In this lesson we will:
- Introduce Metabase;
- Show how it can be connected to ClickHouse;
- Link to a sample dashboard.
The first business intelligence tool we are going to look at is Metabase.
Metabase is a popular open source tool for building visualisations, dashboards and reports.
It is open-source meaning that it is free to download, modify and run, or there is a cloud hosted version called Metabase Cloud if you would like to avoid the management or use a serverless solution.
Metabase is viewed as one of the simpler options for business intelligence. It is simple to run, consisting of a single binary, and also simple to use. The tool can be learnt in just a few hours.
Despite this simplcity, it can take you surprisingly far in building the typical dashboard that consists of key metrics, bar charts and time series data.
Open source Metabase doesn't support Clickhouse out of the box. However, there is a driver which is easy to download. You place it alongside the metabase JAR file in a plugins folder:
❯ ls -la plugins/*
-rw-r--r--@ 1 benjaminwootton staff 1671344 21 Nov 12:10 plugins/clickhouse.metabase-driver.jar
Then simply run metabase.jar and the driver will be picked up.
java -jar metabase.jar
After that point, ClickHouse is well integrated into the product and feels effectively native.
Metabase Cloud has ClickHouse integrated out of the box without requiring any drivers.
Metabase works by connecting directly to your database and issues queries. There is not a caching layer as you would find in Tableau, or a sematic layer as you would find in Looker. In our case, a direct connection would be formed with ClickHouse over the native API and SQL issued directly.
At this link we have built a simple dashboard using Metabase connected to ClickHouse Cloud.
This dashboard analyses a customer churn dataset to understand churn rates, metrics such as the average tenure, and details such as the demographics that are churning and the churn rate by customer tenure.