March 30, 2010 -- Open source BI platform vendor Pentaho today released Pentaho Data Integration 4.0, a significant upgrade that combines ETL, modeling and the front end of reporting and visualization into a single development environment.

PDI 4.0 stems from Pentaho's November Agile BI initiative, aimed at letting organizations more confidently and quickly build BI applications. The development cycle for such projects is often a back and forth endeavor that can lead to delays and unmet expectations.  

"Historically you go through requirements, the tech guys go off and do the ETL, they send it to the modeling guy, to the desktop building guys, in a timeframe that's measured in weeks of months," says Joe Nicholson, VP of product marketing at Pentaho. "By the time it gets back to the business user it's no longer what he'd asked for, or his business needs have changed."

Breaking the waterfall development cycle is possible, Nicholson says, when developer and business user can sit side by side, view models and visualization side by side and build an application on the fly.

Mark Smith, president of research and advisory services firm Ventana Research, says that the data integration and BI markets have looked for advances that improve projects, and says the unified development new to Pentaho is a "leap forward" for the industry. Smith says he expects businesses will be able to reduce the time it takes to create and update BI applications through use of the tool.”

Deployment of PDI 4.0 does require Pentaho's paid subscription enterprise server, since the visualization component, (powered by Pentaho's acquisition of Lucidera's technology), comes only with the paid edition of the software.

Listen to this month's DM Radio show on open source software and standards with guests including Jeffrey Hammond of Forrester Research and Pentaho CEO Richard Daley.