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Introduction to the BI Platform

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Components

The BI Platform consists of the BI Server and the following client tools and add-ons:

The BI Server can be built as a standalone WAR that can be deployed to an existing server, but it is typically bundled by Pentaho with the above-listed tools, plus the Apache Tomcat application server version 5.5, and the MySQL relational database version 5.0. This forms a self-contained, Web-based framework for managing and creating business intelligence solutions.

Features

The BI Platform offers the following functionality:

  • The Pentaho User Console Web interface (shown below), which enables easy management of reports and analysis views.
  • An ad hoc reporting interface, which offers a step-by-step wizard for designing simple reports. Output formats include PDF, RTF, HTML, and XLS.
  • A real-time analysis view interface that allows you to drill down into properly prepared data.
  • A complex scheduling subsystem that enables users to set reports to execute at given intervals.
  • The ability to email a published report to other users.
  • Connectivity with Pentaho Metadata Editor and Pentaho Report Designer, allowing content created with these tools to directly publish to the BI Server.

What's new in 2.0

Version 2.0 is the most dramatic update in the Pentaho BI Platform's history. It encompasses many months of work to improve usability, ease of administration, performance, scalability, and extensibility:

  • Subscription Edition has been renamed Enterprise Edition.
  • The included application server has been changed from JBoss 4.2.1 to Apache Tomcat 5.5.
  • The BI Server Web user interface, now called the Pentaho User Console, has been completely overhauled with new graphics, Ajax effects, and content management functions. It allows users to easily browse/navigate, share, schedule, and create content.
  • The Management Services Console has been upgraded with new system administration functions, and has been renamed to Pentaho Enterprise Console.
  • Pentaho Enterprise Console now includes a module for managing Pentaho Data Integration.
  • Pentaho Enterprise Console provides a new interface for managing Pentaho users, roles and data sources. Enterprise Edition customers now have exclusive access to an Enterprise support forum, where Pentaho engineers and partners quickly respond to questions and comments.
  • Improved Pentaho metadata, which now supports row-level security.
  • Vastly improved installation documentation for both the BI Suite installer and the manual deployment package (this and all other Enterprise Edition documentation is stored in the Pentaho Knowledge Base; please ask your support contact for Knowledge Base login details).
  • New, comprehensive documentation for upgrading from version 1.7.x to 2.0.
  • Sample data and solutions have been improved and updated.
  • Many bug fixes and incremental improvements.

What's new in 3.0

Version 3.0 is an incremental update to the revolutionary BI Suite 2.0. Most of the changes are low-level and behind the scenes, but there are a few big new features:

  • A new Enterprise Edition license key framework.
  • New documentation for some command line functions in the BI Platform.
  • Due to reader feedback, the Administrator's Guide has been significantly improved.
  • The Pentaho User Console now has a complete plugin architecture, greatly expanding its extensibility.
  • The Dashboard Designer plugin, which provides an interface for designing template-based, report- or analysis-driven dashboards in the Pentaho User Console, is now available with a Dashboards Enterprise Edition support entitlement.
  • Report Designer now has metadata security.
  • You can now have multiple analysis view tabs open concurrently in the Pentaho User Console.
  • A Flash charting component that adds new chart types and animations to dashboards.
  • Many bug fixes and incremental improvements.
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