In today's ETL environment there are two different approach that vendors have given to the ETL community. There are engine-based and code-generator solutions. Each has its advantages and drawbacks as you have stated.
I actaully find it interesting that you state that Oracle Warehouse Builder is a code-generator type of ETL product. I personally see OWB as a engine-based product, since it uses the Oracle database as its engine. A true code-generator type of ETL product differs in that it produces type programs that need to be compiled and are not in a proprietary language. Generally code-generaters will produce ETL programs in languages like COBOL or C. It generally creates very generic program that requires significant work to make efficient. In the case of engine-based products here we have a generally proprietary solution. These products each have their unique data engines that are tuned for performance. They also have a language that allows you to extend the functionality of the product.
So what is the bottom line in this case? You have to choose a product that works for your individual environment and organization. Engine-based products can provide solid performance. Code-generators also provide solid performance, but you will have to have to do more customization with the programs. If your organization does not have enough expertise in these 3rd-Gl languages you may want to choose an engine-based product, which usually have a shorter learning curve.
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