FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT MAKES SISENSE UNIQUE?
Until today, companies had two options for data analytics: complex and pricey BI tools that can handle big and complex data, or lower cost tools that are simpler but do not scale well. Sisense has developed a revolutionary product that includes everything you need to get insights from multiple, large data sets at a fraction of the cost of traditional business intelligence tools. All this is made possible by our award-winning technology that eliminates the technical hurdles, runs on standard hardware, and let’s business users go from scattered data to beautiful dashboards with minimum IT.
WHAT IS BIG DATA AND HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE IT?
Big Data is often defined as “a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools.” Practically speaking, many analytics and business intelligence tools slow down and choke when handling many tables and a few tens of millions of records. If you have these volumes today, or expect your data to grow in the future, you need BI software with big data analytics tools that can handle big data.
WE HAVE LOTS OF DATA- CAN YOU HANDLE IT?
Bring it on! Sisense technology utilizes parallel processing, compression, and an in-memory columnar database for ultra fast performance. While most BI tools in our price range can’t even load big data, Sisense crunches it with ease. Sounds too good to be true? Put us to the test using your own data with our Free Trial. You’ll see why Sisense is the future of Big Data Analytics.
IS SISENSE JUST FOR BIG COMPANIES?
Our mission is to level the data analytics playing field. We believe that any company should be able to gain insights from any size of data. That’s why Sisense is designed to be small company-friendly as well with: affordable pricing, no need for technical support staff, and no need for pricey hardware. We are proud to have many smaller and non-profit customers such as small startups, boutique marketing agencies, and local government agencies.
IS SISENSE AN ON-PREMISES OR CLOUD SOLUTION?
Both options are available. You can start with either option, and you can change you mind down the road and switch from one to the other.
DO YOU ALSO OFFER SUBSCRIPTION PRICING FOR ON-PREMISE?
Absolutely! We believe you should not pay for software you do not use. With subscription pricing, you are never stuck with unused licenses. And we need to earn your business again every year.
HOW CAN SOMETHING SO POWERFUL COST SO LITTLE?
Short answer: we run a tight ship! Unlike traditional enterprise software companies that spend money on expensive field sales and expensive consultants, we have a more modern process where everything is done over the phone, web, and email. That’s how we keep our (and your) costs low. Plus, other BI tools require a significant amount of integration services that drive your costs up. Because Sisense is designed for non-technical people, these costs are insignificant.
WHAT KIND OF HARDWARE DO I NEED?
Sisense was designed to work on ordinary, off-the-shelf hardware. Even when you have many users analyzing large data sets, the hardware you already have will probably be sufficient to get you going.
WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DO YOU PROVIDE?
We have FREE weekly online training sessions. Basic training is two hours and advanced training takes another two hours. That’s usually all you need. We also provide online documentation, and are happy to provide additional training if needed.
WHAT’s THE ADVANTAGE OF SISENSE OVER JUST VISUALIZATION SOFTWARE?
Most data visualization and business intelligence tools allow you to visually explore data sets. They work well if you have a few data sources (1-2 tables) and small data sets (a few millions of records). If your data grows quickly, or you expect to add more data sets, you will need to develop a “data warehouse” that will aggregate and reduce your data to sizes that the visualization software can cope with. This is a costly exercise, and you’ll be losing granularity. With Sisense fully functioning solution, you do not need to worry about any of this: Sisense includes our own visualization software and server, both designed to support hundreds of tables and billions of records.
WHAT’S THE ADVANTAGE OF SISENSE OVER IN-MEMORY SOFTWARE?
With previous generation in-memory BI software the amount of data that you can analyze is limited by the number of RAM Gigabytes of your computer. But what if your data outgrows your computer’s memory? You either get “out-of-memory” errors, or you end up needing to do “data acrobatics” such as splitting you data into multiple silos or building a data warehouse. Sisense’s revolutionary ElastiCube In-Memory technology gives you all the benefits of in-memory without its limitations. It quickly expands the data to the hard-drive, so it is only limited by the amount on the drive. Read more about the difference here.
BUT ISN’T SWAPPING DATA BETWEEN THE DISK AND RAM SLOW?
Not in our case. Sisense, in fact, is at least 10 times faster than previous generation in-memory analytics because of another major advantage. While older products uses a traditional relational database, Sisense uses an ultra-fast columnar database, designed especially for big-data analytics. As a result, Sisense is at least 10 times, and often 100 times faster than memory-only tool, and can process 100 times more data on the same hardware.
WHAT ARE THE KEY PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENTS OVER TRADITIONAL ANALYTICS?
With existing solutions you may need to wait hours until the data is loaded and wait hours for complex queries to execute. With Sisense everything is faster–loading data, updating data, queries, and adding/changing tables and data sources. What normally takes hours with other BI tools, take minutes and often seconds with Sisense.
HOW DOES SISENSE COMPARE WITH HADOOP / HIVE?
Sisense works with Hive–the data warehouse system designed for Big Data analytics. works well, but it is a developer tool, not a business user tool: queries are written in an SQL-like programming language. Plus, while Hive scales well, query time can often take hours. Sisense allows business users to visually analyze data that resides in Hadoop/Hive, and with much faster response time.
I AM GETTING “OUT-OF-MEMORY” ERRORS WITH MY CURRENT ANALYTICS SOFTWARE- DOES SISENSE HAVE SIMILAR ISSUES?
No. Early in-memory analytics and business intelligence tools have an insatiable appetite for computer memory. This is because they copy your entire databases to memory. And every additional report, every additional user, every field, every table, every record, requires more memory. For example, for every additional user they need 10% additional memory. In other words, for 10 additional users you’ll need to double your memory. Whether you have 16GB or 128GB of RAM, it’s only a matter of time until you will run out of memory.
This requires ongoing upgrading of memory, hardware, and often artificial splitting of dashboards and reports. Yikes! But Sisense is light-years ahead. Our ElastiCube server is a super-efficient in-memory columnar database that can handle 100 times more data, is 50-100 times faster, by making clever use of disk storage as needed. So you’ll never get “out of memory” message. Want to add more users? Just do it… You’ll only need negligible amounts of additional memory, all while running on commodity hardware.
DO I NEED TO BUILD A DATA WAREHOUSE?
Absolutely not! Data warehouses are one of the most notorious projects associated with BI tools. That’s exactly what we have vowed to eliminate. We use an in-memory columnar database that automatically connects to your data and builds everything for you. You do not need to worry about a complex data modeling or performance. You just say which data you want to add, and Sisense does the rest.
DO I NEED TO WRITE CODE TO EXTRACT DATA FROM MY APPLICATIONS?
No. With older BI tools do you’ll need to write scripts in a special programming language to connect to your data sources, describe the relationship between tables, or to handle data conflicts. And that’s why you’ll need to either hire in-house developers or external experts. With Sisense, you are in charge: it’s all point-and-click, and after just a couple hours of training that we provide for free, you’ll be turning data to insights.