Do you want the 1st class Data Visualization on your cool Mac without any Virtual Machine with Windows? If so, your best choice will be the Omniscope 2.6 which is finally was released in October 2011(after more then 2 years of delays) by Visokio, located in UK. Of course the Omniscope will run on Windows (most customers use it on Windows anyway) too: all it needs is Java (if needed, a private copy of Java will be installed on your computer as part of Omniscope package). You can get Omniscope Viewer on Linux workstation as well but if you need a full Omniscope 2.6 on Linux, you will have to ask Visokio about special license for you.
Java was the problem for me, when I first heard about Omniscope, but more about that in a Special note at the end of this post. Visokio is a tiny company, started in 2002. Because of its size and private funding it took 3 years to release Omniscope 1.0 in 2005 and another 4 years to release Omniscope 2.5 in 2009,
which is what Visokio currently is still shipping. Visokio obviously have rich customers in financial (13+ clients), publishing and marketing(10+), and many other industries and some of them in love with Apple’s Macs, but most customers prefer Windows. Omniscope is a Desktop Java application but completely integrated with internet. It has 4 editions (in both 32-bit and 64-bits versions), which are identical as far a deployment file-set concern, so all you need is buy an appropriate license. The installation process requires about 5 clicks, and user can get started by simply dragging in an Excel file and data will immediately appear and can be explored organically.
Free Viewer allows server-less distribution of all Data Visualizations and interact fully (explore, select, filter and drill-down among other interactions) with all data, charts and reports, which are all can be easily exported to PDF, PPT, XLS and JPG files. Omniscope has zero-install “Web Start online version of free Viewer.
Omniscope Desktop/Professional ($4000 with discount for volume orders) in addition to all Viewer functionality, acts as a Development Studio for Data Visualizations (so called IOK applications are secure and compressed files, ready for easy internet delivery) and as a ETL wizard (using Drag-and-Drop Data Manager) for data:
Omniscope Desktop creates, edits and continuously refreshes all involved datasets, formulas, filters, views, layouts, even assumption-driven models, designs and export interactive Flash Data Players, embeddable into websites and into documents. Desktop able to read multidimensional cubes, just like Tableau and PowerPivot, which is a big advantage over Qlikview and Spotfire.
Omniscope Server (about $16000) adds to Desktop functionality: enables 64-bit IOK files behave (even remotely) as Central Datamarts (multi-source data assembly), as Timeslices (auto-refreshable proxies for datasources: one per each datasource), as Master Report IOK (automatically refreshed from Central Datamart IOK) and as Distributed Report IOK(s) (automatically distributed and live-refreshed from Master Report IOK), automates the refreshing of data, enables batch and scheduled distribution of customized IOK files.
Server Plus (about $24000) includes all Server functionality and adds ability to empower selected actions in free Omniscope Viewers (e.g. continuous data refreshing from Datamart IOK files, export to XLS, PPT, PDF, add/edit/save comments and queries etc.), permits unrestricted publishing of IOK visualizations, enables white labeling and branding Viewers and IOK files to customers specifications, allows multiple servers work as one.
Omniscope is using in-memory Columnar Database, as all best Data Visualizers do but its architecture is different. For example, all datasets are collection of Cells (organized in column, rows and tables). Each Cell with String or Text is a separate Java Object and it leads to a large overhead in terms of memory usage (I always blame Java, which allows only 1.2GB of addressable memory for 32-bit Windows). Some usage statistics prompting that 32-bit Omniscope Desktop/Professional thinks that 5 millions cells is a large dataset and 15 millions cells is a very large dataset. According to Visokio, average client data file is around 40 fields and 50,000 records (2 million cells).
With Omniscope 2.6, experts from Visokio was able to run on 32-bit Windows PC (with 2GB of RAM) the Data Visualization with 70 millions of cells. For comparison with Qlikview I was able to fit 600+ millions of (data) cells into the same 32-bit PC, basically 9 times more data then with Omniscope and overall Omniscope is slower then competitors. As of now, Omniscope will try to use as much memory as possible in order to accelerate performance. I expect in near future the version of Omniscope with large performance and memory management improvements.
64-bit Installations of Omniscope are far more scalable, for example with 8GB of RAM 120 millions of cells was not a problem; largest known installation of Omniscope has 34 million Rows (about half of billion of cells) running on 64-bit Windows/Java PC with 16GB of RAM
In Omniscope 2.6, the DataManager can be used as an entirely new and independent application, allowing you to create and automate ETL workflows, without even loading data into the classic Omniscope interface. You can visually drag sources in, append and merge, and transform with a variety of powerful operations such as Field Organiser which allows you to add formulas. You can then publish, including a Batch Publisher which allows you to specify commands in another IOK file, such as “Publish [this subset] to [email] using [this view template]“, etc.
For full list of Omniscope features please check this: http://www.visokio.com/omniscope-features and for new features in version 2.6 please review this: http://www.visokio.com/omniscope-new-in-2-6 .
The original foundation of exportable Flash DataPlayer “generation” was totally re-written (for Omniscope 2.6) in ActionScript 3, which increased the scalability of DataPlayer and added new view types/features. DataPlayers available as an experimental feature in Omniscope 2.6, and fully feature-complete in Omniscope 2.7 (I personally think that the time for Flash is gone/over and it is time to port DataPlayers into HTML5).
Visokio is confident that Omniscope 2.7 will come soon after release of Omniscope 2.6 and it will be integrated with super-popular Open Source Statistical R Library, and hopefully will contain HTML5-based DataPlayer, integration with Salesforce etc. If customers will demand, I also expect the Linux version of Omniscope at some future point.
By the way, my recent Poll is confirming that Omniscope is among Data Visualization Leaders and it got respectable 6% of votes so far! You can vote on this poll, just click here!
Special Note about Java.
While Java gave Omniscope the unique ability to run everywhere, it also gave a performance disadvantage to it, compare with my favorites Qlikview, Spotfire, Tableau and PowerPivot (all 4 written as native Windows applications).