written by
5000fish Team

DashboardFox Guide: Best Practices for Handling Large Data Sets

BI Problems and Solutions 8 min read
DashboardFox: Self-Service BI

When the term "big data" enters the conversation, visions of sprawling seas of digital information might overwhelm even the most experienced data analysts. However, let's simplify this concept for the sake of our exploration.

Consider the task of analyzing a dataset—a substantial one with half a million rows. On desktop tools like Microsoft Excel, your personal computer's resources tackle this data with ease. But within the realm of web-based dashboards and reporting tools, the scenario changes.

The challenge lies in hauling this data from your database server, across the network, funneling it into your beleaguered browser for analysis. This is the essence of "big data" in our context: large, cumbersome volumes that test the limits of Business Intelligence (BI) tools in processing and management.

Today, we'll delve into how DashboardFox not only copes with the torrent of data but also turns it into a fortified ally, allowing you to tune your data for peak performance, much like you'd do with any reporting tool.

Let's embark on making your data not just manageable but truly work for you, no matter the size.

CPU Clock-Speed and Memory Is Critical For Your DashboardFox Server

We’re going to discuss how to improve your database and your reports below, but one of the most important things you can do right away to improve performance of DashboardFox, host it on a server with a good CPU. By good, we aren’t talking about the number of cores, but specifically the clock speed.

Specifically, when hosting in a server like Azure or AWS, most of the lower cost server have a pretty bad CPU, at least for the type of processing that DashboardFox does.

For Azure, we recommend the compute optimized, Fsv2 series, and 8GB of memory is great, but for smaller use cases, 4GB is fine.

For AWS, their compute optimized series is the c5 and c5n models. Lastly, the IOPS of the hard drive can play a factor in DashboardFox performance.

The higher the IOPS, the better the performance. We recommend solid-state drives (SSD) when possible.

Enhancing Performance with Optimized Data Layers

For DashboardFox, the efficiency of data handling hinges on the optimization of the data layer—a crucial element for seamless query processing. Key to this is DashboardFox's adaptive query execution.

DashboardFox does a live query against the source database. In general, this means the database where you store your data, but if you are leveraging DashboardFox’s ability to ingest data from MS Excel/CSV files or to fetch data from APIs, it could mean the embedded PostgreSQL database that ships with DashboardFox.

In either case, it’s critical to use all the power and feature of the database layer to optimize queries when you’re dealing with a lot of information.

Let’s dive into some of the techniques.

Maximizing System Resources for the Database

Maximizing system resources is pivotal for DashboardFox when dealing with hefty datasets. Ensuring that your database servers are equipped with adequate memory and CPU capacity is the first step in preparing to handle large-scale data efficiently.

DashboardFox allows users to connect directly to their databases, which means that the database's capability directly influences DashboardFox's performance. Optimizing the database configuration for parallel processing and indexing can also lead to significant performance gains, reducing the time necessary for data querying and reporting.

Efficient Data Retrieval with SQL Views

Efficient data retrieval is central to DashboardFox's approach to handling large datasets. By structuring data into SQL views, users can create a virtual layer that allows for pre-filtered and pre-aggregated views of the data.

This method simplifies complex queries, providing DashboardFox with a quick and efficient means of accessing only the relevant slices of data needed for analysis. SQL views also help maintain data consistency, as they can encapsulate business logic and calculations, ensuring that all users are working from the same base assumptions.

In practice, using SQL views translates to more responsive reports and dashboards within DashboardFox, as the data has been pre-processed and streamlined. Additionally, views can help to enforce security measures by restricting access to sensitive information.

The Advantages of Fact Tables

Transform your detailed raw data tables into fact tables with a lower level of granularity, tailored for specific analytical goals. By summarizing data into these tables on a routine basis, you're packaging the information into manageable segments that DashboardFox can manipulate with ease.

Through enhancing system resources, employing SQL views, and creating fact tables, you lay the groundwork for DashboardFox to not only manage but excel with data, opening doors to deeper insights and swifter decision-making.

Streamlining Report Efficiency in DashboardFox

Making reports in DashboardFox better and faster helps us see important info quickly and clearly. It has features that let us sort through lots of data easily and make sense of it. These smarter reports also make DashboardFox run smoother and faster, which everyone likes.

DashboardFox keeps your data safe, too. It makes sure only the people who should see the data can see it. This is super important for keeping the data correct and following rules.

The way DashboardFox shows data isn't just to make it look good. It's all about making it easier to understand with charts and graphs that let you get the picture right away, so you can make smart choices fast.

So, by focusing on summarizing data well, filtering it smartly, keeping it secure, and showing it in a clear way, DashboardFox makes its reports really useful for making decisions based on data.

Aggregation and Summarization for Clarity

Instead of drowning in data records, utilize counts, sums, and averages to transform them into actionable metrics, grouping by relevant parameters to categorize and summarize.

By setting limits through parameters like date ranges, you pare down the data, making it more digestible for users. Combine this with segmentation by useful categories such as location or department, presenting data visually as, say, "# of transactions by day per department."

Dashboard and Report Filters for Precision

DashboardFox's dashboard and report filters serve as a precision tool in the art of data analytics. By implementing pre-filtered parameters, users can hone in on the data that matters most.

This targeted approach not only streamlines the decision-making process by presenting users with focused information but also significantly enhances DashboardFox's performance by reducing data processing overhead.

Filters can be customized to match user roles and data access privileges, ensuring a personalized and relevant experience for each user while decreasing the load on system resources by preventing the retrieval of superfluous data.

The Drill-Down Approach

The drill-down capability in DashboardFox transforms data interaction into an intuitive and insightful journey. Starting with aggregated visuals and KPIs, users get a comprehensive high-level overview that encapsulates the core insights from vast data sets.

From there, they can delve deeper into specific aspects of the data through DashboardFox's drill-down feature. This method allows for a granular examination without overwhelming the user initially, breaking down complex datasets into more manageable, focused inquiries.

It's an efficient way to navigate through layers of data, facilitating a seamless transition from macro-level patterns to micro-level details.

Data Level Security Practices

DashboardFox's data level security practices are designed to maintain strict data governance and privacy by tailoring data access to the context of individual users or groups.

By running queries within the specific context of a customer, department, or user role, DashboardFox ensures that each stakeholder only sees the data that's pertinent to their needs and permissions. This tailored approach not only tightens security protocols but also enhances performance by limiting the data scope that is processed and returned in each query.

It's a strategic balance between protecting sensitive information and optimizing the system's responsiveness, ensuring that DashboardFox delivers a secure and efficient data analysis experience.

Refined Visuals and Charts

In DashboardFox, the refinement of visuals and charts is a deliberate strategy to avoid cognitive overload and optimize the user experience.

By carefully selecting and limiting the visuals displayed on a single dashboard, DashboardFox ensures that each chart serves a clear and distinct purpose, enhancing the clarity and impact of the presented data.

Distributing charts across multiple, specialized dashboards allows users to focus on specific areas of interest without the distraction of irrelevant information. This approach not only helps users to quickly understand and act on the insights provided but also aids in maintaining DashboardFox's performance by reducing the computational demand associated with rendering complex or numerous visuals at once.

Avoiding Redundancy

DashboardFox champions the principle of simplicity by advising against redundant data displays. A single, well-structured data table can often communicate the required information more effectively than several disparate visualizations.

By concentrating on succinct and meaningful data presentation, DashboardFox ensures a streamlined user experience and facilitates quicker comprehension, allowing users to focus on analysis rather than navigation.

Optimizing Visuals

DashboardFox emphasizes the creation of concise, impactful visuals that concentrate on key data points like the Top 10 or Top 20 entries.

This targeted approach elevates the most significant data, ensuring users can quickly identify and address priority areas without getting lost in less critical details. These optimized visuals not only refine the dashboard's focus but also enhance the analytical value by directing attention to where it is most impactful.

Auditing User Requirements

Monitor dashboard and report usage to understand user needs and optimize resources accordingly. Engage with users to ensure reports meet their actual requirements, and if necessary, recalibrate their expectations to match realistic data delivery.

By following these guidelines, you can refine how DashboardFox serves your data needs, striking the perfect balance between comprehensive analysis and efficient performance. With DashboardFox, your data isn't just big—it's intelligently managed.

Harnessing Insights with Precision: The DashboardFox Advantage

Large data management is crucial, and the right tools can provide a competitive edge.

DashboardFox is more than just a tool; it's a partner in leveraging data for business success. It helps users not only manage but also capitalize on their data, paving the way from information to informed decisions.

Consider DashboardFox for a solution that transforms data management into a strategic advantage.

Try out our free live demo sessions or booking a meeting with our team, let’s collaborate for a better future.

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