Business intelligence consists of the strategies and technologies used by enterprises for the data analysis of business information. With the help of BI tools, you can make critical decisions for your businesses. One such tool for BI is Looker, and In this Looker Tutorial, we will discuss everything you need to know about Looker. So let’s get started.
Looker is a cloud-based Business Intelligence (BI) tool that helps you explore, share, and visualize data that drive better business decisions. Looker is now a part of the Google Cloud Platform. It allows anyone in your business to analyze and find insights into your datasets quickly. Looker makes it incredibly easy to build a data exploration platform that makes your data accessible in a meaningful, intuitive way for your entire organization.
Looker uses Data Modelling Language (DML), and it includes a predefined framework. With Looker, you can analyze data in a very efficient and helpful manner. You can easily connect to multiple data sources, and you can build customized dashboards, KPI dashboards, etc., using Looker.
Looker provides tools to power myriad data experiences, from modern BI and embedded analytics to integrating workflows and custom applications. Regardless, where your data resides, Looker allows you to access the most up-to-date version of your company’s data. It’s a one-stop solution for BI, visualization, analytics, and data management.
You can get valuable insights that you need by filtering to granular slices of data from the dashboard in a few clicks. Furthermore, you can initiate data in every conversation possible with the ability to find the solutions you need on the fly, right from within Slack.
With Looker’s powerful features, you can improve performance, optimize costs, and manage enterprise-scale deployments better.
With prebuilt UI components, you can unlock new types of data experiences and speed up development workflows. At low cost, Looker improves your product’s competitive advantage and boosts revenue growth.
Apart from this, we have many other new features. A few of them are listed below:
We recommend you to watch this Looker Tutorial Video learn Looker easily.
The architecture design of Looker consists of a Linux server that has the following connections:
Looker can be customer-hosted in AWS VPC. Using a Looker-hosted instance reduces the efforts needed for installation, configuration, and management of Looker apps and other IT functions that are handled by you related to Looker apps. Note that Looker application hosting is independent of where data resides. Data always gets stored in the database and is not copied to the Looker instance.
Additionally, Looker requires outbound network access to authorize, backup Git, email relay, and license checks.
HyperSQL is picked as an in-memory database for Looker applications internal databases by default. In busy instances, the size of the database grows and leads to performance issues. To overcome these deployments, users need to replace the HyperSQL database with a MySQL database backend.
Furthermore, users can achieve efficient traffic control on Looker by deploying a cluster of Looker nodes behind a load balancer, as shown in the figure below:
Various looker nodes can be deployed in a clustered environment behind a load balancer/proxy server. Each node communicates with the other via HTTPS, leveraging additional security measures.
This would be the recommended approach for a production instance with a 100% uptime.
LookML is a language used to describe dimensions, calculations, aggregates, and data relationships in a SQL database. Looker practices a model in LookML for SQL queries construction against a specific database.
Looker is a tool that creates SQL queries and passes them against a database connection. It produces SQL queries based on the LookML project, which describes the relationship between columns and tables in a database.
The following steps explain the working of a Looker:
You can use the SQL tab in the data section to know what Looker sends to the database to get the data. You can even use links at the bottom to view your query in SQL Runner.
The LookML project defines all the dimensions, explores, measures, and views referenced in the formula above.
[ Related Article: Looker Interview Questions & Answers ]
Looker contains a SQL runner feature that runs SQL against database connections you’ve set up in Looker. Raw SQL queries executed in SQL Runner produce the same result set.
SQL runner will highlight the error in the SQL command and the error position in the error message if SQL includes any errors.
Looker Blocks are the prebuilt data models used to accelerate your data sources and analytics patterns. Looker Blocks are used as an entry point for quick and flexible analytics right from SQL patterns to completely built-out data models.
There are various Looker Blocks available, and a few of them are as follows:
These are the steps you will need to follow to install Looker for a customer-hosted Looker Deployment:
1. Looker Installation
2. Configuring database for Looker
3. Connecting Looker to your database
4. Testing database connections
5. Configuring Looker sign-in options
Top competitors to Looker for analytics and business intelligence platforms are Tableau, Qlik, Sisense, MicroStrategy, PowerBI, etc.
The below section compares top business intelligence tools and explains why Looker stands out.
Tableau is optimized for in-memory data extracts, which generates management and governance challenges over time. Looker’s agile modeling, centralized layer develops a trusted environment for all users to communicate without any data extraction.
Power BI is a cloud offering, which can be deployed only on Microsoft’s Azure public cloud environment and that limits future flexibility. Looker’s multi cloud flexibility overcomes this challenge by offering modern cloud and on-premise SQL database solutions by future-proofing your data strategy.
Sisense’s ElastiCube architecture creates complex deployments as users attempt to scale. With Looker’s centralized modeling layer, you can define business rules that can be accessed by both users and downstream processes.
MicroStrategy’s centralized semantic layer needs skillful IT resources, that drive bottlenecks and limit the activity. LookML centralized, accessible modeling layer of Looker allows more users to collaborate.
Both QlikView and Qlik Sense need data extraction to a proprietary in-memory database. Looker’s centrally managed modeling layer promotes dimensions reusability and checks as business rules only need to be determined once without extracts.
Looker publicly doesn’t release pricing information. Instead, offers a customized plan based on the number of users and scale of deployment. Pricing is designed to fit businesses of all sizes. Looker pricing specialists work directly with you to ensure an ideal business pricing structure for your business.
Looker pricing starts at $3,000.00 for the entire data platform, according to a third-party website.
A Looker certification is a valuable industry credential that demonstrates your technical skills. The exams use industry best practices and standards to assess whether Looker’s proficiency standards are met.
The following exams are now available:
This exam covers LookML code development, maintenance, troubleshooting, caching policies, and data modeling best practices. This exam expects that you are comfortable with SQL and have at least 3+ months of experience with these skills before you register.
With this exam, you can learn about report development in Looker, visualization of data, and best practices of the dashboard. It is recommended to have 5+ months of experience with these skills to clear this exam.
By becoming Looker certified, you will:
While we highly recommend Looker training and on-the-job experience, there are no prerequisites for taking Looker certification exams. Please review the exam details for the exam you want to take for more information about the exam covers and the suggested training.
Looker is definitely a tool to watch out for the features and the robustness that it provides. I hope that you now have a brief idea about Looker and its objective. With this, we have come to the end of this blog. I hope you have enjoyed reading it. If you have any queries related to this blog, you can write them in the comments box below. We will be more than happy to resolve them. Thank you and Happy Learning!