Initial Impressions of Fivetran

Their website is super slow.

When logging into the site, it takes 10 seconds or more for the dashboard to load.

They don’t have voice or chat support.

The only avenue of support is through their “Submit Request” portal which, depending on your support service level agreement, can take hours to get a reply. For example, with the Starter and Standard pricing plans, their initial response time is within 4 hours for the most urgent issues. However, if you get their Enterprise plan, the initial response time drops to just 1 hour.

They lack troubleshooting guidelines.

On the page where you set up a connector, there is a link to the “Configurations Instructions” on the upper right area of the page. These instructions are great because they give you step-by-step instructions (complete with pictures). The instructions are detailed enough but they lack basic troubleshooting guidelines.

To quote a reviewer on G2.com:

Fivetran is a blackbox – when it works, great, when it doesn’t, good luck”

Michael E, g2.com

File and folder pattern configuration is finicky.

For example, I was setting up an S3 connector and I run into trouble with the regex I used for the file pattern. The support technician advised me to change my file pattern to ^zendesk_tickets_* but it didn’t work. We spent at least an hour going through setting up role permissions in AWS before the technician finally gave up and told me that he’ll just get back to me later. A few hours later, the technician finally determined that the regex needed to be changed to ^zendesk_tickets_\d*.csv.

When setting up a connector in Google Cloud Storage, I tried to use a similar regex using ^chat-\d*\.csv. However, since the files were in a sub-folder, it didn’t take. Instead I had to use .*chat-\d*\.csv.

This problem is easy enough to rectify, just learn some Java-flavored regex! However, it can still be annoying.

Built for analysts, but you need access.

Fivetran boasts that it can “Replicate everything, with zero configuration and schemas designed for analytics. Eliminate engineering busywork while empowering your analysts to prove value.” However, this dream is difficult to realize unless you give said analysts access. In most cases, this is hardly the case because data engineers like to control their data, but then again, this is not Fivetran’s problem but more of an internal company issue so make sure your organization is suitably prepared.