Build vs Buy Data Pipelines: Clearing the Dilemma

on Engineering, Data Integration • June 5th, 2018 • Write for Hevo

Building a great data-driven business involves more than just investing in the right reporting tools. Leading businesses understand that they need to make the most of existing data (mostly present in different systems in various formats), they also need to smartly invest in the right infrastructure to clean, organize, and make the data available in real-time for reporting.

Naturally, building a robust Data Pipeline to extract, transform, and load the data into central storage (mostly a data warehouse) is the first inevitable step to building a robust data infrastructure. One of the biggest dilemma in the minds of the decision-makers under these circumstances is

Should we build a custom ETL/Data Pipeline solution in-house or buy a third-party tool? In this post, we have tried to analyze this very problem.

Table of Contents

Simplify ETL with Hevo’s No-code Data Pipelines

Hevo Data, No-code Data Pipelines.

Hevo Data, a No-code Data Pipeline, helps to transfer data from 100+ sources to your desired data warehouse/ destination and visualize it in a BI Tool. Hevo is fully-managed and completely automates the process of not only loading data from your desired source but also enriching the data and transforming it into an analysis-ready form without having to write a single line of code. Its fault-tolerant architecture ensures that the data is handled in a secure, consistent manner with zero data loss.

It provides a consistent & reliable solution to manage data in real-time and always have analysis-ready data in your desired destination. It allows you to focus on key business needs and perform insightful analysis using various BI tools such as Power BI. 

Check out what makes Hevo amazing:

  • Secure: Hevo has a fault-tolerant architecture that ensures that the data is handled in a secure, consistent manner with zero data loss.
  • Schema Management: Hevo takes away the tedious task of schema management & automatically detects schema of incoming data and maps it to the destination schema.
  • Minimal Learning: Hevo with its simple and interactive UI, is extremely simple for new customers to work on and perform operations.
  • Hevo Is Built To Scale: As the number of sources and the volume of your data grows, Hevo scales horizontally, handling millions of records per minute with very little latency.
  • Incremental Data Load: Hevo allows the transfer of data that has been modified in real-time. This ensures efficient utilization of bandwidth on both ends.
  • Live Support: The Hevo team is available round the clock to extend exceptional support to its customers through chat, email, and support calls.
  • Live Monitoring: Hevo allows you to monitor the data flow and check where your data is at a particular point in time.

Simplify your data analysis with Hevo today! Sign up here for a 14-day free trial!

Build vs Buy Data Pipelines: Factors to Consider

There are broadly six factors that you must take into consideration before deciding whether to go with a ready-to-use Data Integration Platform such as Hevo Data or build your own. Let us analyze these factors:  

1. Is it Cost-Effective to Build a Solution In-House?

Well, there is no free lunch. Whether you build or buy, some costs are apparent while others are not.

Engineering bandwidth to build and maintain the product would direct costs that you can take into account. You would additionally need to invest in the technology infrastructure that’s required to develop the solution. You might also want to consider the opportunity cost at which you are trying to build a custom data integration solution for your team. This likely means that they are not working on other projects that could have a direct impact on your business.

Often, the cost of using a ready solution to build Data Pipelines is only a small fraction of the cost involved in building and maintaining the Data Pipeline infrastructure in-house. Think of this example similar to using Gmail vs hosting and managing mail server in-house for communication. Time to deployment is also lesser compared to building a custom solution in-house.

This is how you can figure out which type of solution will be feasible for your business before deciding to Build vs Buy Data Pipelines.

2. Will the Third-Party Solution Meet all your Business Requirements?

This is a possibility. A third-party solution may not be able to provide you with an exact use case match. Solutions that you might be considering may solve parts of your data integration problems and may not be able to handle all your use cases, making it a possible show-stopper.

Usually, the requirement for bringing data from multiple sources such as MySQL, MongoDB, CleverTap, etc. is similar across most companies. More often than not, the solutions are designed to specifically solve this problem and have all the use cases covered.

Often third-party solutions have much deeper capabilities that you would only start realizing as you move a step closer to using the product for various use cases. Hence, you definitely might want to consider third-party tools before shunning the option away.

This is how you can ensure that whether a third-party solution will meet your unique business use-cases/ data needs before deciding to Build vs Buy Data Pipelines.

3. Is the Third-Party Solution Scalable?

As per your current requirement, you might need to build connectors to only a few OLTP systems like MySQL or PostgreSQL. Building an in-house solution is optimal, only if your needs do not change very often. But, seldom is this the case.

Slowly, marketing teams that use various tools like MailChimp for emails, Google Analytics for attribution, Facebook for advertising, etc. will want their data integrated. Requests from other business teams will follow. Building connectors for all these systems would need you to put in an ongoing effort on the solution. Additionally, the source schema/API would keep changing from time to time and will regularly have to be updated. 

A third-party data integration platform like Hevo Data will have an ever-growing broad coverage of various sources and destinations. New features keep getting added, and you can always request for the addition of new sources as per your need. 

To your surprise, many businesses that are 10-100x your scale might already be using an automated solution to power their data infrastructure, to ensure that they don’t have to deal with scaling challenges as they grow.

This is how you can evaluate the scalability of your solution before deciding to Build vs Buy Data Pipelines.

4. System Performance

When dealing with data, it is an absolute necessity to build a foolproof system. Data inconsistency can become an everyday phenomenon if all exceptions are not handled gracefully.

In a homegrown system, you would need to invest heavily in engineering bandwidth and DevOps to build such a system. You would additionally have to develop instrumentation and monitoring systems to ensure that you keep track of all errors. It would be comparatively easy to handle errors/exceptions in a home-built system as someone from the engineering team would know and understand the system’s whereabouts and can fix errors fast.

Generally, solutions like Hevo Data are built from the ground-up to handle all kind of exceptions that you deal with while working with various data sources. They ensure zero data loss and real-time availability of data, no matter what the scale is. Tools like Hevo Data are slightly more robust than homegrown solutions as they additionally implement all kinds of instrumentation, monitoring, and alerting into the system. Even for the days when errors go unhandled, star customer success teams are available at the beck and call of the user to sort out all the issues.

This is how you can evaluate how each type of solution will affect your system performance before deciding to Build vs Buy Data Pipelines.

5. Dependencies

More often than not, teams change, individuals move (to other projects or out of the organization) and projects taken up outside the scope of direct business metrics take a toll. Given a small team of engineers would be deployed to build a custom data integration solution, homegrown systems need to eliminate all dependencies through comprehensive documentation and proper knowledge transfer. In the absence of this, the small team that is maintaining the platform become overwhelmed, and it eventually becomes the bottleneck.

A self-service platform such as Hevo Data, allows various teams to create and configure their Data Pipelines specific to their needs. All the necessary documentation is made available at the user’s fingertips. It helps eliminate dependencies on engineering. Additionally, there is a dedicated team at Hevo Data that is responsible for building new functionalities and enhancing the performance of the platform.

6. Security Concerns

You can argue that building a solution in-house gives complete control and visibility on your data. But, platforms like Hevo Data allow you to get the best of both worlds. It provides a fully managed and secure solution that can be set up and run in your virtual private cloud behind your firewall. It addresses your data security concerns while providing the same robust data integration features.

For further information on how Hevo Data’s No-code Data Pipelines keep your data secure, you can check out the official documentation here.

Conclusion

When it comes to data integration, building vs buying, each has its share of pros and cons. The answer to this question depends on the unique needs and requirements of your growing business. In a nutshell, if your data integration requirements are unique, building might be your only option. However, be sure to set clear expectations before the process begins, and design it to handle scale.

On the other hand, a third-party tool such as Hevo Data, a No-code Data Pipeline, helps you transfer data from a source of your choice in a fully-automated and secure manner without having to write the code repeatedly. Hevo, with its strong integration with 100+ sources & BI tools, allows you to not only export & load data but also transform & enrich your data & make it analysis-ready in a jiff.

Want to take Hevo for a spin? Sign up here for the 14-day free trial and experience the feature-rich Hevo suite first hand. You can also have a look at our unbeatable pricing that will help you choose the right plan for your business needs!

What are your thoughts on Building vs Buying a Data Pipeline? Let us know in the comments.

No-code Data Pipeline For Your Data Warehouse