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Pentaho Tutorial

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Pentaho is an extensively used Business Intelligence tool set (suite) across industries for data management. The suite is available in two editions- Community Edition(CE) and Enterprise Edition(EE). Analysts, data managers, software developers, and even students find the applicability of this tool. Companies like JP Morgan, Dell, TCS, Accenture, OLX, Bank of America to name a few, have deployed Pentaho as an ETL tool. 

Pentaho Tutorial

Pentaho Tutorial - Table of Content 

What is Pentaho BI?

Pentaho is a Business Intelligence tool that offers a wide range of data solutions to its customers. The main features of this tool are reporting, data integration, data mining, data analysis that account for the improvement of the business. A Pentaho suite enhances the overall performance of the business by generating informative reports in varied formats like text, XML, HTML, CSV, Excel, PDF, etc.

Why should you go for the Pentaho BI?

Pentaho Business Intelligence tool suite is a set of tools that offers several benefits to businesses at an affordable cost and fast speed in terms of data management. Compared to other BI tools like SAP, SAS BIA, and IBA, Pentaho BI offers exceptional technical support to the customers. It is highly scalable and offers large volume support to process data up to billion terabytes in size.

The scope of the Pentaho BI suite is vast supporting all kinds of data and data sources that furnish limitless visualization options. It supports an unlimited amount of data be it big data or existing data in the business IT. The tool works on several core engines that work independently and is administered by a dedicated community. It can be used across different platforms that process hybrid data (text, graphics, visuals GIFs, etc) like mobile apps, cloud apps. 

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Pentaho Features

Pentaho BI offers multiple features for the smooth workability of the business, such as:

  • High-end data analysis through well-defined ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) capabilities 
  • Expertise in products across varied domains
  • Comprehensive report designer taking care of business needs
  • Additional reports or sub-reports along with the main detailed report
  • High scope for newer additions and updates
  • 24*7 technical support by the Pentaho Community
  • Unmatched reporting and query handling capabilities
  • Amplified functionality and efficient systems
  • Short integration TAT
  • Exceptional data source accommodability with high runtime metadata support

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Now, in this Pentaho tutorial, we will learn about the Pentaho BI suite:

Pentaho BI Suite

The Pentaho BI suite is a three-tier system that has different layers for exclusive functioning. It comprises of following layers and components:

Tiers or layers:

  • Presentation Layer
  • Business Intelligence Platform
  • Data & Application Integration

Pentaho BI Components

Pentaho BI Suite includes the following components:

#1. Reporting

The Pentaho BI reporting tool can be used for generating reports both on-demand and as per the fixed schedule set by the user. The reporting tool, however, works in association with the JFreeReport Project. The reports published by this tool are available in different formats like TXT, XLS, HTML, PDF, etc. 

#2. Analysis

Another feature of this suite is an analysis of the extracted and transformed data which is now available in the form of reports. The analysis can be presented in multiple ways such as a Pivot table. The graphical user interface is well enhanced with projection tools like Flash, SVG, etc. Other features include Workflow integration, portals, and dashboard widgets that are integrated with the apps.

#3. Dashboard

The dashboard serves as the front face of the suite that offers well-reported content along with analysis and layout. The Pentaho suite also offers a self-service dashboard that has multiple layouts and templates to offer to its users. If the user is willing to get some training, personalized dashboards can also be made.

#4. Data Mining

Data Mining refers to extracting hidden patterns and future indicators from the available data that increases predictability of the future business and also accounts for forecasting. Data mining runs on the concept of machine learning which is backed by sophisticated algorithms that involve decision trees, networks, principal component analysis, and clustering of data.

This feature allows interaction with the data at the graphical and program level to enable future analysis.

#5. Pentaho Data Integration

Pentaho data integration is a tool that allows and enables data integration across all levels. This tool possesses an abundance of resources in terms of transformation libraries and mapping objects. This helps in data integration, Big data analytics, data integration, and Hadoop data management.

Pentaho BI Installation

In order to install Pentaho, the following are the requirements:

Hardware requirements:

Ram: 2Gb minimum

Hard drive: 1Gb minimum

Processor: Dual-core EM64T or AMd64

The hardware requirements of this suite are not fixed and are dependent upon the software requirements. If the bare minimum software requirements are met then hardware does not pose many issues.

Software requirements:

  • 32-bit or 64-bit environment
  • Sun JRE 5.0 pre-installed
  • An operating system like Mac, Windows, Linux Solaris
  • A workable browser interface like Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Chrome

How to start the BI Server?

  1. Click the start BI server icon on the Windows Startup panel
  2. Run the ‘Start-Pentaho’ script on /biserver-ce/directory on Linux
How to start the Administrator server?
  1. Click start BI enterprise server on the start-up panel in windows
  2. Go to Command window >> run start-up script in /biserver-ce/administration-console/directory on Linux
How to stop the Administrator server?
  1. Click ‘stop bi-server’ icon on the windows server
  2. Go to terminal >> installed directory >> run stop.bat

What is Pentaho Reporting Designer?

A Pentaho Reporting designer is a sophisticated reporting tool that works on the pixel level and ensures accurate reporting. The tool is backed by a profound graphical user interface and is open-source software. The reports generated by the Pentaho reporting designer are highly elaborate, relative, and analytical in nature that allows deep insight into the data and data source. A reporting designer is responsible for making the raw data useful and workable. It is highly compatible and works across almost all data sources.

Pentaho Administration Console

The Pentaho administration console consists of the following components:

1. Report Designer

A report designer is a report-building tool that allows for creating a data-driven report. The tool is highly flexible and scalable.

2. Design Studio

The design studio gives you the feel of working on an actual report by allowing the hand-edit of the report. This tool is supported by Eclipse and is a customization tool.

3. Aggregation Designer

The Mondrian cube efficiency is optimized with the help of this tool.

4. Metadata Editor

This tool enables the customization of the metadata layer into the system and data source.

5. Pentaho Data Integration

The ETL tool supported by the Pentaho BI suite allows Extract, Transforms, and Loads the data.

Related Article: Pentaho BI Interview Questions and Answers

Pentaho Advantages and Disadvantages 

Pentaho Advantages

  • Highly intuitive tool
  • Ease of use and high scalability
  • Allows reporting, data mining, data integration, dashboard working, etc.
  • User-friendly GUI
  • Ease data retrieval
  • The one-stop destination for ETL and reporting and analysis
  • 24*7*365 technical support

Pentaho Disadvantages

  • The components can be present in a segregated mode
  • Fragile unified interface
  • For a growing business, the components may feel limited


The Pentaho BI suite is an exclusive business intelligence package that offers a wide range of data manipulation options including the basic ETL. The scope of this suite is quite wide and is used by business analysts, software programmers, researchers, and students, etc. Even being a highly sophisticated and complex intelligence tool, the ease of use it provides to its users is highly appreciable.

Do you have any queries in this Pentaho Tutorial? Put your questions and thoughts in the comment session.      

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Last updated: 03 Apr 2023
About Author

Ravindra Savaram is a Technical Lead at Mindmajix.com. His passion lies in writing articles on the most popular IT platforms including Machine learning, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, RPA, Deep Learning, and so on. You can stay up to date on all these technologies by following him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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