Pentaho vs. Tableau: Compare Core BI Capabilities and More

Pentaho and Tableau are two self-service business intelligence (BI) products that help companies better visualize and understand their data to maker better data-driven decisions.

In this post, we’ll compare the two solutions on various factors.

What are the Differences Between Pentaho and Tableau?

  • Pentaho is mainly a data integration platform with analytics capabilities, whereas Tableau is a visual analytics solution.
  • Pentaho has a Community Edition with limited features. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial.
  • Pentaho requires a custom price quote, while Tableau’s pricing is listed on its site.

Product Overviews

To summarize each product, here’s some information from our reviews of Pentaho and Tableau:


Pentaho, now part of Hitachi Vantara Corp., distinguishes itself in its unique ability to combine data integration with analytical processing, which saves users both money and time. This vastly speeds up the results process, an ever-more prescient issue for buyers on the market for a new BI tool.

Pentaho includes a spectrum of advanced analytics, from predictive modeling to basic reporting. The tool is specifically designed to blend with mobile platforms, providing a seamless experience from smartphones and tablets.

Beyond data integration, other key features include visual analysis, self-service reports, and custom dashboarding.


Tableau provides all types of users with intuitive business intelligence (BI) tools to enhance data discovery and understanding. With simple drag-and-drop features, a user is able to easily access and analyze key data, create innovative reports and visualizations, and share critical insights across the company.

Tableau has three main products for robust data discovery:

  1. Tableau Desktop – Tableau Desktop is used to connect and analyze disparate data, and create highly innovative reports in just a few clicks.
  2. Tableau Server – Tableau Server allows users to securely collaborate and share critical insights and information through comprehensive dashboards created in Tableau Desktop or directly in Tableau Server.
  3. Tableau Cloud – Tableau Cloud is a cloud-hosted version of Tableau Server. It not only saves time and money by skipping hardware setup, Tableau Cloud also supports mobile access.

Tableau serves a variety of industries, including major corporations and banks, educational institutions and healthcare providers.

Features Comparisons


Pentaho is a platform for data integration and analytics that includes big data analytics, visualizations, dashboards, data mining, reporting and predictive analytics. The platform enhances connectivity to streaming data sources for real-time data processing and improves team productivity. With the platform’s data integration functionality, users can find, manage and integrate data from numerous big-data sources, including Hadoop, NoSQL databases and analytic databases. The integration designer is user-friendly and features a drag-and-drop tool.

Pentaho now supports some open-source bidirectional data technologies and standards, as well as data-at-rest and streaming data. The software includes granular filters for preparing data, easier application auditing and enhanced repository usability. Because of Pentaho’s intuitive interface, the system can be learned quickly and easily by new users.


Tableau supports hundreds of data connectors, including online analytical processing (OLAP) and big-data options, such as NoSQL and Hadoop, as well as cloud options. Tableau can also pull data from a SQL database for analysis. Tableau loads and extracts data through its many connectors that can link to a number of data sources. Although Tableau performs data preparation and manipulation quickly and in a straightforward manner, first-time users will require some extensive training.

Tableau’s Device Designer tool lets users design, customize and publish dashboards that scale for desktops, phones and tablets. Users can also embed dashboards into their existing applications, such as Salesforce and SharePoint.

Bottom Line

Both Pentaho and Tableau have a wide range of tools and features. Pentaho relies on powerful visualizations that help businesses engage with data. Tableau offers intuitive business intelligence tools to create visuals that enhance data discovery and understanding. However, while Pentaho is easy for beginners to learn, new Tableau users will need extensive training.



Pentaho has a free Community Edition with limited features, such as codeless pipeline development, a user console, major software releaseas, a community forum and how-to videos. Prospects interested in this edition can download it from the vendor’s site.

The Pentaho Enterprise Edition adds on advanced features, such as streaming data support, a data science toolkit, reporting, professional services packages, 24/7 tech support and an assigned architect. It offers a 30-day free trial to test out its data integration and business analytics. Pricing isn’t available, so prospects will need to contact the vendor for a quote.


Tableau provides subscription offerings tailored to user data needs. First, there is the Tableau Creator, which is designed for individual analysts and power users, and costs $75 per user per month (billed annually). Then, there is the Tableau Explorer, designed for users that want to explore governed self-service analytics. It costs $42 per user, per month, whether it’s deployed on-premise or in the cloud. The price includes one license to Tableau Server (on-premise) and one license to Tableau Cloud (cloud).

Tableau also offers the Tableau Viewer to enable users to view and interact with dashboards and visualizations in a secure, easy-to-use platform. It costs $15 per user, per month for both on-premise and cloud deployments. The price includes one Viewer license of Tableau Server (on-premise) and one Viewer license of Tableau Cloud. Note that Tableau requires a minimum of 100 Viewers for this plan.

The platform has a 14-day free trial for users who wish to test it before making a purchase.

Bottom Line

Tableau’s pricing is straightforward, although it may be too expensive for smaller businesses. Potential customers have to contact Pentaho for pricing information.

Customer Service and Support


Hitachi Vantara offers a customer support portal for Pentaho that includes:

  • A support ticketing system
  • A knowledge base, including articles on best practices
  • Access to free and paid training videos
  • Documentation
  • Software downloads
  • Service packs

Pentaho’s support offices are staffed with representatives available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, local time. Pentaho’s 24/7 support is available for Enterprise Support subscription customers in production environments only, or as otherwise agreed to by Hitachi Vantara in writing as part of its Go-Live support services. The best way for users to report an issue is by submitting a ticket through the Pentaho customer portal or via email.


Tableau offers complimentary online access to all users that includes:

  • A knowledge base
  • On-demand training videos
  • Live online training
  • Product documentation
  • Tableau Community forums

In addition, it has a Technical Support Program with three tiers:

Standard – Standard support is included in the subscription purchase. Coverage is during Tableau’s regular business hours (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST Mondays to Fridays). In addition to the online access, the Standard tier has:

  • Priority 1 (Critical) issue response time within eight hours
  • Priority 2 (High) issue response time within 24 hours
  • Three named contacts

Extended – The Extended Support tier includes all of the features of the Standard tier, plus:

  • Phone support
  • 24/7 coverage for Priority 1 issues
  • Priority 1 (Critical) issue response time within one hour
  • Priority 2 (High) issue response time within two hours
  • Five named contacts

Premium – The Premium Support tier includes all of the features of the Extended tier, plus:

  • 24/7 coverage for Priority 1 and Priority 2 issues
  • Priority 1 (Critical) issue response time within 30 minutes
  • Priority 2 (High) issue response time within two hours
  • A technical account manager
  • Key event management
  • Service level agreement for Tableau Cloud users only
  • Deployment reviews for Tableau Server users only
  • Recurring status calls and service reports
  • Online update guidance
  • Upgrade assistance for Tableau Server users only
  • Strategic planning
  • Exclusive events
  • Access to the Senior Support team
  • Case escalation and oversight
  • Onsite escalation management for Tableau Server users
  • Product roadmap participation
  • Prioritized feature request reviews
  • Root cause analysis
  • Sandbox site for Tableau Cloud users only

Bottom Line

Both Pentaho and Tableau have extensive online support resources. Pentaho users can submit tickets online and via email, whereas Tableau customers can only communicate with the Tableau team through their private customer support portal (although phone support is available in its Premium support tier).

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