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Dashboard: Open-Source BI Projects Take Off

Posted by iNext - 2006-07-04

The pace of opensource business intelligence development has accelerated in recent months with new releases of commercially supported products and the emergence of noteworthy enduser applications. Developers are enhancing their BI components and solidifying frameworks that integrate tools with workflow management capabilities. They're also demonstrating the ability of opensource databases and BI platforms to deliver advanced analytics and operate on large databases at a fraction of the cost of conventional commercial systems.
Analytical consultancy Daxpy has created what is perhaps the best demonstration of opensource BI capabilities. Frontier Airlines has deployed Daxpy's Brits revenuemanagement system built with opensource components to crunch ticketing and forecasting data. Daxpy's team created the application using the Mondrian opensource OLAP server the JPivot Java Server Page tag library and a custombuilt Webservices framework designed to handle parameterized MDX queries. MDX is Microsoft's Multidimensional Expressions analysis language which has been adopted by most OLAP vendors and Mondrian as a means of querying backend relational databases. Frontier chose an opensource DBMS Greenplum's Bizgres MPP over expensive Oracle and Microsoft options. Bizgres is a parallelized datawarehouse optimized extension of the PostgreSQL opensource database management system.

Daxpy CEO Kirk Abbott says his company has adopted the OpenI framework published by Loyalty Matrix for future projects including a forthcoming healthcarepricing application. OpenI supplies a BI platform integrating Mondrian and JPivot with reporting and other services as do opensource platform vendors JasperSoft Pentaho and Italian developer Engineering Ingegneria Informatica which offers SpagoBI. Pentaho last year purchased intellectual property rights to Mondrian and hired project lead Julian Hyde as OLAP architect. JasperSoft hired Mondrian contributor Sherman Wood in a similar role.

The Frontier system is not the only noteworthy BI effort using opensource components. The Cendant Distribution Travel Services Group built an application with Pentaho's framework. Cendant's Myaccount.Galileo.com portal provides custom reporting facilities to thousands of travelagent users. It was created using the Eclipse opensource interface development environment and runs against an instance of the opensource MySQL DBMS.

Application vendors within the opensource "ecosystem" are increasingly embedding opensource BI components. JasperSoft's Wood reports that a variety of such systems embed his company's flagship JasperReports software. The company has developed DBA Dashboards for MySQL and Enterprise DB and JasperReports for SugarCRM was the June projectofthemonth at opensource development nexus SugarForge.net. Engineering Ingegneria Informatica has inked a deal that makes its SpagoBI the opensource framework of choice for the leading French integrator Groupe Bull and for inclusion of OLAP functions in opensource Compiere ERP/CRM software. Stay tuned as more opensource BI implementations take off. Seth Grimes

Hyperion is in the thick of Project Avalanche which it plans to bring out this year. Sources say that it will bring a unified personal view of BIreports analytics and morefrom relational and multidimensional sources.

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