Pentaho Review

It has ​helped us form great visualizations at practically no cost since we built end to end open source architecture.


Valuable Features

  • Open Source Community Edition feature - helped us a lot with our budget in the beginning of our project
  • Ability to produce different types of visualizations (on par with Tableau) - map, pie, bar, heat map, table etc. Several other different options like exporting to CSV, downloading a table and so on
  • Ability to integrate with different databases seamlessly - Hadoop, MySQL etc
  • Ability to highly customize the dashboards to the developer's preference.

Improvements to My Organization

Helped us form great visualizations at practically no cost since we built end to end open source architecture. This has helped in gaining business insights for us. We have also learned a lot from the development perspective since this is more of a developer's tool than tools like Tableau/Qlikview that are pretty much automated.

Room for Improvement

A lot of room for improvement! (for the Community Edition. We are a big telecoms company and we deal with a lot of data,. approximately two million per day. It is too slow in rendering it. Also, certain features aren't available in the Community Edition like geo maps which we made possible through intensive coding.

The Enterprise Edition is too pricey. I must warn you that to use Pentaho, the developer must have a good knowledge on javascript, HTML, CSS, and advanced SQL concepts.

Use of Solution

We've used it for a year.

Deployment Issues

Deployment is an issue only if you have a very specific ask of the system.

Stability Issues

With a complex and large volume database stability becomes an issue.

Scalability Issues

With a complex and large volume database scalability becomes an issue.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Pentaho has a good community support - forums.pentaho.com and there are a lot of other forums.

Previous Solutions

We were using Tableau with not many problems at all. it is a great tool. We switched to Pentaho to help with our budget at that time. Also, for its web application capacity as anyone with the right permissions can access the dashboards with just a link. and they don't need to have a license to access.

Initial Setup

It is easily downloadable from the website. Tutorials are available on YouTube for installation of Pentaho, but it becomes difficult when your requirements are specific, such as the incorporation of Hadoop, when there is no tutorial available for that. Also, when you encounter a problem, there is not much support you can expect, but a good cloud team can definitely help resolve the installation issues.

Implementation Team

It's an in-house one. It is easily downloadable/install-able but not very easily customize-able. We had a lot of problems before we could have a working version of Pentaho. The JAR files need to be specific. We need people in our team that are good with building VMs/cloud computing for implementing the server version of pentaho. We cannot ignore the importance of a maintenance team to cope up with any on going problems (you would like to expect a bunch).

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

I know that price is very high for Pentaho Enterprise Edition. I think it's $250,000 per year. It's worth it only if you need a web application with features like that of Tableau's. If you are to buy something, I would suggest Tableau. It depends on your needs and how you plan to collect the data, but if you will be able to manage with the features that are available in Community Edition, then Pentaho is a good option.

Other Solutions Considered

We chose Pentaho over five other Big Data supporting BI solutions.

Other Advice

Research it and know your needs.

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