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Pentaho BI Pentaho BI is an extended set of open source tools covering the whole area of data warehouses. From the moment of loading data to data warehouse (ETL), until disclosing the results of analyses to business users. Pentaho is available in two versions: commercial (enterprise edition) and free of charge (community edition). Both versions are created on the basis of the same basic components, however the commercial version provides a broader set of additional tools, in particular in the area of data analysis and report delivery. Additionally, the commercial version ensures the producer support within the scope of documentation.

All components of Pentaho Community Edition are delivered and developed as independent applications.

  • Pentaho Reporting Engine - The main engine of a mechanism responsible for generating reports for end users. It was previously developed under the name "JFree Report". On the basis of report design and defined data sources it generates output reports in HTML, PDF, Excel and other formats. It is mostly used for launching Pentaho reports inside Java application.
  • Pentaho Report Designer - A graphical editor allowing for designing reports launched with Reporting Engine. The reports? desings are saved in XML files. There is a possibility of entirely manual creation of XML files without the graphical editor, but this approach is not used in practice. The tool is also used for publication of reports on BI server as well as collecting and modifying previously published reports.
  • Pentaho BI Server - Application in J2EE technology including nested Pentaho Reporting Engine. This tool allows for simultaneous access of many users to the same reports. Reports are launched remotely on a server, on which an application is installed, all operations are executed by users and administrators using web interface and web browser. Pentaho BI Server is used for management of user rights of access to particular resources and it allows to create schedules of launching reports. It also enables sending the results by e-mail. Thanks to that, launching report each time a user wants to see it can be avoided: generated reports are waiting for users and only have to be downloaded.
    In addition, Pentaho BI Server also enables its users to create independently simple reports on-line without the necessity of using Pentaho Report Designer. In such case a user has an opportunity to independently enter SQL query or use ready-made data sources available on a server (sources are prepared in Pentaho Metadata Editor).
  • Pentaho Design Studio - A tool allowing to design more complicated sequences, which are supposed to be executed through Pentaho BI Server. Using it is not required if we just want to launch already prepared report or plan a simple schedule. It is useful when we want to generate few reports at once and send them to many users (a list of users could be e.g. loaded from a database) or make the type of generated report dependent on available data. In general, Pentaho Design Studio is used for designing more complicated and dynamic control flow.
  • Pentaho Metadata Editor - A tool supporting graphic design of data sources available for business users. It allows to map technical database tables into more understandable structures. It enables defining relations between particular tables, and then displaying those tables as a single data source. An end user has an access to mapped data and the knowledge of internal structure of data warehouse is not necessary. Data sources designed with Pentaho Metadata Editor are located on Pentaho BI Server.
  • Pentaho Data Integration - ETL tool, previously known as Kettle, used for loading data into data warehouses. It allows for a graphic design of the process which includes downloading data form the source, transforming data to into a target form and saving it in the data warehouse. The very design takes place through dragging appropriate elements from available transformations, and then determining the sequence of executing them through combining them with arrows. Particular transformations correspond to specified operations, such as downloading data from a file, making a query, executing arithmetical operations, or operations on strings. Designed processes are launched on Pentaho BI Server.

Pentaho tools, even in free of charge edition, constitute quite a complete Business Intelligence environment, which may, in case of some applications, efficiently compete with commercial solutions. Nowadays, Pentaho BI is the biggest open source project ensuring a complete cover of the whole process connected with Business Intelligence.

The official website of: Pentaho BI