Pentaho Business Intelligence Review

Hitachi Ventara
Hitachi Ventara
Santa Clara, CA
Deployment Model:
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Pentaho At A Glance

Good: Combination of data integration and analytical processing, first BI tool to market direct reporting for NoSQL, wide variety of reporting solutions.
Bad: Various bugs and minor errors have been found, metadata layer is not intuitive enough, no perpetual licensing
Bottom Line: Pentaho's unique ability to cross data integration with business analytics unites IT and end-users, helping them integrate and visualize the information that is most important to business results.

Product Overview

Pentaho 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.

Pentaho works with many data sources, such as Spark, Microsoft, Google Cloud and more. It also accommodates big data. Pentaho also offers an embedded analytics solution, where users can embed Pentaho’s dashboards, reports and visualizations within their existing applications.


Pentaho relies on powerful visualizations that allow users to interact with their data, zooming in and seeing in detail important statistics. Some other tools that highlight this feature include lasso filtering, drill-through capabilities, and attribute highlighting.

Pentaho also has other unique abilities such as geo-mapping, heat grids, and scatter charts. The system relies on in-memory data caching, which provides analysis of data at the “speed of thought,” making for a vastly quicker BI tool.

Dashboards are interactive as well, and include web-based drag and drop capabilities and a library of filter controls.
They can be custom designed, so that each is precisely created for the needs of the user at hand. The dashboard also can connect business analytics with outside applications, making for a more efficient user experience.

A diverse array of reporting solutions are included, ranging from self-service reporting to reporting for much larger enterprise jobs. Reports are intuitive and simple to use, featuring an output in all popular formats, Excel, CSV, PDF, and HTML. Pentaho was also the first BI tool to market direct reporting for NoSQL.

Another notable feature is Pentaho’s data integration software, which can blend information together from unlimited sources, including NoSQL, Hadoop, relational databases, and analytical databases. The integration designer is user-friendly, features a drag and drop tool, and has an adaptive big data layer so that big data can be inserted quickly.

A visual MapReduce designer for Hadoop gets rid of coding, saving time and resources.

Some of Pentaho’s other features are listed out below:

Target Market

Pentaho is implemented across industries, from transportation and healthcare to media and entertainment. Below we have included a list of some of their notable clients:

  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • Lufthansa
  • Telefonica
  • RichRelevance
  • edo
  • Exact Target
  • Marketo
  • Avia Partner
  • TravelTainment
  • University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine

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Pentaho offers these following implementation services:

  • Custom-built prototype of the solution with customer’s own data and requirements
  • Deployment assurance program
  • Solution delivery – customer outsources the entire implementation process to Pentaho
  • Migration from previous BI systems or upgrade to latest Pentaho release
  • Using skilled Pentaho staff to supplement customer’s project team

Customer Service & Support

Pentaho’s user community has been touted as being one the most informative and helpful on the market, and this is one of the vendor’s best support tools. However, there are a number of other service options available.

A visualizations custom UI assistance team helps users create custom visualizations and UI designs.

Pentaho offers consulting services to customers, which create pre-packaged and custom engagements to help develop and implement tactics quickly and smoothly.

An extensive training suite is available, which includes onsite and online offerings. Certification programs are also available for professional development and those seeking to become experts.

More hard technical support packages are available, and these include issue detection, problem resolution, and developer assistance.


Pentaho offers flexible subscription-based pricing models that aligns with a business’ needs. Potential clients should contact Pentaho directly for a price quote.


Some users have found difficulty using reporting products, and have reported various bugs and minor errors which stall progress.

Others have found issues with Pentaho’s metadata layer. It is not intuitive enough for average customers to use, and error messages have been cited as being too vague to be useful.

In addition, because there is no perpetual licensing, there is the same cost on a yearly basis. This means that businesses make an annual investment instead of a large upfront investment.


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Pentaho Corporation is a business intelligence software company that specializes in open source BI products. It’s most notable suite is Pentaho Business Analytics, an offering which includes OLAP services, reporting, data mining, dashboarding, and data integration capabilities.

In June 2015, the company has been acquired by Hitachi Data Systems as part of Hitachi’s Social Innovation platform. Hitachi is a leader of “Internet of Things (IoT)” as well as big data analytics. The company changed its name to Hitachi Ventara in 2017.

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