Another cool Data Visualization example

8. July 2014 12:08 by Eric in Analytics, General  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Hi all,

Just quickly sharing this cool Data Visualization example here -> Hacker live attacks visualization http://map.ipviking.com and hope everybody would enjoy it!




All Best,
Eric

A quick Intro about the Microsoft Power BI & product comparison among Power BI, QlikView & Tableau

3. July 2014 13:49 by Eric in Analytics, PowerQuery, QlikView, SharePoint, SQL Server, Tableau  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Hi all,

Have been tasked to put together a quick write-up with respect to the Microsoft Power BI in comparison to QlikView & Tableau for a potential larger BI solution piece for a well-respected client.

Just sharing my research with everyone here and more than welcome for any feedback from all of you:

An brief overview of Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is a collection of different Excel add-ins, SQL Server services features, SharePoint and/or the Office 365 Cloud. Although desktop Power Pivot add-ins can be easily installed in Excel 2010 and is already embedded along with Power View in Excel 2013, Microsoft BI on-premise server set ups are complicated, one week or longer installations and configurations of SharePoint, SQL Server and Reporting Services that also require Active Directory accounts and Kerberos for authentication.

(Note: Power View is both embedded in Excel 2013 but also as a stand-alone version via Reporting Services Power View reports hosted in SharePoint. Each version has a different mix of capabilities.

Great ETL & Data Cleansing/Validation Components

Microsoft Power Query is quite nice and has both basic and advanced self-service ETL capabilities including pivot/un-pivot, joining, filtering, de-duplicating, grouping, splitting, and transforms.

More advanced functionality can be achieved via Power Query M scripting. Although Power Query is in preview and a v 1.0 offering, it gets monthly enhancements and already has proven to be a great tool for personal data collection and shaping.

Not fully compatible for Tablet/Mobile devices yet

Microsoft Power View was designed in Silverlight. The Office 365 Power BI Cloud version of Power View has an HTML5 option in preview for some of the chart types. On-premise Microsoft BI Power View is only Silverlight today and not fully mobile device friendly.


Data Visualization not as appealing as Tableau

Microsoft Power View has basic bar charts, line charts, pie charts, a scatter chart and non-customizable Bing Maps that can show pie charts or circles – no thematic mapping or overlays.

Power View is lacking combination charts, dual axis charts and many other common chart types. Power View does not allow granular control of visualizations, axes, colors, labels, annotations, drill actions, conditional formatting or visualization display logic, visual banding, statistical reference lines or custom marks.

There is not an API for automatically building Power View visualizations. Only Power View scatter charts in can play over time periods. Power View does not support easily viewing underlying details or exporting the view data. You can do some simple drill drowns. There is no comparable export of Power View detail data shown on a view. To see the raw underlying detail data, you need go back to the back-end Power Pivot model.

Power View does not have features for changing data color variations, KPI icons are only circles, no chart object sizing, contouring and no customization of tool tips. Power View does have text sizing and limited chart labeling options.

Product Comparison

Here are just some insights based upon the BI/Analytics communities practice and be categorized into the following aspects: Business Criteria, Data Visualization Criteria and Technical Criteria.

As mentioned before, it’s just another product comparison based upon people personal view over those products according to their own preferences and practices experience.

 

Business Criteria

Tableau

QlikView

Microsoft / Power BI - SQL Server 2014/SharePoint 2013

Comment

Time to implement

Fast

Longer

Longer

 

Scalability

Good

RAM Limited

Excellent

Tableau: virtual RAM

Enterprise Ready

Good for small organizations who can use the cloud option.

Good for medium businesses

Good for SMB

Qlikview is more mature but Microsoft has a much clearer vision than previously. Tableau is demonstrably used in many large organizations, as their customer list shows.

Long-term viability

Fastest growth

Public company

Dependable

Excel is widely used in the organization so no adoption is required

Getting free online help?

Tableau forums

Qlikview LinkedIn group

Microsoft online communities

Tableau and Microsoft provide great free online help. Qlikview has its own forum which you sign up for. Tableau has the best free training videos I've ever seen.

Getting paid training

Yes

Yes

Yes

The costs vary depending on the courses.

Big Data Support

Above Average

Average

yes, ODBC connectivity to HDInsight

It is on all of their roadmaps. Tableau offers a bewildering number of ways to connect to lots of data sources. However, they don't connect to PDW very well so Microsoft wins for PDW support. It isn't clear if QlikView support PDW or not.

Partner Network

Tableau: 1000+ partners

Qlikview: 1000+ partners

A lot more partners

 

 

Visualization Criteria

Tableau

Qlikview

Microsoft / Power BI - SQL Server 2014/SharePoint 2013

Comment

Eye Candy' Appear

Yes

medium

Medium

Tableau blows users away with its beautiful data visualization.

Data Interactivity

Excellent

Excellent

Excellent

Tableau's interactivity has improved a lot and hits the mark for a lot of requirements. The scripting requirement in QlikView makes me a bit wary for users. Microsoft's various reporting tools need to be aligned more.

Visual Drilldown

Excellent

Excellent

Very Good

Power BI Excel has a neat drill down feature.

Offline Viewer

Free Tableau Reader

Personal Edition

Excel spreadsheets downloaded

Tableau and Power BI offer Excel downloads for offline viewing.

Analyst's Desktop

Tableau Pro

Qlikview Desktop

Excel

Excel is familiar within the organization.

Dashboard Support

Good

Excellent

Excellent

Dashboarding methodologies can be implemented in QlikView and Tableau. Tableau has basic default KPIs but these can be manufactured easily enough. QlikView seem to be popular with finance departments and seem to talk well with them.

Web Client

Very Good

Very Good

Very Good

No real distinguishing factor here. Microsoft has Excel services and we know that business users love Excel!

Mobile Clients

Excellent

Excellent

Good

Tableau and Qlikview have an edge on Microsoft for now, but the release of PowerBI for O365 is visibly getting traction and interest in the Preview.

Visual Controls

Very Good

Very Good

Very Good

 

 

Technical Criteria

Tableau

Qlikview

Microsoft / Power BI - SQL Server 2014/SharePoint 2013

Comment

Data Integration

Excellent

Very Good

Very Good

Tableau integrates easily with Google Analytics for further analysis, but this is not required at the early stages of a BI strategy. You can get extra connectors for QlikView from DataRoket

Development

Tableau Pro

Qlikview Developer

SQL Server Business Intelligence or Excel skills

QlikView has scripting, which the organization will need to learn. This may incur training costs. If the organization already has strong SQL Server BI Developer skills in-house, and would not require further training.

64-bit in-RAM DB

Good

Excellent

Excellent

SQL Server 'talks' to other systems and will output data easily to QlikView and other formats. This is not reciprocated i.e. once the data is in QlikView, it stays in QlikView.

Mapping support

Excellent

Average

Excellent

Tableau has Mapping. Excel 2013 has 3D Power Map as a feature within it, and this is interesting for further, future analyses.

Local data files (text, spreadsheet etc.)

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Relational databases (SQLServer, Oracle etc.)

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

OLAP cubes (SSAS, Essbase etc.)

Yes

No

Yes

 As for SQL Server 2014 & 2012 SP1 CPU4 onward, the PowerView can directly connect to both tabular and multi-dimensional BI Semantic Model and before SQL Server 2012 SP1 CPU4, the PowerView could only connect to tabular semantic models.

Online data sources

Yes

Yes

Yes

Microsoft's new Power Query allows you to search online and scrape datasets straight into Excel.

Multi-source access

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Multi-table access

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Extracted data storage

Optional (proprietary)

Proprietary

Data remains where it is.

 

Maximum capacity

Unlimited

Billions of rows

   

In-memory engine

Desktop or Server

Desktop or Server

 

Tableau reads SSAS and PowerPivot Cubes, but not very well. Tableau and QlikView want to suck the data into their own data models; Microsoft keeps the data where it is, where it is easily accessible by Microsoft and other vendors.

Modeling, Analytics

Below Average

Below Average

Data mining and other capabilities

Microsoft is the winner here for providing a range of modelling and analytics tools such as Tabular model, SSAS. Again, the organisation has experience in these tools so you are leveraging in-house skill sets.

Data Mining

Limited

Limited

Yes

By 'Data Mining', I mean true data mining e.g. building neural nets with thought put into it about avoiding jitter, bootstrapping and so on. This is not 'what if' scenarios but data science.

Multidimensional

Very Good

Limited

Excellent

Microsoft is the winner for multidimensional modelling

xVelocity Support

Good

None

Excellent

Microsoft is a pioneer in xVelocity support

PowerPivot Support

Good

None

Excellent

Microsoft is a pioneer in xVelocity support

API

Excellent

Excellent

Excellent

Microsoft open their software up and have APIs available

 

Hope you would find it useful & any feedbacks are highly welcomed here!

 

All Best,

Eric

SharePoint 2010 Best Practices

10. July 2012 10:17 by Eric in SharePoint  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

As a SharePoint consultant, chances are that the clients will always ask for the latest “SharePoint Best Practices” for business users and technical perspectives while I’m consulting on-site with them.

While I’m continuously evolving my own version of “SharePoint Best Practices” pack, I find that “SharePoint 2010 Best practice” from “Microsoft TechNet Wiki” can be extremely handy and resourceful. (http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/8666.sharepoint-2010-best-practices-en-us.aspx)

The wiki is a growing article and I’ve subscribed to it so that I can stay in touch. There are already some excellent resources and I’ve learnt of several new sources that I’m going to follow up.

The Wiki has the following Table of Contents:

I bet that most SharePoint consultants will enjoy this as much as I do.

If you are interested in the interactive Mindjet version, alternatively you can download the SWF version of the file here: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/20530832/SharePoint%202010%20Best%20Practices.swf

SharePoint Governance Resource Centre

2. May 2012 11:39 by Eric in SharePoint  //  Tags:   //   Comments (1)

As a SharePoint consultant, every once while the client we consult with will ask for a SharePoint Governance Plan documentation in order to control how an organization's Business divisions and IT teams cooperate to achieve business goals by leveraging the SharePoint platform.

This is an informative resource centre I normally reference to while documenting the governance plan -> http://www.letscollaborate.co.za/Resource-Centre/SitePages/SharePointGovernance.aspx

I'm more than happy to hear from you if you came across other white papers and documentations for your past and current SharePoint projects ;)

How to install latest Mac OS X Lion Virtual Machine on Windows Server 2008/Windows 7

23. February 2012 16:40 by Eric in iOS  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)

The client I'm currently consulting with would like to revamp a current BI Dashboard prototype into a iPhone/iPad native application rather than a mobile web app. Therefore, I have to get my hands dirty in this case to dive into the IOS development to move across the dark side.

Basically, these days Apple already began to use Intel as processors for CPU providers, so in other words, it's surely compatible to install Mac OS X operating system on the top of on top of the Intel PC.

After spending a bit time to poke around the "Hackintosh" community and overcome a few quirks along the way, I have successfully set up my "first Mac Lion OS X" on my workstations (Windows 7 Ultimate) and work laptop (Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise). So I take this 'special' opportunity to share this 20 mins installation guide in order to get you with a Mac OS X Lion VM in no time ;).

Step 1. Pre-requisites and tools you need to have:

  1. Minimum 4 GB RAM
  2. Minimum 2 CPU Processors (4 processors are more preferable)
  3. Minimum 40 GB Hard-drive space (requires 5G more space for xCode if doing development)
  4. A retail copy of Mac OS X Lion operating system (my version 10.7.3 - http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/os-x-lion/id444303913?mt=12&ls=1, costed $31.99 ) , made into a vmdk file for VMware
  5. Get the latest VMware workstation (http://www.vmware.com/a/buylink/9), really doesn't matter whether it's a free trial or a proper licence.
  6. Mac OS X VMware unlocker program (http://www.fileserve.com/file/eXrZRDT/Mac )

Once you have got hold of all those items mentioned the above, let's kick off this OS X adventure.

Step 2. Set up the VM machine

VMware workstation installation should be fairly straightforward, after a few clicks, you get yourself a nice shinning VM environment set up shortly.

The only quirk worth mentioning here is that if you do have a Hyper-V module installed on the PC before-hand (in my case, Hyper-V used to be my preference to virtualize the development environment), you have to manually remove and restart the machine, in order to get the VMware workstation set up on your PC.

Step 3. VMware Unlocker - Mac OS Guest

Extract the downloaded MAC OS VMware Unlocker program, then quickly navigate to the folder named with " \Mac OS X Lion VMware Files\VMware Unlocker – Mac OS X Guest" .

After that, execute "windows.bat" command under "Administrator" privilege to unlock the Mac OS X Client.

Once it's successfully executed (make sure that you use "run as administrator" for the Command Prompt), we are about to install the OS X image only figures away.

Step 4. Install OS X Lion VM image

Quickly navigate back to the extracted unlock program folder "Extracted Folder Paht"\Mac OS X Lion VMware Files\Mac OS X Lion\ to find the VM image file "Mac OS X Lion.vmx", then simply execute the file by double clicking on it.

It should quickly bring up the VMware workstation program, and preload the image with the basic setting in the VM configuration screen:

Based upon the screen-shot the above, it's ideal to allocate more than 2 processors, 4 GB RAM along with 40GB hard drive space for it, in order to get the decent performance out of the OS X Lion. Feel free to let me know if you have other hardware spec configuration for it to produce the decent performance ;)

Right now, we are good to go for loading the pre-purchased Lion OS X DVD vdmk format file into the VM.

Quickly select the VM, right click, and select the "Settings..." option to navigate to the "Virtual Machine Settings" screen. Under "Hardware" tab, select "Add..." to add into a new "Hard Disk".

Quickly navigate to the pre-vmdk installer, then select the "Mac OS X Lion.vmdk" with all options left as default, to press "Finish" to complete the process.



Step 5. Power on the VM to explore the Mac OS X Lion

After you power on the VM, you will awesomely start your Mac OS X Lion from that moment onwards.

The whole installation process will take you about 2 mins, which is really quick and standard, nothing standing out as long as you have your Apple ID in your hand.

Hooray, after a few clicks and ticks, you just got yourself a shinning Mac OS X Lion Operating System up running on top of your windows PC without massive labourish work and un-rational quirks.

Step 6. Install xCode and set up the Development Environment

It's just another extremely easy quick way to set up the development environment by installing the latest xCode app from the App-Store. Once it's all installed, basically all you need to do is to double-click the app code, then you could start your iOS development journey in no time.

Summary

As said before, as long as you have all those items listed within "Pre-requisites", following up the nifty instructions mentioned the above, you should set yourself up with a Mac OS X Lion in 30 mins or so in total.

Enjoy it and leave any feedbacks/comments below, so that I could reply to it shortly ;)

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