June 13, 2012 - Birst Inc., a hosted and on-premise provider of business intelligence software, today released Birst Visualization Edition, a quick deploy version of its enterprise product.

The new edition includes a semantic layer, which eliminates the need to write SQL queries or perform data extractions.

Brad Peters, Birst CEO and cofounder says the new edition fits between complex suites from Oracle or Microsoft and desktop visualization tools like Tableau or QlikTech.

“With desktop tools, if someone produces a beautiful table and perfectly set up for you to analyze, you’re good to go,” says Peters. “The challenge is getting that file in the first place, you either have to go to IT and get them to pull stuff or you have to write SQL.”

A semantic layer in the appliance links tables and generates queries “under the covers” for non-SQL experts.

Desktop products also come in server editions, though Peters says the price tag for Birst, at $9,000 for SQL Server or an in-memory option is less expensive and less complex. A hosted version is also available with a monthly subscription fee per user.

The cloud version will have appeal for those who don’t want to buy and operate a server, and can just connect via a browser, Peters says. It also gets users up and running quickly, but some will want to upgrade to a production instance for data that is coming in every day. “For time series analysis you might want more infrastructure and have it on premise behind that, but either way you start out inexpensively with minimal effort.”