Introduction to Pentaho Data Integration

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Pentaho Data Integration (PDI) provides the Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) capabilities that facilitate the process of capturing, cleansing, and storing data using a uniform and consistent format that is accessible and relevant to end-users and IoT technologies.

What is Pentaho?

Pentaho is business intelligence (BI) software or a set of tools. It consists of a few set of tools that provides solutions for Data Integration, Data Mining, Information Dashboard, OLAP Services, etc.

A Brief History Of Pentaho Data Integration:

The kettle(PDI) was a powerful ETL tool based on Java. The kettle itself represents its meaning, KETTLE stands for Kettle Extraction Transformation Transport Load Environment. Matt Casters, an independent BI consultant developed Kettle and it was open-sourced in 2005. It was acquired by Pentaho in 2006 and the name was changed to ‘Pentaho Data Integration.

Their components of PDI are Spoon, Pan, Kitchen, Carte all these names are culinary metaphors given to these offerings.

Various Terminology of Pentaho Data Integration:


Spoon is a desktop application that you will use primarily as a graphical interface and editor for transformations and jobs. With Spoon, you can author, edit, run, and debug transformations and jobs. You can also use Spoon to enter license keys, add data connections, and define security.


Kitchen is a program that can execute jobs designed by Spoon in XML or in a database repository. Usually, jobs are scheduled in batch mode to be run automatically at regular intervals.


Pan is the PDI command-line tool for executing transformations. Transformations can be from a PDI repository or a local file.


Carte is a simple web server that allows you to run transformations and jobs remotely. It receives XML (using a small servlet) that contains the transformation to run and the execution configuration.

Data Integration Challenges Your Business May Face:

Data Is Everywhere

No one can ignore this fact. To get the most out of data, you first need to identify sources and that’s where a problem may occur. Data is everywhere and consolidating it all in one place becomes a challenge for most organizations. Along with that, data accuracy, timeliness, and relevancy are important factors for data integration.

Poor Quality

Not all data is used in decision-making. Due to an ever-increasing amount of data, it often happens that more than half of the data goes unused for analytics. Quality of data must be managed to take accurate business decisions and implement data-driven strategies. Data quality management requires constant monitoring, smart solutions, and a proactive approach.

Timeliness of Data

Sometimes you might need real-time data to meet specific demands. If your system or solution can’t perform this effectively, you may end up losing opportunities related to it. This challenge becomes more complex when there are large datasets and sources. Slow performance may also become an issue when there are large datasets and multiple data sources.

What Are The Advantages Of Pentaho Data Integration And Why PDI Is An Answer To Every Data Integration Challenge?

Metadata-Driven Approach

Pentaho uses a metadata-driven approach that allows users to specify what to do exactly and not how to do it. This allows developers to choose from a wide range of predefined plugins and widgets and tell them what to do as per requirements.

This makes developers’ jobs easier and offers more flexibility in creating data manipulation jobs.

Easy Learning curve

PDI offers intuitive and drag-and-drop interfaces, making it very easy to learn and use. It saves a lot of time with prebuilt components to rapidly onboard data from various sources. Developers can add their own custom extensions easily and quickly with a plug-in architecture. It lets developers create data pipelines in minutes by using Spoon (PDI Client) which is a no-code GUI and editor for running jobs and transformations.

Learning Data Volumes? No Problem

Pentaho’s architecture is capable to handle extremely large data sets. Pentaho simplifies the creation of data pipelines and processes data at scale.


Data from any source in any environment – this sums up the capability of PDI in one sentence. PDI is an extremely flexible tool that offers a range of features that include integration, ingest, and preparing of data from any source. It offers broad connectivity to a variety of data sources which include structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data.

Cross-platform support, the use of Java, and the ability to deal with large datasets are some of the key benefits PDI offers.


Gartner recognized Hitachi Vantara for its ability to complete vision in the 2020 Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools. Using PDI, organizations can gain real insights from data with less complexity and time. It is a Lumada DataOps Suite product that enables organizations to make good use of data, simplifying data management across the organization without any complexity and at speed.

Feaures of Pentaho Data Integration:

  • It provides capabilities of almost no code development approach.
  • It provides capability of platform independence with respect to development and deployment.
  • Pentaho Data Integration has capability to deal with huge data, in some scenarios data size is in TB’s.
  • It has capability to integrate with Bigdata i.e. It supports AVRO, Cassandra, Hadoop, MongoDB and many more.
  • Pentaho Data Integration has capability to interact with Rest client, HTTP client.


It is important to use the right business intelligence tool at the right time so that organization can make the right decision at right time. To make this reality, tools like Pentaho are what you need. Its powerful components and high performance enable organizations to unlock the real value of data. Data needs to be properly collected, cleaned, and analyzed to identify strengths, opportunities, and risks and get new insights. Pentaho is a complete suite that offers exceptional data integration, reporting, and presenting capabilities. It is capable of handling a large volume of data, processing data at speed, and working with various data sources.

Written by 

Mohd Uzair is a Software intern at Knoldus. He is passionate about java programming. He is recognized as a good team player, a dedicated and responsible professional, and a technology enthusiast. He is a quick learner & curious to learn new technologies. His hobbies include watching movies, surfing youtube, playing video games.