As the business intelligence industry continues to grow, technologies to gain access and analyze information have become simpler to download and deploy. Open source technology and the community approach to development and collaboration has made great strides in challenging the traditional approach of purchasing and implementing software from vendors that build suites of technology designed for IT to manage. This alternative has also introduced new challenges, as where the technology is not flexible enough to integrate data rapidly or limited in the ability to design and adjust data models and applications.

Pentaho has been advancing open source BI in the industry for some time (See: “Pentaho Elevates Open Source BI to a New Level”) and now challenges conventional vendors with its version 4 release . The new version of the platform provides a unified development environment for supporting data integration, data modeling and design of BI applications. With it, Pentaho is addressing one of the Achilles’ heels of BI technology – the delays in integration of data that impede cycle times for designing or updating BI applications. Pentaho has also made it easy to adopt its technology by making it available in a cloud computing environment so it does not have to be downloaded and installed inside the enterprise. In its commercial enterprise edition, built from the Kettle open source project, Pentaho Data Integration version 4 enhances security, versioning, job scheduling and a metadata repository that uses a visual workflow to bring in data from applications such as Oracle’s and SAP’s to databases across the enterprise.

Pentaho version 4 also has enterprise-class capabilities in data integration including team development and direct publishing of data into reports. This inclusion of data integration complements what was already one of the most diverse sets of access capabilities from a BI platform to common data sources or specialized analytical database like those from Infobright and Vertica. The diversity of Pentaho’s partnerships and integration of databases is another distinguishing element that qualifies it as an enterprise-class provider of BI.

I like what Pentaho has accomplished in this new release, bringing data integration into a common BI stack that can be used by IT, developers and analysts in the lines of business. Pentaho has also been investing in advancing its brand and visibility with the goal of being seen not just as an open source provider of BI within its community but as one whose products are available in a multitude of methods for using and purchasing. To further extend its position and opportunities in the market, Pentaho should challenge its community to develop forecasting and planning along with capabilities for performance management. But for the moment breaking down the barriers to rapid cycle and response times in deploying BI to business is something the industry needs, and the new release should help Pentaho grow.

Mark also blogs at