Tableau goes hyper speedy in new release

Viz Tooltips set up in Tableau 10.5 (c) Tableau.com
Viz Tooltips set up in Tableau 10.5
Francois Ajenstat, Chief Product Officer at Tableau (Image credit Linkedin)
Francois Ajenstat, Chief Product Officer at Tableau

Tableau has announced the general availability of Tableau 10.5. This latest release sees the roll out of Hyper, its new data engine technology. It also sees the introduction of a new visualization tool: Viz Tooltip and Tableau server for Linux as well as other enhancements.

Francois Ajenstat, Chief Product Officer at Tableau commented: “With Hyper data engine technology powering the entire Tableau platform, customers will take their analytics performance to the next level. Hyper’s state of the art in-memory technology makes fast, easy visual analytics a reality for all customers.

Hyper driving faster analytics

The new in-memory data engine was designed by Tableau to increase the speed of their data analysis. It will decrease the time taken to both ingest the data and to carry out query processing. The data sets that Hyper can cope with are also larger. Tableau claims that it increases query speed by up to 5x, dicing large data sets in seconds and creating extracts up to 3x faster than the previous version.

If Hyper sounds familiar but looks slightly different that is because this technology is based on the acquisition of HyPer that Tableau made in March 2016. There is no mention in the latest press release that k-means clustering is yet available. Though the patent pending in-memory systems sets the bar for others.

Version 10.5 was already available in beta to some customers. With seven months of testing this has become a major and anticipated release by Tableau. Early feedback has been positive. Rory Abbazio, Director, IT Data Analytics at National Grid enthused: “From our beta testing thus far, it’s clear that on complex data sets, Hyper can take our data-driven decision making to the next level. To that end, Hyper has the potential to be a strategic game changer for us. In addition to substantially improving the performance of our visualizations we see an opportunity to reduce infrastructure costs by leveraging the Tableau Data Engine exclusively.”

The upgrade path is simple with no data migration needed. Though to take advantage of Hyper, data will no doubt need to be ingested.

Viz in Tooltip

Tableau has also enhanced the information contained within a tooltip. This is the window that is displayed when hovering over a hotspot or image. This allows access to more data from a single screen without having to click and drill down into different components. The data is displayed as the user moves their cursor across the display.

While Tableau claim they are the first to introduce this feature without a single line of code there are others that offer similar solutions. Microsoft enables the customization of Tooltips in Power BI Desktop, again without code. Logi Analytics has similar though less eloquent method.

What differentiates the Viz in Tooltips is that the Viz element can be itself a graphical representation of the detailed data. Users will need to define them, including the size, so that each Viz appearing will not take up too much of the screen. There is more information about Viz in Tooltips here.

This is a clever enhancement and is another example of where Tableau visualizations reduce the time taken by users to identify insights. Andy Kriebel, Head Coach at The Information Lab Data School elaborates: “Viz in Tooltips is a gamer changer for on-the-fly analytics. Instead of having to switch between views, the insights will be just a hover away. Bringing the insights into the flow of analysis will make decision making even faster!”

Other enhancements

For companies who are using Linux, Tableau has introduced Tableau Server on Linux.  The cost for a Linux server is the same as for Windows. For companies looking to leverage public cloud this will be useful. It could see a rise of public cloud deployments. Senior Consultant at Teknion Data Solutions, Bridget Cogley, commented: “I’m excited about the availability of Tableau Server on Linux for a couple of reasons.  First, you’re lowering the overall cost of ownership. Second, it creates openings for a developer population that often seeks greater control and security and truly makes Tableau Server platform agnostic.”

Tableau Server already includes support for CentOS, Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Oracle Linux distributions. There is also support for us authentification through LDAP, Active Directory, or local authentication. This reduces the administration overhead for IT Administrators looking to deploy the solution.

Other enhancements include support for nested projects. This allows users to define permissions across a department and reduce the admin overheads when new projects are initiated. Permissions are customizable at each project level if required as well.

Expanded governance and content control

Tableau 10.5 also includes nested projects, giving customers more fine-tuned control over content organization and permissions. This makes it easier to organize workbooks, so everyone in an organization can find what they are looking for. Folder permissions can also be customized at each project level, or with a top down permissioning structure.  Other features include  drag-in-drop power trend lines and a new Box connector.

Tableau Mobile has also gained some new features. It is now possible to annotate comments and draw on a Viz and then share it using the sharing menu. There is also support for viewing tooltips by long pressing and dragging across marks.

What does this mean

The introduction of the Hyper in-memory data engine is a major step forward for Tableau. It sees a major update in the speed of its analysis engine at a time when companies are drawing even bigger data sets. What is equally pleasing for users is that the user experience has also improved with the Viz for Tooltips. How fiddly these are to set up on analysis dashboards will be found out in due course. However, it is an interesting and promising development from the market leader as it looks to maintain its position. More details on the new features can be found here

Tableau 10.5 certainly seems to deliver on its promised. Abbazio seems to expect that Tableau 10.5 will answer his main challenge. He added “In our business, fast paced questions need even faster answers. “

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