I wrote a blog titled Loading or Manipulating Large Amounts of Data in Salesforce.com? Here’s Some Options! for my company, Sonoma Partners, regarding my experience leveraging different tools for loading data into (and exporting data out of) Salesforce.com. There are a number of options out there, and not a lot of resources that give a quick snapshot of what each tool is useful for, so hopefully this is a good reference.
When manipulating or loading large sets of data, there comes a point where manual updates are no longer the best option. Salesforce.com provides a couple of different ways to load data automatically based on CSV files, but the most flexible (official) tool they have is Data Loader.
Data Loader allows administrators to insert, update, delete, and export records into/from their organization. If similar data loads are done on a recurring basis, administrators have the ability to save the data mappings so they don’t need to be manually remapped each time. It also has the added ability to run as a scheduled job in Windows via the command line.
For the most part, Data Loader can handle what users need. However, there are some limitations.
It also gave me a chance to highlight Dataloader.io, the tool I use most frequently these days. After using Salesforce.com’s Data Loader for the majority of my work, I’ve found Dataloader.io to be a great user experience. It is a cloud-based tool that is very easy to use for normal data loading tasks, and a very simple but elegant interface.
For a rundown of the other options, read the rest here.