Alternative to Metabase: Holistics, Self-service BI Tool

Holistics is a good alternative to Metabase due to its similar SQL-native architecture, better self-service capability and ability to do Git version control of data logic.

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Self-service BI platform

If you’re currently using Metabase as your BI tool, you might face the following problems:

  • Limited self-serve capacity: Business users are limited to prepared SQL queries, unable to explore data outside of routine questions, while data teams are burdened with ad-hoc requests and custom SQL grunt works.
  • No version control: As your organization grows, trying to figure out who changed what becomes a real problem. As a result, your entire team slowly starts to question the accuracy behind the numbers.
  • Disparate SQL metric definitions: As the number of reports grows, analysts end up with multiple different SQL definitions of the same business logic, scattered across the entire system making bulk-update impossible. Data consumers turn into data skeptics as different reports give different values for the same metric.

If you face the problems above, then Holistics might be a suitable alternative for you.

Designed for Self-service

Designed for Self-service

Non-technical users can build their own dashboards with a simple drag-and-drop UI, governed by centralized data logic.

Version Control with Git

Version Control with Git

Holistics allows you to define data models as code, and check them in to Git version control.

Reusable SQL queries

Reusable SQL queries

Define custom measures and formulas in Holistics for exploration.

How does Holistics work?

With Holistics, data teams manage a central definition of business metrics and data logic in a code-based modeling layer.

Business users build their own reports and get accurate analytics in a curated environment, without having to learn SQL. Dashboards and data logic can also be serialized into code and checked into Git version control repository.

Self-service BI platform

We did set it up and build our first dashboard on Metabase. It's a solid BI tool, especially given it's FOSS, but it posed two main issues for us -- (1) limited customisability of visualisations (limiting the complexity of the information you can show) and (2) not enough features for query maintainability, as you add more and more queries that you want to share and re-use across a growing org. Holistics beat it out on both fronts.

Soroush Pour, Head of Engineering, VowFood

Why Holistics Is A Good Alternative To Metabase: A Breakdown

Aspect Metabase Holistics
Reporting and Visualization
Variety of Visualizations 16 basic visualization options. 25 visualization options. Custom visualizations (box plot, histogram, etc) are also available - enabled by Vega-lite integration.
How non-technical users self-serve Via a graphical query builder (Metabase’s Question). Users still have to pick and join data, filter, and perform group-by and summary before creating a visualization.

No drag-and-drop interface. No SQL code surfaced for validation.
Via drag-n-drop report builder. Users explore data and build dashboards using curated datasets - which are maintained and governed by the data team for better accuracy and consistency.

For every report, Executed Query is shown for validation if needed.
Row Limits The download limit is 1 million. Display limit: 2,000 without aggregation, and 10,000 with aggregation. Up to 1,000,000 rows for Data Exploration / Report Creation (i.e., in each chart). Can export full data into CSV/Excel file.
Report sharing Push dashboards to Slack and email. More advanced. Push dashboards to Slack, Email, Google Sheets, SFTP, and Webhooks.
Data Alerts Available, but with limited options. Available and more advanced. Comes with Dashboard Filters and Business Calculations.
Customer-Facing Analytics
Access Control for Embedded Dashboard Limited - with only filter-based restrictions available. Documentation regarding this aspect is relatively sparse. Yes, easy to use and easy to share. Better access control with row-level permission settings. Detailed documentation about embedded analytics security.
Public Shareable Link Available but not secure. The only option to control public shareable links is to manually disable/enable them. Available with more advanced configuration. Permission settings for Dataset, Data models, Fields. Password protection also available.
Click Behavior for Embedded Dashboards Viewers can change filters only. Viewers can change filters or drill through to navigate between widgets and reports within an embedded dashboard.
Data Analysts’ Experience
Semantic Layer for metric definitions Not available. But can work around this limitation by integrating Metabase with Cube Available. Semantic Layer allows analysts to manage business logic centrally and define reusable data models.
Reusing common SQL queries No. As more and more queries are added, data team ends up with repeated SQL queries all over the place, making it difficult to know where the correct version is. Available. Analysts easily define reusable SQL queries for data exploration.
Write analytics as code No. Metabase is not designed for a code-based analytics workflow. Yes. Analysts can define business logic and data models as code using Holistics AML- which allows analytics logic to be governed with Git Version control, enables code review, and most importantly, promotes reusability.
dbt integration Available. Available
Data modeling Analysts add metadata to database tables and specify relationships, using a graphical UI. Analysts define business metrics using SQL formulas, then map relationships between tables and transform raw tables into reusable data models for consistent usage. Can use both GUI and code view for modeling.
User Access Control Row-level Access Control is available in Enterprise Plan. Column-level Permission is not supported. Supported both Row-level Permission and Column-level Permission.
Usage Monitoring Not Available. Usage monitoring dashboard is available for admins to have a bird-eye view of who using what.
Version Control Not Available. Yes. With Git Integration.
Compliance and security GDPR, SOC2 Type II. GDPR, SOC2 Type II.

Frequently Asked Questions

Good question. We're designed to give you the freedom to choose the right tool, without worrying about being locked in to any particular software. If you ever decide that Holistics is not the right tool for you and want to switch to another one, you can do that easily with our Analytics as code functionality. However, since Looker and Holistics are similar in architecture, recreating your Looker dashboards in Holistics are relatively straightforward.
As users of a lot of softwares ourselves, we hate vendor lock-in. If you ever decide that Holistics is not the right tool for you and want to migrate, you can do that easily with our upcoming Business Intelligence as code. Your entire BI project will be represented as text and checked in to your Git repository.
Yes. Read more about our GDPR Statement.

We also have a standard Data Privacy Agreement provided upon request, please email [email protected] for more information.
Yes, Holistics is SOC2 Type II Compliant. If you'd like to see our SOC 2 Type II Attestation, Contact Us.

Holistics is intuitive, both technical and non-technical people can pick it up pretty fast.

For Data Consumers: zero learning curve. They can create their own charts and dashboards without writing SQL, using a drag-and-drop interface.

For Data/technical teams: just SQL knowledge is needed in terms of skills.
We support most popular SQL databases and data warehouses: Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, Presto, ClickHouse, AWS Athena, PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQL Server. See full list.
Although we're based in Singapore (Asia), the majority of our customers are in US and Europe. Despite the time zone difference, Customer Support has been among our most praised qualities from our customers.