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Communications of the ACM

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Extract, Shoehorn, and Load


big toe in tiny shoe

Credit: Lars Christensen

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A lot of data is moved from system to system in an important and increasing part of the computing landscape. This is traditionally known as ETL (extract, transform, and load). While many systems are extremely good at this process, the source for the extraction and the destination for the load frequently have different representations for their data. It is common for this transformation to squeeze, truncate, or pad the data to make it fit into the target. This is really like using a shoehorn to fit into a shoe that is too small. Sometimes it's a needed step. Frequently it's a real pain!

Two major parts of ETL are the extraction and the load. These processes are where the rubber meets the participating data stores.


 

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