Meltano moves beyond ELT to become an ‘open-source dataops OS’

Meltano, the data integration company spun out of GitLab last year, today unveiled version 2.0 of its platform. And to power its transition into what it calls an “open-source dataops OS,” the company also announced a fresh $8.2 million in seed funding.

Debuting internally at GitLab back in 2018, Meltano emerged as what is known as an “extract, load, transform” (ELT) platform that helps companies “extract” raw data from disparate silos (e.g., multiple SaaS apps); “load” this data in a warehouse or file-storage system; and “transform” the data into a standardized format that’s easier to analyze.

Meltano occupies a broader data integration space that includes countless incumbents, from proprietary players such as Fivetran to open-source newbies like Airbyte. Meltano, for its part, resides squarely in the open-source realm, and promises data engineers flexibility and extensibility — it can be hosted wherever they please, and accessed via their own orchestration tools or through Meltano’s own web interface.

Duct-taped

With Meltano 2.0, which is officially available today, Meltano says that it’s ending the era of “duct-taped data platforms,” offering a comprehensive product that teams can use to create and manage their “ideal” data stack.

What this means is that Meltano is moving beyond ELT, packaging tools from across the entire data stack — from integration through to business intelligence (BI) and analysis.

“This allows not just a team’s data pipelines to be managed like a software project, but their entire end-to-end data platform from EL (extract & load) to BI,” Meltano CEO Douwe Maan told VentureBeat.

While the Meltano platform is an open-source product in its own right — released under a permissive MIT license — it actually adopts a modular approach, leaning on a host of third-party open-source tools such as dbt, a command-line tool for data transformation; Apache Airflow for orchestration; and Singer, which is an “open-source standard” for writing data integration scripts. And earlier this year, Meltano introduced support for data quality open-standard Great Expectations.

The company was always planning to support Apache Superset for data visualization, and with version 2.0 that plan has now come to fruition, with users now able to install, configure, integrate, test and deploy Superset directly through Meltano. Moreover, Meltano also supports alternative data visualization and BI tools such as Lightdash and Evidence.dev.

“This makes Meltano the MVP [minimal viable product] of our dataops OS vision, and the first major step in addressing the complexity and fragility of today’s modern data stack, by bringing in some much-needed infrastructure to hold it all together, and software development best practices to allow rapid iteration with confidence,” Maan continued.

Elsewhere, Meltano has now widened the scope of its plugin hub, allowing users to find not just supported EL connectors, but all of the open-source tools to power their data stack.

“We intend for this to become a library of all open-source data tools in the ecosystem, with Meltano the easiest way to install them and use them together,” Maan said.

Finally, Meltano has removed a bunch of old features, such as its legacy BI / visualization functionality that it designed internally, which now makes way for the aforementioned open-source third-party incarnations.

From GitLab to GitHub

The launch of version 2.0 also follows shortly after Meltano migrated from its original home on GitLab over to GitHub, which it said was to support its continued growth in the open-source fraternity. Put simply, GitHub has a wider reach in terms of community-driven data tooling projects.

“GitLab is a great tool for collaboration inside companies, especially all-remote ones, and it’s obviously close to our hearts since we were born there,” Maan said. “But as our growth accelerates and the community diversifies, the move to GitHub just makes sense.”

At its official spinout from GitLab last year, Meltano had revealed a $4.2 million seed round of funding round led by Alphabet’s VC arm GV, along with a slew of angel investments from the likes of WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg and early Google backer Ram Shriram. Meltano has now extended this seed round to $12.4 million in total, with Venrock spearheading the additional raise and GV, Uncorrelated Ventures, and Data Tech Fund all participating.

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