What’s new in Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition 3.8

March 16, 2011

It’s release time once again and I’m pleased to announce that Pentaho BI Suite 3.8 is available for download! This release is packed with new features empowering you to add more interactivity to your Pentaho-based solutions and improve performance and efficiency when working with larger and larger data volumes. In today’s blog, I’ll highlight just a few of these exciting new enhancements:

Guided Analysis
Building upon the hyperlink feature introduced in Pentaho Reporting with our 3.7 BI suite release, Analyzer Reports and Action Sequences now also provide the ability to create contextual hyperlinks to other pieces of Pentaho content or external URLs. You now have complete flexibility to provide information consumers with guided paths to additional detail or related content found in another report.  For example, with a couple of clicks you could create a summary level Analyzer Report for users to explore and analyze product sales, then enable hyperlinks on product names which link out to a detailed inventory report to ensure there are enough units on hand for your top selling products.

Dashboard Content Linking
Pentaho Dashboard Designer also receives a dose of interactivity with a feature we call content linking.  Content linking allows you enable one dashboard element drive the filtering of another element of the dashboard.  This feature is integrated with nearly all dashboard components including filter controls, dashboard charts, data tables and any items embedded in a dashboard widget such as a Pentaho report or Analyzer view.  This can be used for a variety of use cases including the creation of chained parameters, where selections in one filter control are used to drive the available selections in another filter control, or allowing dashboard consumers to click on the slice of a pie or a bar in a bar chart and have that drive the filtering of other widgets on the dashboard.  Be sure to check out the new dashboard samples, Product Sales Performance and Product Performance Dashboard, which illustrate the content linking feature along with the new, expanded set of filter controls including radio groups, check boxes, calendar pickers, button controls and more.

Data-less Design Mode for Analyzer Reports
Since its introduction just over a year ago, Pentaho Analyzer’s elegant combination of power and simplicity has driven exponential growth in use of Pentaho Analysis.  This includes deployments to larger user communities and the development of bigger, more sophisticated Mondrian cubes. Based on feedback from Pentaho customers, we’ve introduced the notion of a data-less report design mode, referred to as ‘auto-refresh’ in the user interface.  This allows users to design or modify the layout of an Analyzer report without querying the underlying RDBMs until the designer is ready to query.  This can help reduce database traffic for deployments to large user communities or reduce the design time for reports that depend on large queries.  Try it out by clicking on the Disable Auto-refresh button on the Analyzer toolbar, designing your query using the Field Layout panel, then clicking the Refresh Report button to issue the query.

Simplified Hadoop MapReduce Job Design
Also included in the 3.8 suite release is Pentaho Data Integration 4.1.2.  While this is primarily a patch release containing important product fixes and performance improvements, we’ve also added a few new features that simplify the design of transformations used to compose MapReduce jobs for Hadoop.  This includes dedicated steps for MapReduce Inputs and Outputs allowing you to simply choose which fields to use as your OutKey and OutValues, rather than having to explicitly filter and rename fields in the stream down to the key-value pair fields you pass back to Hadoop.  Finally, the Transformation Job Executor step now provides the ability to specify a transformation for use as a Combiner, thereby enabling you to optimize the performance of your PDI-based MapReduce jobs.

We hope you enjoy this exciting new release, get started today by downloading your copy at http://www.pentaho.com/download/.

Jake Cornelius
Vice President of Product Management
Pentaho Corporation


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