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Open Source BI: The Great Leap Forward (continued)

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JasperSoft is planning an upcoming release of JasperAnalytics to enhance the capabilities of the JasperIntelligence suite. It will reportedly "bring a new level of powerful analysis capability to applications and business processes to directly enable business professional to leverage their data for more insightful decision making."

JasperSoft provides both Open Source and Commercial Licenses. The former enables customers to use and distribute JasperSoft products according to the terms of the license agreement. The latter provides an advanced feature set and certification for IBM WebSphere and BEA WebLogic.

Loyalty Matrix and OLAP

Loyalty Matrix is the corporate sponsor of OpenI, a Web-based BI Application for OLAP.  OpenI is based on Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and it includes OLAP browsing and reporting capabilities. OpenI 1.2, released in April 2006, connects to Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server Analysis Services as data sources.

OpenI is available with a Mozilla Public License 1.1 (MPL 1.1). It integrates with Mondrian server, JPivot and JasperReports.

Mondrian Server

Mondrian is a mature OLAP server developed by Julian Hyde and the members of the Mondrian open source project.  Mondrian 2.0 is a successor to the Mondrian OLAP server that was the only game in town in 2003.

Mondrian 2.0 implements multi-dimensional expressions (MDX) for operating with n-dimensional data cubes. MDX expressions were originally introduced by Microsoft SQL Server OLAP Services and standardized by the XML for Analysis specification. MDX expressions are basically SQL extensions that enable a query to use dimensions such as time and operate with multidimensional data sets.

Several projects and open source products use the Mondrian server, including BIOLAP, CompiereBI, JasperSoft, Pentaho, and SpagoBI.

BIOLAP is an OLAP implementation for the biology community. SpagoBI is a business intelligence suite for J2EE environments. It's a development of Italy’s Engineering Ingegneria Informatica and France’s ObjectWeb.

CompiereBI integrates Mondrian with an ERP suite and JPivot.

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Pentaho BI

Pentaho Corporation manages the Pentaho BI Project and other efforts. The mission of the Pentaho BI Project is to provide a comprehensive BI suite that includes analysis, data mining, dashboard, framework, reporting and workflow capabilities. It produces components that are embeddable in Java programs. The Pentaho BI Project coordinates the Mondrian, Kettle, JFreeReport and Pentaho open source efforts.

In April 2006, Pentaho released the Pentaho BI Suite Professional Edition and Pentaho Reporting Server Professional Edition. The Professional Edition built on the Open BI Suite capabilities by adding clustering and runtime repository storage. The latter can store data in MySQL, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle databases.

Pentaho BI is designed for a J2EE application server environment. It provides web services interfaces for all components and XML definitions for all content. It also integrates with enterprise security, including LDAP and Java Single Sign-On.

Gaining Mindshare

Linux has great momentum in the enterprise and the LAMP combination is spurring open source adoption. Clusters, the acceptance of enterprise Java, and specifications such as XML for Analysis make it possible for a developer community to create powerful, scalable analysis and reports servers. The result is that open source software is as likely to be accepted in the BI community as LAMP has been among enterprise developers.

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About the Author

Ken North is an author and consultant who teaches Expert Series seminars. He wrote Database Magic with Ken North (Prentice Hall), Windows Multi-DBMS Programming (Wiley) and the Database Developer columns for Dr. Dobb's and Web Techniques.

Resources and Download Links

Eclipse BIRT
Mondrian OLAP Server
Pentaho BI Platform

Ventana Research Report

© 2006, North Summit Media. All rights reserved.