January 18, 2012
Tableau 7.0 has 40+ new features, I wish 4 more
Posted by Andrei Pandre under DV News
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2011 was the Year of Tableau with almost 100% (again!) Year-over-Year growth ($72M in sales in 2011, see interview with Christian Chabot here: http://www.xconomy.com/seattle/2012/01/27/tableaus-10th-year/ ), with 163+ new employees (total 350 employees as of the end of 2011) – below is the column chart I found on Tableau’s website:
and with tremendous popularity of Tableau Public and Tableau Free Desktop Reader. In January 2012 Tableau Software disclosed the new plan to hire 300 more people in 2012, basically doubling its size in 2012 and all of these are great news!
Tableau 7.0 is released in January 2012 with 40+ new cool features, I like them, but I wish 4+ more “features”. Mostly I am puzzled what wizards from Seattle are thinking when they released (in 2012!) their Professional Desktop Client only as a 32-bit program?
Most interesting for me is the doubling of the performance and the scalability of Tableau Server with 100+ users deployments (while adding multi-tenancy, which is the sign of the maturing toward large enterprise customers):
and adding “Data Server” features, like sharing data extracts (Tableau-optimized DB-independent file containers for datasets) and metadata across visualizations (Tableau applications called workbooks), automatic (through proxies) live reconnection to datasources, support for new datasources like Hadoop (since 6.1.4) and Vectorwise and new “Connect to Data” Tab:
Tableau’s target operating system is Windows 7 (both 64-bit and 32-bit but for Data Visualization purposes 64-bit is the most important), Tableau rightfully claims to complement Excel 2010 and PowerPivot (64-bit again), Access 2010 (64-bit), SQL Server 2012 (64-bit) and their competitors are supporting 64-bit for a while (e.g. Qlikview Professional has both 64-bit and 32-bit client for years).
Even Tableau’s own in-memory Data Engine (required to be used with Tableau Professional) is the 64-bit executable (if running under 64-bit Windows). I am confused and hope that Tableau will have 64-bit client as soon as possible (what is a big deal here? don’t explain, don’t justify, just do it! On Tableau site you can find attempts to explain/justify, like this: “There is no benefit to Tableau supporting 64-bit for our processing. The amount of data that is useful to display is well within the reach of 32 bit systems” but it was not my (Andrei’s) experience with competitive tools). I also noticed that under 64-bit Windows 7 the Tableau Professional client is using at least 4 executables: 32-bit tableau.exe (main Tableau program), 64-bit tdeserver64.exe (Tableau Data Engine) and two 32-bit instances of Tableau Protocol Server (tabprotosrv.exe ) – looks strange (at least) to me…
You also can find on Tableau’s site users are reporting that Tableau 6.X underuses multi-core processors: “Tableau isn’t really exploiting the capabilities of a multi-core architecture, so speed was more determined by relative speeds of one core of a core 2 duo vs 1 core of an i7 – which weren’t that different, plus any differences in disk and memory speed“. Good news: I tested Tableau 7.0 and it uses multi-core CPUs much better then 6.X !
Of course, most appealing and sexy new features in Tableau 7.0 are related to mapping. For example I was able quickly create Filled Map, showing the income differences between states of USA:
Other mapping features include wrapped maps, more synonyms and mixed mark types on maps (e.g. PIE instead of BUBBLE), the ability to edit locations and add new locationsas well as using Geography as Mark(s), like I did below:
Tableau 7.0 supports new types of Charts (e.g. finally Area Charts) and has new Main Menu, which actually causes a lot of changes where user can find menu items, see it here: http://kb.tableausoftware.com/articles/knowledgebase/new-locations
Tableau added many analytical and convenience features for users, like parameter-based Ref.lines, Top N filtering and Bins, Enhanced Summary Statistics (e.g. median, deviation, quartiles, kurtosis and skewness are added):
Trend models are greatly improved (added t-value, p-value, confidence bands, exponential trends, exporting of trends etc.). Tableau 7.0 has now 1-click and dynamic sorting, much better support for tooltips and colors.