Comparing Data Loaders for Salesforce

Comparison and reviews of third-party data loaders for Salesforce while stacking these up against the Apex Data Loader.
Comparing Data Loaders for Salesforce

Comparing Data Loaders for Salesforce

Loading data can have many meanings, from a quick 100 row update to millions of records, and with two new applications listed in 2012, the AppExchange has a few options for admins and consultants looking for a change of flavor from the vanilla Apex Data Loader. Each of the applications listed are free, offer the ability to store multiple sets of Salesforce credentials, and support standard database operations (insert, upsert, update, export, delete). Let’s dive in and take a look at how these apps stack up to Salesforce’s utility.

Jitterbit Data Loader for Salesforce

A teaser to Jitterbit’s integration suite, Jitterbit Data Loader for Salesforce is an installable application for Windows and OS X. Data operations are performed as a combination of modules, where sources, targets, file formats, and operations are created as separate components. Basic scripting is available to transform source data before loading, and sources need not be limited to flat files or Salesforce; file shares and other databases are supported as source connections. Jitterbit’s best feature allows users to schedule operations to run and perform features like a barebones ETL tool. This app leaves the user feeling like Apex Data Loader was a polished prototype.

Best use: repetitive data operations or light integration
Not good for: quick one-off loads
AppExchange listing

Dataloader.io

Living up to Salesforce’s “No Software” claim, Dataloader.io is a 100% browser-based cloud solution with a clean and simplistic interface. And like NYC subways, Dataloader.io has made tokens a thing of the past, only requiring a username and password to connect to Salesforce. A feature not found in the Apex Data Loader, this app provides users with list of fields from related objects, making exports easier and cuts down post-export work required to bring multi-object data into a single row. Dataloader.io may look pretty, but for anything outside of quick and simple operations, the Apex Data Loader is the right tool for the job.

Best use: quick data operations
Not good for: transforming data, loading attachments
AppExchange listing

Informatica Data Loader

Similar to Jitterbit, Informatica’s Data Loader is a teaser to their integration capabilities. The data loader is installed as part of Informatica Cloud, an app that runs directly in Salesforce. A software utility is required to identify the user’s local machine and acts as a connection to databases or directories. Scheduling, multiple source types, and transformation scripting are other features that make Informatica’s tool behave closer to an ETL tool than strict data loader. Like Jitterbit, this app leaves the user feeling like Apex Data Loader was a prototype.

Best use: repetitive data operations or light integration
Not good for: quick one-off loads
AppExchange listing

All of these tools are great contenders to win the hearts and patience of admins and consultants, and fill efficiency gaps or offer functionality along the lines of a light ETL tool. Jitterbit is my favorite and was the focus of an internal workshop here at Arkus. Its modularity provides a level of abstraction and the well designed interface shows you its value as more than just-a-loader.

If you’ve used any of these applications, or know of another tool out there, feel free to throw me a comment on Twitter @RogerMitchell or below via Disqus.

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