Pentaho Data Integration Review

Free to use, easy to set up, and has a great metadata injection feature

What is our primary use case?

The most common use for the solution is gathering data from our databases or files in order to gather them into a different database. Another common use is to compare data between different databases. Due to a lack of integrity, you can attach these to synchronization issues.

What is most valuable?

One important feature, in my opinion, is the Metadata Injection. It gives flexibility to the scripts due to the fact that the scripts don't depend on a fixed structure or a fixed data model. Instead, you can develop transformations that are not dependant on the fixed structure or data models. 

Let me give a pair of examples. Sometimes your tables change, adding fields or dropping some of them. When this happens if you have a transformation without using Metadata Injection your transformation fails or doesn't manage the whole info from the table. If you use Metadata Injection instead, the new fields are included and the dropped columns are excluded from the transformation. Other times you have a complex transformation to apply to a lot of different tables. Traditionally, without the Metadata Injection feature, you had to repeat the transformation for each table, adapting the transformation to the concrete structure of each table. Fortunately, with the Metadata Injection, the same transformation is valid for all the tables you want to treat. A little bit effort gives you a great benefit.

Furthermore, the solution has a free to use community version.

The solution is easy to set up, very intuitive, clear to understand and easy to maintain.

What needs improvement?

I'm currently looking at a new competitor that's got some interesting features that this solution doesn't have. I have found this competitor has a feature breaking system that is not present in the Pentaho Data Integration approach. The way the system sets can somehow maintain a track for the last executions and somehow store the state which gives you the potential to run from the point that it ended the last time. It's very interesting. It would be nice if Pentaho had this type of feature.

Often you are required to install plugins. If you need to have access to, in my case, Neo4j databases new folder databases, you do need a plugin to do it.

For how long have I used the solution?

Between my current role and the role at my last company, I've been working with the solution for over five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's not very stable, at least not in the case of the community edition. I'm working with the community edition right now and I think perhaps it is because of that it is not very stable, it causes the system to sometimes hang. I'm not sure if this is the case for pair tiers.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I am the only person using the solution currently. There are two other people that occasionally also assist in it. I'm helping them understand the tool and they are beginning to use it. In that sense, we're slowly scaling.

I don't know if the solution scales well on a large scale, however.

It scales very well, overall with the very useful feature to run n copies to Start attribute in every step, perhaps balancing with the side effect of consuming a lot of memory and CPU resources.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't really contacted technical support in the past. We try to handle any issues ourselves in-house. I can't speak to the quality of the technical support, having never directly dealt with them.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We've never really used another solution like this in our organization. This is the first.

How was the initial setup?

The solution is pretty simple to set up. It's not complex.

For our, deployment took about one month.

Maintenance is easy. The only maintenance tasks are to upgrade to the newer versions and backing up the repository frequently.

What about the implementation team?

I handled the implementation on my own. I didn't need any help from a reseller or consultant.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We're using the community edition, which is free to use. I'm not sure how much their paid services cost. We haven't purchased any licensing.

What other advice do I have?

We're just users of the solution. We don't have a professional relationship with the company.

The solution is great to use and easy to share with teams via the central repository. It's very functional overall. I'd recommend the solution to other companies.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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