Big Data Analytics Visualization and Dashboards - A Guide

One of the least appreciated task (or should we call it an art) is our ability to explore and visualize our data. In this article, we look into state of art tools for Data Visualization and Dashboards.

Big Data Analytics Visualization and Dashboard - Open Source Tools

Data visualization and dashboard are one of the core deliverable of most of the big data analtytics projects. These dashboards and visualizations allow non-technical people to interact with data and use data-driven insights for business decision making.

Lot of Enterprise software companies sell fancy BI tools to fill the gap - e.g., tableau, microstrategy and so on. Though these tools are expensive, lot of comapnies pay for them for value-addition.

Luckily over time, lot of new open source tools have arrived. Core features of these tools include:

  • Ability to query the data from a variety of data sources using sql or similar query
  • Ability to dynamically create data visualizations
  • Ability to create dashboards
  • Authentication and Access Control mechanisms to control who can access what

Here is quick guide on some of the useful tools in this domain. Tools in this domain can be divided into 2 broad categories:

  • Metabase - Supports large number of databases as backend
  • Redash - Supports large number of databases as backend
  • SuperSet - Supports large number of databases as backend
  • Kibana - only for Elasticsearch


Metabase is very decent graphical tool to explore and visualize your data. It supports Amazon redshift, Google Bigquery, MongoDB, Druid, Postgres, Mysql, SQL Server, Vertica etc as backend.

For authentication / authorization, it supports single sign on from Google.


Redash is a tool to allow easy and fast access to billion of data records. It was originally built to visualize and explore data on Amazon redshift. Currently it supports variety of data sources - including Google BigQuery, Postgres, MySql, Graphite, Presto, Hive etc.

It has support for 1) Creating Dashboard / Visualizations with charts, pivot tables and cohorts, 2) Sql based query editor for on-the-fly visualization.

It supports Google Login based authentication flow.


SuperSet is another neat visualization tool originally created at AirBnB. It was initially created on top of druid database, but since then it has expanded its scope and now supports most common databases including Postgres, Mysql, redshift etc.

It also supports an advanced authentication and access control mechanism to define intricate rules on who can access what data.

Big Data Analytics Visualization and Dashboard - Build your OWN

Many companies find both commercial and open source solutions a bit restrictive and try to build their own dashboard and visualization tool. This is especially true for software comapnies who already have in-house skilled people to develop frontend and backend for this.

Some of these custom solutions are based on:

  1. D3.js
  2. Plotly.js