Abstract image: Gears representing an ETL process

Affordable ETL Software

ETL Software for Every Budget

What is ETL?

ETL, which stands for extract-transform-load, is a critical part of data integration and analytics workflows, aimed at efficiently moving and reshaping data from source systems to target destinations. For organizations that process data from multiple sources in myriad formats, ETL solutions are pivotal for ensuring that data is accurate, consistent, and ready for analysis or use by various applications.

During the extract portion of ETL, data is fetched from one or more source systems, which could be SQL or NoSQL databases, files, APIs, or other data repositories. This extraction process can involve complex queries or API calls to retrieve the relevant data.

Once the data is extracted, it's moved to the transform phase. Here, data is processed and transformed into a suitable format for the target system or data warehouse. Transformation tasks can include data validation, cleansing, aggregation, and joining multiple data sources. It's during this stage that data quality and consistency are often improved.

Finally, in the load phase, the transformed data is loaded into the target database, file, or API, making it available for reporting, analysis, or use by applications.

ETL processes are essential for maintaining the integrity and reliability of data in modern software applications. They enable organizations to aggregate data from various sources, perform necessary data transformations, and make it available for decision-making and business intelligence. ETL solutions and pipelines are increasingly important components in managing the flow of data within a software ecosystem, ensuring that data is accurate, up-to-date, and ready to support business processes and analytics.

The best ETL tools give organizations the ability to integrate data in today's most prevalent formats while remaining affordable for organizations of any size.

Can ETL Be Affordable?

While some ETL software solutions cost tens of thousands of dollars or more, it is possible to find an ETL tool that is both powerful and affordable. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when selecting efficient, effective ETL software.

Data Support

Some ETL products appear affordable at first glance, but then charge extra for "connectors" required to support the myriad data formats enterprises encounter today. To keep expenses down, customers can select a product that supports all prevalent data formats in a single version without extra connectivity costs.


The cost of an ETL tool can be influenced by its scalability. Some solutions are designed to handle massive data volumes and complex transformations, but they may come with a higher price tag. Other tools offer pricing that scales to match data processing requirements, allowing smaller scale projects to remain affordable while still supporting large enterprise implementations. Affordable scalability is an important consideration to prevent the need to re-tool as needs change over time.

Ease of Installation and Maintenance

The ease of setting up, configuring, and maintaining ETL software greatly affects its affordability. Tools that require minimal training and are easy to install are likely to reduce operational costs. Moreover, tools that include extensive documentation and demos can help users troubleshoot issues independently, saving time and money required by extensive support engagements.

Transparent Pricing

These days, customers don't need to participate in a long, complex sales cycle to select a software partner. After reviewing features and trying the ETL solution, it should be easy to locate and understand the pricing model. Online pricing makes it possible to quickly compare products from different vendors and then informed decisions without spending extra time on phone calls or emails with sales reps. This transparency and efficiency makes it easier to evaluate how affordable each option is.

Altova MapForce: the Most Affordable ETL Tool

Altova MapForce: affordable ETL software

Altova MapForce is an any-to-any ETL tool designed to be powerful and affordable for businesses of all sizes.

A mature, award-winning ETL product, Mapforce offers flexible, high-performance ETL functionality with the lowest TCO of any solution on the market. Support for new data formats is added often based on customer requests and technology adoption in the real world, and there’s no need for costly add-ons or "connectors." The MapForce Platform includes the MapForce desktop ETL design tool with MapForce Server providing high-performance automation.

With a transparent, per-server-core pricing model, the MapForce Platform is affordable and scalable for organizations of all sizes and a range of budgets. For instance, a basic configuration starts at just $1,700 per year.

With support for the most prevalent enterprise data formats, MapForce is an extremely effective, lightweight, and scalable data integration tool. MapForce offers a straightforward, visual ETL mapping interface that lets you easily load any supported structures and then use drag and drop functionality to connect nodes. Then, add data transformation functions and filters, or use the visual function builder for more complex ETL projects.

MapForce features include:


  • Pre-built connectors for any data source
  • Supports SQL and NoSQL databases
  • Extensive EDI support
  • Support for multiple inputs / outputs
  • Auto-generation of schemas


  • AI-ready ETL data integration
  • Drag and drop data integration
  • Graphical, low code ETL definition
  • Visual function builder


  • Instant data conversion
  • High performance automation
  • Parallel processing and multi-threading
  • Bulk SQL merge
  • Built in debugger


No Extra-Cost Connectors

Formats supported by Altova MapForce for ETL

Unlike more expensive products, MapForce doesn't require extra-cost connectors for different databases. With transparent pricing, MapForce Enterprise supports all of the following in a single version:

  • SQL databases
  • NoSQL databases
  • Flat files (text, CSV, etc.)
  • XML
  • JSON
  • Excel
  • Numerous EDI formats
  • XBRL
  • Protobuf
  • REST and SOAP web services

Data Transformation Functions

MapForce provides an extensible library of data processing and conversion functions for filtering and manipulating data according to the needs of your ETL mapping project. To save time and leverage work you’ve already completed and tested, you can even import existing data conversion code or an XSLT 1.0 or 2.0 file for use as a function library. MapForce also includes a unique visual function builder to define and reuse custom functions that combine multiple operations.

MapForce can handle the most advanced conversion scenarios, allowing you to define rules based on conditions, Boolean logic, string operations, mathematical computations, SQL and SQL/XML statements, or any user-defined function. You can even use an existing Web service or AI API to look up or process data in any mapping.

Many of the built-in functions, such as concat, add, multiply, etc., support an unlimited number of parameters, making it easy to perform mathematical manipulations and combine multiple parameters. Aggregate functions allow you to perform computations on groups of data, including count, sum, min, average, join-string, and others. Conversion functions are provided to conveniently parse complex data types. Data processing functions in MapForce support intermediate variables, filters and conditions, if-else (aka switch) statments, and transformation input parameters.

ETL Automation Options

Once your ETL project is defined, the built-in MapForce Engine allows you to view and save the results with one click. Since most ETL processes are repeated often as new data arrives, MapForce ETL projects can be deployed to the customer's MapForce Server for efficient automation. MapForce Server is available for Linux, Windows, and MacOS and can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud.

MapForce Server provides high-performance ETL automation with parallel processing and multi-threading, bulk SQL merge, cross-platform support, and more. Preprocessing enables faster performance and reduced memory footprint for most data mappings.

MapForce Server includes an API for direct execution. It may also operated under the management of FlowForce Server. In this scenario, data mappings are executed automatically, based on triggers defined as part of the FlowForce Server job. For example, a new XML instance document lands in a directory, which triggers a multi-step FlowForce Server job to first validate the file, then execute MapForce Server to extract certain data from the XML and insert it into an ETL repository database.

MapForce Data Platform

Try Before You Buy

MapForce offers an easy, fully functional 30-day trial. No account, credit card, or password is required. Simply download and install the software, which will prompt you to request a 30-day license.