I am evaluating ETL tools for the organization. Considering that I am looking at three or four tools, how do I rate these and put a weight-age for the features, when I put them in a matrix?

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Evaluating tools is a personal thing. I can tell you the each engagement that I have uses a different weighting schedule. Some will think that having extensive connectivity is more important than functionality, while others will be just the opposite.

Here are the criteria we use in our ETL evaluations, as well I have added a column that provides a rating between 1 and 5 for the weighting the I recently used.

Criteria Category Description Weighting
Price Price of the product and required add-ons 5
Productivity Aids (primary) Supports custom code interface, code/transformation reusability and imports data models from ERWin 3
Functionality (primary) Caching, exceptions/rejects, change data capture, aggregates loaded in parallel with atomic data, incremental aggregation, persistent variables, supports parallelism 5
Source / Target Connectivity (secondary) Supports native interfaces to Oracle8i/9i, SQL Server 6.5/2000, Flat Files, FoxPro, UDB, etc. 1
Metadata (primary) Conforms to the Common Warehouse Metamodel, bi-directional metadata sharing with 3rd party tools, captures technical and business metadata, import/export XML 3
Ease of use /Manageability (secondary) How intuitive is the tool? Is the User Interface well designed? Free access to technical support website, knowledge base, user forums, etc. 4
Scheduler Capabilities (secondary) Supports time and event driven execution, able to group and schedule plans/jobs/ sessions into batches through a GUI, able to view job dependencies, etc. 3
Change Management (secondary) Development locking (i.e. check-in/check-out) capabilities, maintains multiple versions, impact analysis across tools in the warehouse environment, etc. 2
Debugging, Error Handling, Reporting and Monitoring (primary) Debug/test mode utilities allowing developer to step through the mapping and view the column values, on-line error manuals with root cause and resolution steps, provides error, status and metadata reporting, etc. 3
Security (primary) Provides proprietary logon id and password validation, interfaces with 3rd party security packages, assign users to multiple roles/groups at different levels/privileges 2
Operational Impacts (secondary) Scalability of the tools architecture, ease of the upgrade process, and performance management capabilities 1
Backup and Recovery (secondary) GUI based backup and restore through the tool, automated and point in time backups and restores, able to restart after a hard fail from the last row processed 1
Technical Environment (secondary) Supports Windows NT, 2000, and XP? Versions of UNIX supported? 1
I hope this helps you in selecting the best product for your environment.

This was first published in July 2002

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