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Review: "Pentaho powerful backend BI tooling, hit-and-miss data visualization"
https://www.trustradius.com/business-intelligence-biPentahoUnspecified7.5100101
Jordan Squire profile photo
February 23, 2016

Review: "Pentaho powerful backend BI tooling, hit-and-miss data visualization"

Score 8 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Pentaho

We utilize the Community Edition of Pentaho across our organization for business intelligence. We use Pentaho Data Integration (PDI) to gather data from disparate data sources and perform ETL to populate our data warehouse. We also use PDI to deliver custom reports to various internal and external clients. We use Mondrian as a data engine behind our customer-facing website to process MDX queries from our customer reporting portal. We use Pentaho Report Designer to author pixel-perfect reports for internal and external audiences. We also use the Pentaho User Console for our business analysts to slice-and-dice the data for various departments. In summary, Pentaho is used to allow our internal and external clients to benchmark the performance of our products and services and gain visibility into customer behavior and activity.
  • Pentaho Data Integration (PDI), which is Pentaho's ETL tool, is a powerful visual scripting tool. It is a very mature ETL tool that can process large quantities of data quickly when provided with appropriate hardware.
  • Pentaho Analyzer which is Pentaho's Enterprise browser-based analysis and pivot table tool is powerful and intuitive. When provided with a well defined data warehouse schema it is easy for even non-technical users to quickly generate reports and graphs.
  • Pentaho allows you to connect to virtually any datasource provided there exists a JDBC connector, REST API, or some other API end point.
  • Pentaho has an open-source Community Edition which provides much of the functionality of the Enterprise Edition without any licensing fees.
  • A major problem we have had with Pentaho is their enterprise licensing. As a client who understands very well what is offered within the free Community Edition we felt their mark up on their enterprise features was much too high. They wanted to charge us for migrating from MySQL to Amazon RedShift since RedShift is an "analytical database" while nearly every other database could be connected to for free. Due to licensing concerns we terminated our enterprise license.
  • Pentaho's visualization tools are very capable, but have a very steep learning curve and engineering cost. Due to this we ended switching from Pentaho for the majority of our internal dashboarding and reporting to purchasing Tableau licenses. If Pentaho could improve their visualization and dashboarding capabilities, they could truly be an end-to-end BI solution.
We have done extensive exploration of the BI marketplace but had to eliminate many of the BI vendors due our business model and their licensing model being incompatible or cost prohibitive. We provide reporting to hundreds of clients and hundreds of thousands of end-users and most licensing is based on a per-seat model. Using Pentaho, the enterprise licensing is based on serve cores which fits our business model better and Pentaho Community Edition has no licensing. Based on your use case and number of report viewers you may not have the same licensing requirements.
There are a lot of natively supported connections. For those not natively supported if they have a JDBC driver, REST API, HTTP API, or some other API it is likely that you can connect with the data source. There is also an active plugin community which has connections to many additional data sources without having to generate the connection yourself.
Pentaho integrates with Active Directory / LDAP which makes managing users, roles, and groups simple. Sharing reports within Pentaho is very simple, however there is no notification to the user(s) that you shared a report with. You can schedule a report to be emailed to an email address on a recurring schedule. Other reporting tools provide a way to comment or discuss individual reports or dashboards, Pentaho does not.
As far as generating and maintaining a data warehouse, Pentaho does an excellent job and I would highly recommend it. For analysis and gaining insight into your data, Pentaho is excellent. For visualization, dashboarding, or executive grade reporting it may not be as beautiful or flashy as your clients require.

Pentaho Feature Ratings

Pixel Perfect reports
6
Customizable dashboards
3
Report Formatting Templates
3
Drill-down analysis
8
Formatting capabilities
6
Integration with R or other statistical packages
6
Report sharing and collaboration
8
Publish to Web
7
Publish to PDF
10
Report Delivery Scheduling
8
Pre-built visualization formats (heatmaps, scatter plots etc.)
7
Location Analytics / Geographic Visualization
8
Predictive Analytics
3
Multi-User Support (named login)
10
Role-Based Security Model
10
Multiple Access Permission Levels (Create, Read, Delete)
10
Responsive Design for Web Access
3
Dashboard / Report / Visualization Interactivity on Mobile
3