Data Ingestion vs. ETL: 6 Key Differences

A simplified data distribution method is a vital requirement for every company that uses data to make decisions. Making data pipelines for a sufficient information flow for machine learning and analytics jobs is essential for businesses since firms collect data at a rate unlike any other.

Companies find it difficult to manage the costs associated with becoming a data-driven business since data can arrive in a variety of forms, including text, audio, and image. Companies rely on Data Ingestion and ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) processes to make sure that data flows freely into their data lakes and data warehouses.

What are ETL and Data Ingestion?

Data Ingestion

Extracting information from various sources and saving it in a centralized area known as a data lake is the method of data intake. It is the simplest method for combining various data kinds from internal and external sources into a Data Lake. Data Ingestion pipelines are developed by businesses to gather various datasets without subjecting them to extensive processing. Data from a Data Lake is transported into a Data Warehouse as needed for analytics and ML procedures.

A data lake establishes a company’s data requirements, and real-time Ingestion and batch are used to store the massive amounts of data needed.

Benefits of Data Ingestion

Companies are empowered by data ingestion because it makes it easy to gather information from several sources in one location. Because the process only sometimes needs changes, developers are less reliant on it. Companies can ingest data from other sources to access data that is available for usage with very little overhead. Utilizing both external and internal data is crucial for improving organizational processes.


Data is extracted from many sources or a Data Lake using ETL, which then transforms the data before loading it into a Data Warehouse. Transforming data before storing it in a data warehouse is essential since data warehouses are made to accommodate various data requirements for business intelligence, data science, and data analytics throughout an enterprise. Cleaning, normalizing, combining data, and creating the appropriate schema are all parts of data transformation in ETL. Using ETL techniques or technologies, many transformations are carried out. To meet their diverse needs, businesses develop a number of Data Pipelines.

ETL, however, can be used for more than just data transformation for data warehousing. It involves pipeline management and governance. Businesses must implement strong ETL processes if they want to acquire operational resilience in the face of shifting team needs. ETL is divided into batch and real-time, like data ingestion.

Benefits of ETL

ETL pipelines can be reused inside businesses for various use cases, provided they are developed with domain understanding. For businesses, this improves scalability while assuring consistency and lowering operational expenses. The largest problems with data flood and preserving the quality of insights are also eliminated by streaming data with ETL in real-time.

Difference Between ETL and Data Ingestion

High Level of Data

While Ingestion is used to gather raw data, ETL is used to optimize data for analytics. In other words, you must take into account how you are improving the quality of data for future processing when executing ETL. However, the goal of Ingestion is to acquire data regardless of how messy it may be. In order to locate the data when needed, you simply need to add a few metadata tags and unique identifiers as part of the data ingestion process. On the other hand, ETL is used to organize the data so that data analytics tools can use it easily.

Coding Needs

You don’t need to create a lot of custom code when gathering data from various sources to store in a data lake because Ingestion primarily focuses on bringing in data rather than assuring excellent data quality. ETL, on the other hand, necessitates substantial custom code writing to extract only pertinent data and further transform it before storing it in a warehouse. For businesses that have several data pipelines, this is when ETL turns into a time-consuming operation. Organizations frequently need to update the code whenever their workflows change. The various internal requirements of the teams are mostly unaffected by Ingestion, though.

Data Source Obstacle

Data intake procedures do not change quickly, thus it is important to use trustworthy sources, particularly when working with open data. Businesses may suffer as a result of decisions being made based on erroneous information from unreliable sources. With ETL, an entirely distinct set of difficulties is seen. The pre-processing data must be your primary concern rather than the data’s original source.

Domain Expertise

Data ingestion requires fewer abilities than the knowledge necessary for ETL. You can easily extract data from several sources to perform Ingestion if you know how to use APIs or simple web scraping, but ETL goes beyond data extraction. ETL developers should consider how data will be subsequently processed for analytics when transforming. Since transformation might affect the caliber of insights produced following data analytics, domain expertise is required.


For a company to begin using big data analytics, ETL and data ingestion are essential. However, any change to ETL procedures may immediately affect business procedures. A delay in data collection might not always impact the analytics workflow. As a result, ETL generally takes precedence over Ingestion, but both are crucial.


Actual-time ETL adds real value by enabling streaming analytics, even though Data Ingestion can be done in real-time to store data. ETL procedures must be tuned for low latency and fault tolerance as a result. In contrast to the Ingestion process, ETL needs to be resilient enough to resume operations immediately after setbacks.

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