The Best Open-Source Dashboard and BI tools

In today's data-driven world, business intelligence (BI) and dashboarding tools play a crucial role in extracting insights from vast amounts of data. Open-source solutions have gained significant popularity due to their flexibility, affordability, and active community support. This blog post compares four of the best open-source BI and dashboarding tools: Apache Spark, Metabase, Grafana, and Redash. We'll explore their features, target audience, strengths, and licensing models to help you make an informed decision.

Apache Spark

Apache Spark - open source analytics tool
  • GitHub Stars: 35.2k
  • Languages: Scala (67%), Python (12%)
  • Alternative to: Google Dataflow, TIBCO
  • Apache Spark on GitHub

Apache Spark Apache Spark is a fast and general-purpose distributed computing system that provides efficient data processing capabilities, including data analytics, machine learning, and graph processing.

For Whom: Apache Spark is suitable for data engineers, data scientists, and analysts who need to process large-scale data and perform advanced analytics.

Who is Apache Spark for?

Apache Spark is a technical system intended for data engineers and data scientists conducting large-scale analytics in an enterprise setting. Spark's flexibility and petabyte-scale processing ability make it useful for numerous use cases, such as handling real-time data streams, or training machine learning algorithms.


  • Distributed computing framework with in-memory processing, enabling high-speed data processing.
  • Rich ecosystem of libraries and tools for various data processing tasks.
  • Supports multiple programming languages, including Java, Scala, Python, and R.
  • Provides a flexible and scalable architecture for handling big data workloads.
  • Integrates well with other big data technologies like Hadoop, Hive, and HBase.

Open source license and monetization

Apache Spark is released under the Apache License 2.0, which allows users to modify and distribute the software freely. The project is backed by the Apache Software Foundation, a non-profit organization, and relies on community contributions and sponsorships.


Metabase - open source analytics tools
  • GitHub Stars: 31.7k
  • Languages: Clojure (49%), JavaScript (33%), TypeScript (17%)
  • Alternative to: Looker, Tableau, Power BI
  • Metabase on Github

Metabase Metabase is a simple and intuitive BI tool designed to make data analysis accessible to non-technical users. It offers a visual query builder and interactive dashboards for easy data exploration.

Who is Metabase for?

Metabase is ideal for business users, analysts, and small to medium-sized organizations that require a user-friendly BI tool without complex setup and extensive technical knowledge


  • Easy-to-use interface with a simple and intuitive user experience.
  • Powerful visual query builder that enables users to create SQL queries without writing code.
  • Interactive and customizable dashboards for data visualization and sharing.
  • Supports a wide range of databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQL Server.
  • Provides a natural language interface for querying data.

Open source license and monetization

Metabase is released under the Affero General Public License (AGPL) v3, which allows users to use, modify, and distribute the software freely. The project offers a hosted version called Metabase Cloud for organizations seeking additional features, support, and maintenance.


Grafana - open source analytics tools
  • GitHub Stars: 54.4k
  • Languages: TypeScript (57%), Go (37%)
  • Alternative to: Datadog, Dynatrace
  • Grafana on Github

Grafana Grafana is a popular open-source analytics and visualization platform used to create interactive and real-time dashboards. It supports data from various sources and provides extensive customization options.

Who is Grafana for?

Grafana caters to developers, operations teams, and organizations looking for a robust and highly customizable dashboarding solution to monitor and visualize their data.


  • Rich library of pre-built panels and plugins for data visualization.
  • Supports a wide range of data sources, including databases, cloud services, and time series databases.
  • Real-time monitoring and alerting capabilities to track system performance and anomalies.
  • Highly customizable dashboards with drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Community-driven ecosystem with regular updates and improvements.

Open source license and monetization

Grafana is released under the Apache License 2.0. While the core software is free and open source, Grafana Labs, the company behind Grafana, offers additional enterprise features, cloud services, and support through its commercial offerings.


Redash - open source analytics tools
  • GitHub Stars: 22.8k
  • Languages: Python (41%), JavaScript (33%), TypeScript (17%)
  • Alternative to: Looker, Tableau, Power BI
  • Redash on GitHub

Redash is an open-source data visualization and collaboration platform that allows users to connect to various data sources, build visualizations, and share insights with others.

Who is Redash for?

Redash is suitable for data analysts, data scientists, and organizations that require collaborative data exploration and reporting capabilities.


  • Simple and intuitive interface for creating and sharing visualizations.
  • Supports a wide range of data sources, including SQL databases, APIs, and business intelligence tools.
  • Interactive dashboards with scheduled refresh and embedding options.
  • Query sharing and collaboration features to facilitate team collaboration.
  • Built-in alerting and notification mechanisms.

Open source license and monetization

Redash is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL) v3. Users can freely use, modify, and distribute the software. Redash offers a hosted version called Redash Cloud, along with additional enterprise features and support, as part of its monetization model.

Apache Superset

superset - open source analytics tools
  • GitHub Stars: 51k
  • Languages: TypeScript (37%), Python (33%), JavaScript (13%)
  • Alternative to: Looker, Tableau, Power BI
  • Superset on GitHub

Superset is the third of the big open-source business intelligence tools alongside Metabase and Redash. It's also considered the most complex and least accessible for non-technical users, though its range of visualizations and charting options is unmatched.

Who is Superset for?

Superset is ideal for enterprises with experienced in-house data teams. It can handle large data sets, and provides extensive permissioning systems, so you can restrict access to sensitive data.


  • Connects to a large range of SQL databases
  • Large and active community
  • Powerful web-based SQL query editor
  • Huge range of charting options
  • Deck.GL integration for advanced geographic dataviz

Open source license and monetization

Apache Superset is distributed under an Apache-2.0 license. There are no paid features or tiers.

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