Tools METAspectrum In Depth report helps users evaluate the overall performance of IT vendors and their competitive market position as well as compare and contrast the strengths and limitations of each vendor's product offerings. The evaluation is based on META Group's METAspectrum methodology, which provides a framework for evaluating or selecting an appropriate IT vendor or product, simplifies the decision process, and enables more effective technology investments. To learn more about META Group's METAspectrum In Depth reports or the METAspectrum methodology, visit or call (800) 945-META. 

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