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Battle Of BI Tools: AWS QuickSight Vs Power BI

AWSvsBI

BI is a highly contested market with plenty of choices available to go with. Be it Tableau, QlikView, SAS, IBM Cognos or Google’s Data Studio, among others, every tool offers improved functionality and feature.

In this article, we compare two popular tools that have captured BI market, Amazon’s AWS QuickSight and Microsoft’s Power BI, and see where it feels unique with a particular aspect.

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Amazon’s AWS QuickSight

A utility tool in Amazon Web Services (AWS), QuickSight is a BI service that helps create visualisations of data and design interactive dashboards for an insightful analysis. Powered by super-fast, parallel, in-memory calculation engine (SPICE), this tool can interact with various AWS sources, can connect to SQL databases and even SaaS applications like Salesforce and so on. With support for upto 10,000 users, QuickSight hinges on a ‘pay-per-session’ pricing for cost-effective user access.

Pros

  1. The SPICE Engine requires no prior setups which means it can be activated very easily. This also implies that every user can work simultaneously on the interactive analysis with different data sources in AWS. Altogether, QuickSight offers a faster environment due to this feature.
  2. Different data sources such as Apache Spark, Amazon Redshift, Amazon Aurora and so on, can be integrated into AWS with QuickSight. In addition to this, SQL servers are also compatible.
  3. Compared to other BI tools, QuickSight is cost-friendly since users are charged only for the basis of usage.
  4. QuickSight even has visualisation recommendations for the data presented. It’s feature ‘AutoGraph’, which is built using a certain set of algorithms eventually learns data and recommend the appropriate graphs.
  5. Overall, setting up QuickSight installation is less complicated and can be done in less than an hour.

Cons

  1. Currently, QuickSight is available on web browsers and as an iOS app. So, Android mobile users might face a setback if they need to work with QuickSight since its unavailable as of now. Support for Android is expected soon.
  2. Despite having better visualisations, this BI tool has limited options in choosing graphs/charts.
  3. Users have also reported functionality and security issues mainly due to limited support/ updates in QuickSight.
  4. QuickSight is relatively new. Hence it has to improve features to make an impact in the BI environment already dominated by Tableau & QlikView.
  5. QuickSight had also faced database reporting issues by many users.

Microsoft’s Power BI

Released in 2014, Power BI is a collection of analytics tools developed by Microsoft. Over the years, it is one of the top BI tools used by analysts. When it comes to visualisation, Power BI is resolute and has a wide plethora of options and customisation. What’s more, it can even load various customisations from other BI platforms. Also, integration with other Microsoft products is what makes it a favorite choice among users.

Power BI is available as downloadable software as well as in the form of SaaS applications and mobile apps.

Pros

  1. Power BI’s integration and compatibility with data sources are excellent. The interface presents databases in the form of a menu view where users can simply select their data source, connect to data and begin with analysis and reporting.
  2. Very good tech support in Power BI. Issues are resolved faster.
  3. A highlighting feature is the provision of APIs where developers can club Power BI dashboards to other products.
  4. In areas like finance, Power BI stands apart since it offers financial analytics tools, fraud protection and compliance monitoring tools. Therefore, Power BI is most secure.
  5. Power BI is inexpensive and faster compared to Tableau or QlikView.

Cons

  1. Setup/Installation of Power BI is quite a hassle. Except under Windows 10 environment, it requires a host of prerequisites (.NET Framework etc.).
  2. MySQL systems suffer setbacks and show inconsistencies.
  3. Power BI leans heavily on the Windows environment. So, other OS face issues when it comes to BI activities through this tool
  4. Difficult to deploy dashboards into production.
  5. Report sharing in Power BI is now paid and has a license. Prior to 2017, it was free.

AIM View:

Both AWS QuickSight and Power BI have become industry standard BI tools and have cornered a substantial market share. While Power BI is richer in features, AWS QuickSight is simple to use. As you can see, both have ups and downs. It is left to the user to make the best use of these tools and see which suits their requirement.

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Abhishek Sharma
I research and cover latest happenings in data science. My fervent interests are in latest technology and humor/comedy (an odd combination!). When I'm not busy reading on these subjects, you'll find me watching movies or playing badminton.

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