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Superset vs Metabase vs Redash – Comparing Open Source BI Tools

superset vs metabase vs redash

A human brain retains more information through patterns and visuals as compared to reading or studying numbered files. In the business world, visualization is imperative in understanding the significance of data. Let us understand with an example.

An e-commerce company receives thousands of orders per day. For studying the weekly performance, a graphical plot showing the number of orders per day will result in faster interpretation than a spreadsheet comprising the order details.

Hence, visual data representation is a powerful technique.  It helps companies in analyzing trends and gaining valuable insights which further helps in decision making.

Open source data visualization tools like Redash, Metabase, and Apache Superset are gaining popularity as the learning curve isn’t steep for non-technical users. A large number of startups are using Metabase, Redash, and Superset to query, collaborate and visualize.

This blog talks about the Metabase vs. Redash vs. Superset over a few parameters.

1. Data Sources:

The widely used data warehouses- Amazon Redshift and Google BigQuery and databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL are supported by all the three visualization tools. Snowflake is supported by Metabase and Redash. Cassandra is supported only by Redash. Below is a list of data backends supported by Metabase, Redash, and Superset.

Data Sources Metabase Redash Superset
Amazon Redshift
Google BigQuery
Google Analytics
Microsoft SQL Server

2. Extension Platform:

It is simple to extend open source BI tools if required. Metabase apparatus is developed on Clojure whereas Redash and Superset are based on Python. This helps you to decide which tool is favourable if your company uses the same platform – Python or Clojure.

3. Authentication Support:

Superset provides richer options in terms of authentication. While Metabase and Redash have support for Google OAuth and SSO only, with Superset you can also integrate your in-house authentication backends or LDAP.

Tool Google OAuth LDAP OpenID Database
Metabase Present Present Absent Absent
Redash Present Absent Absent Absent
Superset Present Present Present Present

4. Access Control and Permissions:

While using Metabase, Redash, and Superset at an organizational level it is important to understand the access controls. One can restrict access to databases, queries, and dashboards as per the requirements.

Metabase and Redash follow a group-based approach to provide access control and set permissions. One can be a member of multiple groups. The level of access to databases and SQL is determined by group membership.  

For instance, when you are a part of a group, you have access to all the databases in the group. Your permissions are tabulated as per the level of access, groups, databases, etc. in the permissions’ section of the admin panel.

Superset has different levels of access control: Admin, Alpha, Gamma, and Public.

Role Permissions
  • Can grant and revoke rights from fellow users
  • Can make changes in slices and dashboards of other users
  • Access to SQL Lab – can grant access to  Alpha and Gamma users
  • Access to all data sources in Superset – can add and alter them
  • Can’t grant or revoke access
  • Limited access to the owned objects
  • Can only consume data they have given access to
  • Can’t add or alter data sources
  • Can create slices and dashboards
  • Logged out users have can view dashboards
  • Useful for enabling  access to anonymous users

Want to learn more about BI and Data Visualisation tools? Here’s a detailed Hevo 
post on Periscope vs Chartio vs Looker .

Data Pipeline, Data Warehouse, and Data Visualisation are three components of a Data Integration Stack. In this post, we learned about open-source visualization tools.

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  • K Shiv

    Very crisp & simplified content…
    Informative & insightful blog by shalaka…
    Good one?

    • Shalaka Kulkarni

      Thank you Shiv.

  • Krutika

    Well written and explained the points in clear way!

    • Shalaka Kulkarni

      Thank you Krutika.

  • . Druid as a data source is missing probably a big one for superset

    • Shalaka Kulkarni

      Hi Vishnu, thanks for bringing it to our notice. Your suggestion is valuable and I have included Druid in the chart of data sources.

  • Thanks for the writeup, Shalaka.

    Metabase actually does have LDAP support now:

    • Shalaka Kulkarni

      Hi Maz, Thanks a lot for the documentation link. Incorporated the changes.

      • Thanks! I also noticed it says we don’t support Druid, which we do.

        Here’s the full list of databases we support:
        Amazon Redshift
        Google BigQuery
        MongoDB (version 3.0 or higher)
        MySQL (version 4.1 or higher, as well as MariaDB)
        SQL Server
        Google Analytics

      • David Howell

        FYI: You updated the table, but the sentence above it has not been updated to reflect that Metabase supports LDAP.

  • Fouad ALi
  • Ved Mulkalwar

    According to metabase’s github page, it now also supports Snowflake database.l