The data integration landscape is constantly evolving with several new and compelling tools entering the market every year. It’s a very competitive space and choosing the right solutions requires meticulous consideration, especially if there’s considerable high-level feature overlap.
Both Fivetran and Hevo Data have strong automated data movement capabilities that work with a wide variety of data sources. Both are powerful no-code tools that empower data teams to build quickly. But when it gets down to the detailed work of data integration, costs and capabilities, the two products are fairly different. Let’s take a look.
Hevo Data vs. Fivetran: At a glance
Hevo Data is a bidirectional, cloud-based data pipeline platform with modern features like no-code configuration, easy pipeline setup and maintenance, log-based replication and pre- and post-transformation. It supports ETL, ELT and reverse ETL for more than 150 data sources. Hevo Data was founded in 2017 and has two primary product offerings:
- Hevo Pipeline: Moves data from data sources into a data warehouse
- Hevo Activate: Syncs customer data to various SaaS applications (e.g. CRMs and productivity suites)
Fivetran is an automated data movement platform that offers fully managed data connectors to sync data from over 300 SaaS applications, APIs, databases and other structured and semi-structured data sources into target analytical destinations like data warehouses and data lakes. Fivetran was founded in 2012 and has a variety of offerings, all of which are fully-managed, automated and serve anyone from small startups to large, data-mature enterprises.
As of April 2023:
Data sources and destination connectors
The ability to connect to data sources and destinations is one of the first and most important considerations for selecting a data integration tool. But there’s more to a connector than meets the eye.
Hevo Pipeline offers 150+ connectors (11 destination options, 140+ sources, including unreleased connectors) and supports change data capture (CDC). The source connectors feature a variety of databases, SaaS applications, cloud storage and streaming services. Hevo Data develops all their connectors in-house and does not enable customers to develop their own custom connectors. New connectors can be requested through a form on the Hevo Data website.
Fivetran offers 300+ connectors (24 destination options, 300+ sources) and also supports CDC. All Fivetran connectors are fully-supported, and there is an option for customers to implement their own connectors using Fivetran cloud functions and other options. This enables customers to write scripts to fetch data with support for multiple programming languages (Go, Java, Node.js, Python, C# or F#).
Fivetran customers have access to a broader range of high-performance database replication solutions, including log-based change data capture connectors for companies with on-premises databases such as Oracle, SQL Server, SAP HANA and DB2. Beyond log-based CDC, Fivetran provides necessary capture capabilities for SAP ERP, both ECC and S/4HANA with a high-volume agent connector, as well as through HVR and Private Deployment solutions.
In summary, Fivetran offers more than twice as many connectors as Hevo Data, but there’s more to connector selection than just numbers. Fivetran has extensive database connectors and multiple patterns to ingest data from Database including remote log based capture, high volume agents and Teleport Sync. Fivetran covers the most complex and high value enterprise applications including e.g. SAP, Oracle Fusion Apps and many more. Beyond the quantity of the connectors are issues of intersection and capabilities of the connectors. More connectors means more intersectionality of data sources. What if you need support for Zoho CRM, Sendgrid webhook and ADP Workforce Now? Neither platform will support all three, so you’ll need to pick the platform that allows for custom connectors and other efficient workarounds. Both Fivetran and Hevo Data tout fully-managed, no-maintenance connectors to popular sources and destinations. Yet, even across similar connectors, there are key differences.
Going deeper on connector analysis
When it comes to comparing connectors, you want to consider a few key factors: completeness, ingestion patterns, and documentation. In terms of completeness, you’ll want to consider different releases or variations of connectors.
If the connectors you need exist in both Fivetran’s and Hevo Data’s products, then take a close look at the tables, columns and capabilities of the connectors. Just because they connect to the same source or destination doesn’t mean they are functionally equivalent. For example, Hevo Data’s CDC capabilities for SQL Server doesn’t actually support Microsoft Azure’s CDC method, whereas Fivetran’s SQL Server connector does. In fact, Hevo’s connector doesn’t support CDC for RDS or Azure SQL Server at all.
The same applies for destinations. Though both platforms provide connectors for 10 different destinations, the connectors support different types of destinations. Both platforms support Databricks, but Fivetran supports Databricks on Google Cloud whereas Hevo Data does not. Whereas Fivetran supports six types of PostgreSQL destinations, Hevo Data only supports one type with its generic connector. The situation is similar for MySQL; Hevo supports several variations of MySQL data sources but only one “generic” variation for a MySQL destination, which they do not recommend using in production. Fivetran supports several variations for MySQL destinations, all of which are production-ready.
Fivetran’s connector documentation includes detailed Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERDs) to demonstrate all the tables and data types for its connectors. Hevo Data’s connector documentation shows a tabbed spreadsheet view of the tables from which connectors can ingest. See Fivetran’s Stripe connector ERD and compare it to Hevo Data’s Stripe connector schema sheets for an example. Aside from these documentation differences, there are functional differences between the connectors, like Fivetran’s ability to sync empty tables and columns whereas Hevo offers no similar functionality.
Fivetran also offers Lite connectors that enable Fivetran to develop API-based connectors quickly with fewer endpoints or specific use cases. Lite connectors are created by Fivetran based on customer requests. They follow the same Service Level Agreements (SLA) for major data integrity, security and reliability issues as Fivetran’s existing connectors. Fivetran also provides cloud functions allowing customers to build their own custom connectors.
Setup and scalability
Ease of setup and scalability have direct implications on the speed and availability of data within your organization. The faster you’re set up, the faster you’re getting the data insights you need.
Hevo Pipeline is an easy-to-use, cloud-based pipeline platform. They have a quick 4-step setup process that takes a few minutes:
- Configure the source
- Select the data object(s) or tables
- Configure the destination
- Finalize settings
Setting up a pipeline in Hevo can take a matter of minutes. They classify their pipelines into database pipelines, SaaS pipelines and webhook pipelines.
Their web interface offers several features that make setup easy and straightforward: OAuth-based login, no code and dropdown menu configuration.
Hevo’s pipelines have auto-scaling capabilities based on threshold values. They offer limited configuration of ingestion and loading, with pipeline frequency potentially affecting costs in a substantial way. (We’ll get into that in the pricing section below.)
Fivetran is also web-based and cloud-hosted with a clean user interface. The initial setup can also be completed within minutes:
- Connect to your destination
- Choose your data source(s)
- Select your source data
- Sync data to your destination
Fivetran offers much more flexibility in ingestion, loading, data volume and pipeline frequency. It’s not just about the number of connectors but the capabilities of those connectors, which include how much data can be moved at once, how often, from which sources and to which destinations. Scalability is more than just “how many pipelines.” Data ecosystems scale organically; Fivetran’s customizable capabilities (e.g. custom connectors, Lite connectors) allow organizations to scale as their ecosystem grows.
For high-volume and real-time data movement needs, Fivetran customers have access to a variety of database replication methods. Business-critical databases (e.g. Sybase) need connectors with very high scalability requirements with real-time change data capture (CDC). Hevo Data has no functional equivalent to the capabilities of HVR or Private Deployment.
In summary, both products are well-regarded in their simple setup and configuration. You can get started building and configuring pipelines within minutes — but fast and easy setup is practically table stakes in today’s market. Scalability is where the real business value and problem solving have significant impact. While Hevo Data offers a meaningful selection of source and destination connectors, they don’t offer nearly as much by way of scalable, high-volume pipelines, especially when it comes to real-time needs.
Syncs, transformations and schema changes
Getting set up is the easy part. Next are the matters of initial syncs, historical syncs, incremental syncs, transformations, changes and day-to-day use.
Hevo Pipeline has powerful sync and transformation capabilities. Initial historical syncs are free. It supports pre- and post-load transformations in Python and using dbt Core respectively, which allow for on-the-fly data transformations into and out of the destination without affecting load performance. It also supports reverse ETL and bi-directional syncs, allowing for easy sending of data out of the warehouse and into SaaS applications for real-time insights. Another strong feature is log-based replication, which is available for all supported databases.
As you can see, Hevo has some very appealing features, but there are some limitations. For instance, Hevo also requires some mitigation and troubleshooting for syncs of data tables that lack primary keys. Users need to define a primary key in the warehouse (or have one defined by Hevo in cases of application connectors) to have upsert functionality (i.e. inserts a row if it doesn’t exist, updates if it does). This requires a user to understand which keys to implement in their source or actually create a key, which increases config time for each source and table they add in.
Fivetran also has powerful sync and transformation capabilities. Its pipelines offer:
- Built-in data deduplication
- Automatic data normalization
- Dynamic schema change support
- Integrated transformations with dbt with pre-built data models
- Automatic schema mapping
- Automatic schema migration and data type mapping
- Column blocking and hashing (to prevent access and visibility to sensitive data)
- History mode (used for tracking the history of an object with analytical value)
Because the pipelines are fully managed and fully automated, there’s very little for Fivetran customers to worry about, monitor or configure. The pipelines are resilient to change and security features are built-in to protect sensitive data. It can also handle tables without primary keys across many of its connectors (e.g. MySQL, Oracle, Postgres, SQL Server).
In summary, there’s more to syncs, transformations and schema changes than features. Largely it comes down to stability and resilience to change. While Hevo Data offers reverse ETL capability and in-flight transformations, it requires some manual configuration. Fivetran’s pipelines are fully-managed, take care of data type mapping and offer more security-focused capabilities. Hevo Data’s pipelines are more hands-on with configuration, mapping and table management.
Security and privacy
Security and privacy are much more than compliance with regulatory requirements or offering features that mitigate risks of inappropriate data access. Modern data integration tools need to offer a variety of features that protect data every step of the way, whether it stays within your organization or goes the route of commercialization.
Hevo Data offers SOC2, GPDR, HIPAA and CCPA compliance. They use AES encryption and ensure data is encrypted at rest and in transit. (They do retain some data temporarily and that’s encrypted at rest.) They offer column blocking to protect data during ingestion for a limited selection of sources, though column hashing is supported with manual transformations. All employees use two-factor authentication for accessing critical systems and support chats.
Hevo Data is working on role-based access controls for their users. In the meantime, they offer two types of access roles: owner and member. The major differences between these two roles are the ability to make payments and access to some administrative interfaces. There’s no further granularity between the two roles.
Fivetran offers an extensive list of compliance and regulatory assurances, including SOC 2 Type 2, PCI-DSS, ISO27001, HIPAA and GDPR (for all customers). Fivetran uses two-factor authentication for all user accounts, with strong password controls. In addition, Fivetran allows for Single Sign-On with SAML 2.0 and a list of industry-standard identity providers. Fine-grained role-based access controls are available to manage user access to connectors offering a variety of roles on an account, source and destination level, with the option to even define custom roles. Data is encrypted at rest and in transit.
Additionally, Fivetran offers PrivateLink capabilities for AWS, Azure and Google Cloud, allowing on-premise services to communicate privately with cloud-based infrastructure. There’s no exposure to the public internet and an option to even select ‘Customer Managed Keys.’ There’s support for a wide variety of databases. Hevo Data does not provide any PrivateLink functionality. Fivetran also has more extensive global capabilities with regional platform hosting across the globe (compare with Hevo Data’s regional hosting options).
In summary, if security and privacy are priorities for your data integration platform selection, Fivetran arguably has more comprehensive and advanced capabilities across its infrastructure, platform and user experience. Its PrivateLink functionality is a must-have for organizations looking to keep their on-premises data secure and hidden from the public internet. For customers needing robust global delivery, Fivetran has far more options with deeper technical configurability.
Advanced features and mission criticality
Both Hevo Data and Fivetran are great for setting up low-maintenance, no-code data pipelines, but each platform has its own advanced features and implications on mission-critical workloads. Not everyone needs these features and this level of support, but if that’s your situation, then let’s dive in.
Hevo Data’s advanced features include log-based replication, powerful transformation capabilities and the reverse ETL and bi-directional syncs we’ve already discussed. Pre-load transformations are done on-the-fly between the extraction and ingestion of data and can be configured in Python. They also have an easy-to-use drag-and-drop visual pipeline editor, but it does not support the more advanced transformation capabilities.
Hevo does not have enterprise-level support, which means there are no custom SLAs or priority support. Their Business plan offers a 6-hour SLA for support, however it also comes with a dedicated data architect and account manager for support needs.
One of their most unique and compelling options is Hevo Activate, which is essentially a reverse ETL product. It’s designed to help companies accomplish business-critical analytics work in marketing and sales by making data available across various SaaS applications. It takes advantage of their pipeline bi-directionality and solves the most common user analytics problems data teams face.
Fivetran has many advanced features, including capturing deletes (including inferred deletes), custom data replication (including custom connectors with cloud functions), data blocking and column hashing, full and partial re-syncs, prioritized syncing across all of your data sources, syncing empty tables and pre-built dbt data models for the most popular connectors. It is also designed with automation in mind, including self-healing pipelines and on-the-fly data deduplication (at our own compute layer, not yours).
Fivetran is very popular with major global enterprises, which means we have enterprise-ready support and enterprise-level features. We offer 1-minute syncs to granular permissions (including RBAC and per-source controls) and advanced governance and data residency capabilities. Enterprise and business SLAs guarantee 99.9% uptime and priority support.
In summary, Hevo Data offers some innovative features, such as reverse ETL but may not provide the level of support you and your business need for mission critical work. Some businesses can tolerate 6-hour SLAs and others can’t. You will have to determine whether each platform offers what you need at the pricing and capability requirements you have.
Pricing and costs
The pricing models between Hevo Data and Fivetran may appear similar at first glance, but there’s more to consider.
Hevo Data’s pricing is “event-based,” which means that every update to a row is counted towards your billing. So for example, if your Hevo sync frequency is 1 hour and your rows update hourly, you will be charged for all those updates. Similarly, there are many other factors which play into event usage, including transformations. On the surface, an event is a record (or row) that is updated or inserted into a data destination. They offer three pricing tiers:
- Free: Up to 1M events per month for 50+ free connectors with a free initial data load per source. Includes unlimited users and SSO.
- Starter: Starts at 5M events per month and offers all 150+ connectors, live chat support and 12-hour SLA.
- Business: Everything in the Starter tier, plus HIPAA compliance, dedicated support and a 6-hour SLA.
Hevo’s pricing page offers a simple slider for high-level cost estimation in the Starter tier only. Business pricing requires a conversation with their sales team. More pricing details can be found in their support documentation.
An important factor in Hevo’s pricing is they do not offer rollover of unused events. In other words, it’s use-it-or-lose-it pricing. As we alluded, events are more than just row insertions and updates. Transformations are also events, as are repeats of the same rows. Selecting the appropriate pricing tier may be a challenge unless you can set up all of your data sources within the 14-day free trial.
Fivetran also uses a consumption-based pricing model based upon the number of rows you sync. Each month’s consumption is calculated based on monthly active rows (MAR) across all connectors and destinations in your account (MAR is the number of distinct primary keys synced from the source system to your destination in a given calendar month). Unlike Hevo, Fivetran’s MARs roll over into future months within the same year and users are not charged for transformations.
MAR unit costs decrease as usage increases. Transformations and platform connectors are free of charge, and each connector includes a 14-day trial, even after your free trial period has expired. You can use Fivetran’s pricing calculator to get a sense of cost scaling.
There are six pricing options suited for different use cases, including a Free Plan that launched on February 1, 2023 for smaller-sized companies or smaller projects that can use Fivetran up to 500,000 MAR at no cost. With 1 million monthly active rows on the Enterprise Plan, you get an estimated cost of $1,000 per month.
Fivetran can be also purchased from any cloud marketplace (AWS, GCP or Azure), to get one consolidated bill along with your other cloud services.
In summary, both platforms offer 14-day free trials with 14-day trials of new connectors, even past the free trial period. Pricing for both platforms is consumption-based, but Hevo’s is use-it-or-lose-it every month. Whereas Hevo accounts for various types of activities as “events” that count toward your consumption, Fivetran is primarily concerned with “affected” rows. Not only will you not be billed for duplicate data, but there’s active, automatic deduplication and other pricing safeguards in place to keep your MARs as low as possible.
Companies earlier in their data maturity journey may see Fivetran and Hevo Data similar in features, costs and functionality. However, companies that require scalability, extensibility and more capable connectors are likely to find Fivetran more advantageous.
The smaller number of connectors offered by Hevo — and the inability for customers to build their own custom connectors — is likely to compel potential customers to choose an alternative solution, like Fivetran.
When it comes to data security, pipeline resilience, high-volume and real-time needs, multiple ingestion patterns (e.g. teleport, HVA, HVR) and tight integration with dbt, there is no comparison. Fivetran is built for any and all segments no matter where you are on the data maturity curve. Hevo may have a strong offering for reverse ETL pipelines and pre-/post-load transformations, but these are not necessarily standard or recommended implementation patterns. Fivetran’s wider selection of higher-capability connectors gives enterprise organizations much more flexibility and scalability as their data ecosystem grows.