Amazon QuickSight Update – Geospatial Visualization, Private VPC Access, and More
We don’t often recognize or celebrate anniversaries at AWS. With nearly 100 services on our list, we’d be eating cake and drinking champagne several times a week. While that might sound like fun, we’d rather spend our working hours listening to customers and innovating. With that said, Amazon QuickSight has now been generally available for a little over a year and I would like to give you a quick update!
QuickSight in Action
Today, tens of thousands of customers (from startups to enterprises, in industries as varied as transportation, legal, mining, and healthcare) are using QuickSight to analyze and report on their business data.
Here are a couple of examples:
Gemini provides legal evidence procurement for California attorneys who represent injured workers. They have gone from creating custom reports and running one-off queries to creating and sharing dynamic QuickSight dashboards with drill-downs and filtering. QuickSight is used to track sales pipeline, measure order throughput, and to locate bottlenecks in the order processing pipeline.
Jivochat provides a real-time messaging platform to connect visitors to website owners. QuickSight lets them create and share interactive dashboards while also providing access to the underlying datasets. This has allowed them to move beyond the sharing of static spreadsheets, ensuring that everyone is looking at the same data and is empowered to make timely decisions based on current data.
Transfix is a tech-powered freight marketplace that matches loads and increases visibility into logistics for Fortune 500 shippers in retail, food and beverage, manufacturing, and other industries. QuickSight has made analytics accessible to both BI engineers and non-technical business users. They scrutinize key business and operational metrics including shipping routes, carrier efficient, and process automation.
Looking Back / Looking Ahead
The feedback on QuickSight has been incredibly helpful. Customers tell us that their employees are using QuickSight to connect to their data, perform analytics, and make high-velocity, data-driven decisions, all without setting up or running their own BI infrastructure. We love all of the feedback that we get, and use it to drive our roadmap, leading to the introduction of over 40 new features in just a year. Here’s a summary:
- December 2016 – QuickSight Enterprise Edition.
- February 2017 – Support for Amazon Athena, Scheduled Refresh of SPICE data.
- April 2017 – KPI Charts, Export to CSV, AD Connector; Availability in US East (Ohio); Audit Logging with AWS CloudTrail.
- May 2017 – Presto and Apache Spark Connectors, Federated Single Sign-On Using SAML 2.0.
- June 2017 – Support for Amazon Redshift Spectrum, 1-Click Visualization of S3 Analytics.
- August 2017 – Availability in Asia Pacific (Singapore) and Asia Pacific (Sydney).
- September 2017 – Search & Filter Groups, Amazon S3 Analytics Connector, Create Analyses From Dashboards, Import Custom Date Formats.
- October 2017 – Combo Charts, Row-Level Security.
Looking forward, we are watching an interesting trend develop within our customer base. As these customers take a close look at how they analyze and report on data, they are realizing that a serverless approach offers some tangible benefits. They use Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) as a data lake and query it using a combination of QuickSight and Amazon Athena, giving them agility and flexibility without static infrastructure. They also make great use of QuickSight’s dashboards feature, monitoring business results and operational metrics, then sharing their insights with hundreds of users. You can read Building a Serverless Analytics Solution for Cleaner Cities and review Serverless Big Data Analytics using Amazon Athena and Amazon QuickSight if you are interested in this approach.
New Features and Enhancements
We’re still doing our best to listen and to learn, and to make sure that QuickSight continues to meet your needs. I’m happy to announce that we are making seven big additions today:
Geospatial Visualization – You can now create geospatial visuals on geographical data sets.
Private VPC Access – You can now sign up to access a preview of a new feature that allows you to securely connect to data within VPCs or on-premises, without the need for public endpoints.
Flat Table Support – In addition to pivot tables, you can now use flat tables for tabular reporting. To learn more, read about Using Tabular Reports.
Calculated SPICE Fields – You can now perform run-time calculations on SPICE data as part of your analysis. Read Adding a Calculated Field to an Analysis for more information.
Wide Table Support – You can now use tables with up to 1000 columns.
Other Buckets – You can summarize the long tail of high-cardinality data into buckets, as described in Working with Visual Types in Amazon QuickSight.
HIPAA Compliance – You can now run HIPAA-compliant workloads on QuickSight.
Everyone seems to want this feature! You can now take data that contains a geographic identifier (country, city, state, or zip code) and create beautiful visualizations with just a few clicks. QuickSight will geocode the identifier that you supply, and can also accept lat/long map coordinates. You can use this feature to visualize sales by state, map stores to shipping destinations, and so forth. Here’s a sample visualization:
Private VPC Access Preview
If you have data in AWS (perhaps in Amazon Redshift, Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), or on EC2) or on-premises in Teradata or SQL Server on servers without public connectivity, this feature is for you. Private VPC Access for QuickSight uses an Elastic Network Interface (ENI) for secure, private communication with data sources in a VPC. It also allows you to use AWS Direct Connect to create a secure, private link with your on-premises resources.
Here’s what it looks like:
If you are ready to join the preview, you can sign up today.