Part 4: Using the Report Design Wizard

September 17, 2010

Ahhhh the Wizard. As defined by Wikipedia (you know, if it is on Wikipedia, it must be true) … “A magician, sorcerer, witch, or person known under one of many terms who practices magic derived from supernatural sources.” Well then, why software developers name the “easy to use” part of the product a “Wizard” I just have no idea. Just call it the “Assistant” or the “Guide me thingamajig” – just don’t call it a Wizard unless it is going to read my mind and magically create my report for me!

I digress….in Part 4 of this series we will cover the use of the Pentaho Report Designer and the integrated Report Design…ahem..[coughs] Wizard. The 10 min video below will show you how easy it is to get started creating and publishing Operational and Enterprise type reports. This video only scratches the surface of what is possible with the Pentaho Report Designer, for a more in-depth look visit the Pentaho Pre-Sales Tools page where there is a Comprehensive Report Designer Tutorial that will demonstrate the other features and functions available in this design tool. Stay tuned to this blog for Part 5 where I magically chase down a Leprechaun and force him to conjure me up some Dashboards. Until then.

Click here to view all the tutorials in this series.

Michael Tarallo
Pre-Sales Director
Pentaho


Top 3 questions asked to Pentaho Pre-Sales

August 16, 2010

Can you…? How does…? Where do…? What is…?

Sound familiar?

Pre-Sales Engineers are the stage performers of the IT world; immensely capable, adaptable, confident, excellent communicators who are  equally cool in front of large crowds and intimate groups.   If you are in a Pre-Sales role, you have the absolute pleasure of showcasing what your product / service / solution can offer to help prospects make an informed decision.  Pentaho Pre-Sales Engineers, have numerous discussions everyday with qualified prospects that want to evaluate Pentaho and prove that the software can satisfy their goals.  Most prospects are looking for a solution that will help them reduce costs, increase profits and make their businesses function efficiently. Part of my job is to identify a “fit” for these objectives and recommend an approach to take when evaluating. During these discussions I am asked many questions that have definitive answers and some questions that have more than one answer. I thought it would be helpful to share the 3 most common questions asked to my team and I and our responses.

Question 1: What is the most common reason an evaluation or implementation will not be successful?

That answer is quite simple. So simple in fact I wrote a blog entry about it in March 2009. You can view it here. However I will summarize it for you in one word.

Answer: People

People involved in the evaluation process of anything, are the lead cause for its success or failure. There are those who are self sufficient, “read” the provided materials, have the knowledge and expertise to get the job done with little assistance….then there are those that expect everything to be done for them. I elaborate more about this in the fore mentioned blog entry. However, for those who need a lot of hand holding, please be prepared to present clearly identified evaluation criteria to those you will be working with.

Question 2: What skill sets are required to use the Pentaho software?

Answer: I will first state that having Java Engineering skills are not necessary. You do not have to be a Java developer to use Pentaho. This stigma can attach itself to not just Pentaho, but to other “Java” developed platforms. Someone sees the word “Java” somewhere in the Wiki or on the Web and they automatically assume they need to know Java. This is not true. Pentaho is built on modern open standards that are written in Java. All this should mean to you, is that Pentaho provides a cost effective alternative that can run almost anywhere that supports Java.

Primarily, Pentaho training is the #1 skill set needed to really exploit all of the power that the software provides from the GUI design suite. Just like learning anything new, you should attempt to pick up the manual. I certainly wouldn’t start driving a car without learning how to operate it first. Other skills that can help are a general understanding of BI technologies and terminology. Relating to terms such as KPI (Key Performance Indicator), RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) metrics, dimensions, operational reporting, analyitcs, dashboards, and even a little acronym known as ETL (Extract Transform and Load). Furthermore, if you want to dive deeper and start embedding, integrating and enhancing the applications…having a Java background or even a simple web development skill set is always a plus.

Question 3: How scalable / performant is your solution?

Answer: I love this one. What answer do you think I am going to give? – Simply stated, your mileage is going to vary and greatly depends on what products you are using. Are you using the software for data integration or content delivery or perhaps both? I don’t care if you have the beefiest machine on the block or are paying for the largest cloud, your scalability and performance are going to be dependent on numerous factors. Prospects are usually looking for exact sizing statistics. They want to have some predetermined knowledge of application performance as well as what hardware and software infrastructure they may need to provision. Fortunately, Pentaho has produced the Pentaho Linear Scalability White Paper for the BI platform, and an independent consultancy has created the PDI Scaleout White Paper for Pentaho Data Integration. These documents can give additional insight in setting those expectations. Pentaho Services can also conduct capacity planning sessions with prospects to give an estimate of what can be expected. In addition to the white papers please note that there are a number of real-world scalability customer success stories you can read about on our website.

Thanks for your time, I look forward to answering your questions in person.

Michael Tarallo
Pre-Sales Director
Pentaho


Part 3: Easily prototyping your data

July 29, 2010


Prototyping as defined in information systems is:

The process of building an example or model of the actual proposed system. It is an iterative process that is part of the analysis phase of the development life cycle.

In Part 3 of this tutorial series I will show you how you can easily “prototype” your data within the Pentaho User Console by using the Dashboard Designer and its Data Access component. Part 3 picks up after we have configured our server side Pentaho Data Connections to connect to Oracle and MS SQL Server. In this tutorial I will also cover the Pentaho BI Server start up procedures on both the Linux and Windows operating systems.

You are able to download the video or view it in high quality directly from this blog. Click ‘share’ in the video window to see the available options.

Mike Tarallo
Pre-Sales Director
Pentaho


Part 2: Configuring Server Side Data Connections – even easier!

July 23, 2010

Welcome to Part 2 of the Pentaho Video Tutorial Series. In Part 1, we covered the installation of the Pentaho BI Suite on an Ubuntu Linux O/S using the Pentaho BI Suite Installer. Many have already experienced how easy it was to download and install, thanks for your comments. (You can obtain the installer from the Pentaho KB or from http://www.pentaho.com/download/.)

In this part we will cover configuring Pentaho server side data connections that can access your traditional RDBMS data sources. In this example I demonstrate adding connections to Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server 2008. It is important to note that the Pentaho design tools, such as Report Designer, Schema Workbench, Data Integration and the Metadata Editor can publish content using these server side data source connections that have been configured. (We will cover this in Part 3 of the series) To prepare for this configuration, please have the appropriate vendor specific JDBC Type 4 driver available for the data source you want to connect to. You can obtain them from the database vendor’s web site, your DBA, or perhaps the installation location of the RDBMS.

You can view the video inline in this blog, or download the higher quality .wmv (Windows Media Video) to your workstation for local viewing.

To see all related Tutorials in this series posted by me, click on my pic on the bottom right under Authors.

Mike Tarallo
Pre-Sales Director
Pentaho Corporation

Para ver esta entrada en español chasque aquí here
Pour regarder cette entrée en français cliquez sur ici
Um diese Eintragung auf deutsch anzusehen klicken Sie hier


Part 1: Installing Pentaho Enterprise Edition – yep, it’s that easy

July 21, 2010

That’s right, I said it. It’s that easy. Hello everyone, I am Michael Tarallo, Pentaho Pre-Sales Director.  It is an absolute pleasure to be blogging in the Swamp with the rest of the Pentaho crew.  Originally I started creating a series of Pentaho related tutorial type videos published exclusively on my blog michaeltarallo.blogspot.com. However, I have also been invited to the Swamp to share my BI technical musings and knowledge with y’all. (no really, I am originally from the North East, I don’t ever say y’all) –  I thought this would be a great way to share this series and create an awareness of how easy it is to get started using and evaluating the Pentaho software.

This is part 1 of an N part series (there is so much to showcase I don’t have a definitive number) that will showcase the power, flexibility and extensibility of the Pentaho BI Suite. My goal is to help you evaluate the Pentaho BI Suite easily and quickly as well as show you tips and techniques that make Pentaho the right choice for current and future needs.  In this 15 min video (available in my blog or as a download here)  you will watch me go through the process, of downloading, installing and testing the Pentaho BI Suite Enterprise Edition on an Ubuntu Linux operating system. From start to finish, you will see it truly is just that easy. The next entry will focus on configuring data sources to be used for content creation. Enjoy and I hope to speak with you in person!

To see all related Tutorials in this series posted by me, click on my pic on the bottom right under Authors.

Mike Tarallo
Pre-Sales Director
Pentaho Corporation

Para ver esta entrada en español chasque aquí here (Google Translation)
Pour regarder cette entrée en français cliquez sur ici (Google Translation)
Um diese Eintragung auf deutsch anzusehen klicken Sie hier (Google Translation)

You can download the high quality .wmv (Windows Media) here


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