Qlik, Roambi and Zettaset up their games

This week in data and analytics brings next-gen technology from QlikTech and a new Android edition of Roambi Analytics. Plus Zettaset takes the gloves off as the Hadoop security competition heats up.

Free Qlik Sense Desktop available now
The folks at QlikTech have been talking for some time about their new development wave, sporting what the company calls “Natural Analytics;” a touch-optimized, HTML/D3-based user interface; and a data storytelling presentation mode. The products in this wave are now officially named Qlik Sense, and the first drop of that new wave is the free Qlik Sense Desktop, available for download right now.

The new product is geared toward what Qlik calls “governed data discovery” in which individual dimensions, measures, visualizations and/or dashboard sheets can be not only designed and shared, but made subject to approval workflows before they become available to others. In addition, role-based security can be applied to these objects.

The overall theme is this: many organizations need to impose controls on data and even interpretations of data, but enabling self-service is still beneficial. Qlik Sense aims to facilitate the former without disabling the latter. Moreover, the governance that Qlik Sense enables works on a sliding scale, rather than imposing controls as an all-or-nothing proposition. For example, a company that wants to lock down measures and dimensions, but allow unfettered authoring and sharing of visualizations, can do so.

Qlik Sense is an HTML-based product. Even the free desktop SKU that is available now embeds a browser and runs against a local Web server (MicroStrategy Analytics Desktop also employs the local Web server approach). The full Qlik Sense product that is scheduled to release in September runs from a standard browser against a full-blown, licensed server instance.

Qlik Sense has a streamlined interface, and a very handy search interface to the data. Unlike many free desktop BI products that connect only to spreadsheets, CSV files or other file-based data sources, Qlik Sense can connect to a variety of databases and even to Hadoop clusters. Keep in mind, though, that the data it connects to is then brought into its own data repository and worked with locally.

(Roamb)I, Android
As I covered in an earlier post, Roambi Analytics, heretofore a product available exclusively for iOS devices, has had an Android release planned. That release, dubbed – logically enough – Roambi Analytics for Android, is now available. The app itself is free, and includes some sample reports for anyone wanting a hands-on demo. Those wishing to use Roambi Analytics in production must have a Roambi Business or Roambi ES subscription. Free trial accounts are available.

Roambi was one of the six visual data discovery products reviewed and scored in Gigaom’s Sector RoadMap: Data discovery in 2014, published in March of this year. While the product did not score highly on all of our disruption vectors, it nonetheless offered one of the better data discovery experiences for organizations committed to the iPad as their preferred client platform. By adding Android to the mix, Roambi now addresses a larger portion of the mobile market, rather than just its premium segment.

Roambi for Android is now available for download from Google Play, and runs on both tablet and phone devices. It is compatible with Nexus 4, 5 and 7 devices, as well as the Moto G, Samsung Galaxy S4, S5 or Note 10.1.

Zettaset, a la carte
I’ve written about Zettaset here before. The company’s Orchestrator product adds both enterprise grade security and manageability for clusters running the major Hadoop distributions. Gigaom’s recently published Research Note: “Hadoop Security: Solutions emerge” investigated the Hadoop security space and included looks at various Apache Software Foundation projects, Cloudera-acquired Gazzang and the Hortonworks-acquired XA Secure.

Our Research Note also covered Zettaset Orchestrator, despite the fact that it isn’t a standalone security product, including cluster deployment and monitoring as well. If someone wanted Zettaset’s security technology, they had to buy the cluster management tools too.

But that is no longer the case. While the full Zettaset Orchestrator suite continues to be available, its individual security components are now sold as standalone products. The company announced this change this past Thursday, July 24th. This seems like a good decision to me, and will allow the company’s technology to be considered against competitors in a more “apples-to-apples” fashion.

BI’s comeback?
Qlik Sense and Roambi for Android focus on data discovery. Roambi is mobile-only and Qlik Sense is mobile optimized. Qlik Sense and Zettaset are both, to varying extents, focused on data governance, something long accounted for in the BI world, but generally lacking on the Hadoop side.

With that point in mind, this week’s news is really all about BI, more than Big Data per se. BI is still here and, increasingly, Big Data technology is conforming to BI norms. Expect that to continue, but bear in mind that BI wouldn’t have this much spotlight if Big Data hadn’t come around and got it shining so brightly.