Pentaho vs. Tableau: Features, Support and Pricing Comparison of Business Intelligence Software

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.

Pentaho vs Tableau Review

Product Overviews

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

Pentaho: Pentaho, now part of Hitachi Vantara Corp., distinguishes itself in its unique ability to combine data integration with analytical processing, saving users money and time, and speeding up the results process. 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. Looker vs Tableau Comparison

Tableau: Tableau offers robust BI tools that enhance data visualization and discovery for all types of organizations and business users. With simple drag-and-drop features, users can easily analyze key data, share critical insights across the enterprise, and create innovative visualizations and reports. In addition, Tableau offers the option to embed dashboards into existing business applications such as Jive, SharePoint and Salesforce.

How They Stack Up

We’ve compared Pentaho and Tableau to highlight some key differences and factors to consider before making a purchasing decision.


Pentaho: 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 bi-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: 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, SharePoint and Jive.

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: Pentaho’s clients can choose from three production installation methods:

  • Archive – For companies that want to run the Pentaho server on the version of Tomcat (Apache’s Java Servlet Container) that Pentaho supplies, Archive installs the Pentaho server, business analytics (BA) plugins and data integration (DI) plugins. Firms installing Pentaho in a production environment would use Archive to install the Pentaho server on a designated machine while installing design tools on separate workstations.
  • Manual – For firms that want to deploy the Pentaho Server on their existing Tomcat or JBoss web app servers, Manual installs the Pentaho server and BA plugins. Companies that are installing Pentaho in a production environment, would use this method to install the Pentaho server on one machine while installing design tools on separate workstations.
  • Client Tools – For organizations that just want to install BA or DI components, Client Tools installs design tools only. Organizations installing Pentaho in a production environment would use this method to install design tools on workstations while installing the Pentaho server on separate machines.

Tableau: Tableau has a variety of implementation options. It comes with quick-start options for small-scale deployments that can be set up in just a few hours.

However, enterprise-level deployments involve a four-step process, covered in our Tableau review:

  • Step 1 involves IT planning, architecture consulting, pre-install check-up, server installation and verification, and security configuration.
  • Step 2 involves working with data and data migration, including data modeling, data mining, data extraction, data sources and business workflow.
  • Step 3 includes a two-day classroom training covering Tableau fundamentals, hands-on advanced coaching, and building and formatting visualizations.
  • Step 4 helps companies expand Tableau usage across the business. It includes implementation workshops where topics such as evaluating action plans and defining measurable outcomes are discussed.

Bottom Line: Although small and midsize businesses can take advantage of Tableau’s quick-start options, large enterprises must follow the more complicated four-phase process. Implementing Pentaho correctly is also not an easy task. But unlike Tableau, Pentaho doesn’t offer a quick-start option at all.

Customer Service and Support

Pentaho: 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 24x7x365 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: Users can submit support tickets via an online form or the customer portal. Tableau also offers a comprehensive knowledge base, which is categorized by its three subscriptions: Desktop, Server and Online. Users can access support resources tailored to their versions of the software, including getting started, best practices and optimal use of the platform’s top features.

Access to Tableau support is included with a company’s subscription to Tableau’s products and is available for the duration of the subscription contract. Support is also included with perpetual license purchases for one year and requires annual maintenance renewal. Users can also access the Tableau community forum and attend training and other events.

Bottom Line: Both Pentaho and Tableau have extensive online support resources. However, Tableau customers can only communicate with the Tableau team through their private customer support portal, while Pentaho users can also submit tickets by email.


Pentaho: Pentaho offers flexible subscription-based pricing models that align with a business’ needs. Pentaho offers a 30-day free trial to test out its data integration and business analytics. Companies can either install the software on their desktops or use Pentaho Business Analytics online. Potential customers can also request personalized demos that are tailored to their needs.

Tableau: Tableau revised its subscription offerings to tailor to user data needs. First, there is the Tableau Creator, which is designed for individual analysts and power users, and costs $70 per user per month (billed annually). The, there is the Tableau Explorer, designed for users that want to explore governed self-service analytics. It costs $35 per user per month (billed annually) if deployed on-premise and includes one license to Tableau Server. If deployed in the cloud, this plan costs $42 per user per month (billed annually) and includes one license to Tableau Online. 

Tableau also offers the Tableau Viewer to enable users to view and interact with dashboards and visualizations in a secure, easy-to-use platform. The on-premise version is $12 per user, per month billed annually. A minimum of 100 viewers is required, while the version hosted by Tableau is $15 per user, per month billed annually, with a minimum of 100 viewers.

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.


Pentaho aims to help businesses save time and money via analytics processing and seamless data integrations. It offers predictive modeling functions as well as more basic data reporting tools. Pentaho provides self-service reports, visual analytics, custom dashboards and a mobile platform.

Tableau, on the other hand, wants to make it easier for businesses to visualize and understand their analytics data. Its simple drag-and-drop interface and user-friendly desktop design make it one of the most popular BI systems available, despite its steep learning curve. Tableau offers users desktop reporting functions, a server so they can work collaboratively and a cloud-based version of its main tools.

Before making a selection, it’s important for organizations to evaluate each tool to decide which one best fits their needs.

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