I just spent some time looking at Apatar, a company that’s offering an extract, transform, load (ETL) and data integration solution under the GPL (with commercial support subscriptions available also).

The really cool thing is that Apatar provides a visual designer and mapping tool in order to hide the complexity of ETL and data integration from the typical (business) user. Come to think of it, Apatar reminds me of Yahoo! Pipes on steroids.

Users have the ability to create, re-use and share, data transformations and output to RSS feeds

According to their website, Apatar provides connectivity to data residing in SalesForce.com, SugarCRM, MySQL, Oracle, MS Excel, MS SQL Server, MS Access, GoldMine, Sybase, PostgreSQL, CSV, Compiere ERP, XML, RSS, ATOM, FTP, POP3, LDAP, WebDav, any JDBC data sources, Amazon S3, Flickr, and more.

Judging by the data sources supported, Apatar is going after LOBs and more technical users. I like to think of myself as a LOB at heart, so tools like this are near and dear to my heart. I’ve always believed that access to data is what every LOB user is after. Give me loads of data and tools to make sense of it and I’ll be able to make better decisions. Or so the story goes…

Give it a shot and let us know what you think.