Pentaho Release Blends Data Integration and BI - InformationWeek

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4/2/2010
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Pentaho Release Blends Data Integration and BI

Pentaho Data Integration 4.0 teams Kettle ETL software with data modeling and data visualization shortcuts.

Most people think of Pentaho as an open-source business intelligence vendor. In fact, the company's most popular product is ETL software. Pentaho now hopes to trade on that popularity with an integrated development environment (IDE) that blends data integration and business intelligence.

The idea behind Pentaho Data Integration 4.0, announced this week, is speeding development of BI applications by combining ETL, data modeling and data visualization into a single IDE. Pentaho's Kettle project has long provided the ETL part of that equation, and it has been notable success.

"If you look at download statistics as well as independent research, Kettle is the number-one open-source ETL product on the market," said Richard Daley, Pentaho's CEO, in an interview with Intelligent Enterprise.

With Pentaho Data Integration 4.0, the company hopes the more than 9,000 active developers using Kettle will now take what the company says are quick and easy steps into BI application development.

"We've collapsed the development cycle, pulling developers together with their end users so they can interactively design what they want to see in the BI applications," said Joe Nicholson, Pentaho's vice president of product management.

The integration was achieved by bringing plug-ins from Pentaho's data-modeling and data-visualization environments into Pentaho Data Integration 4.0. The combination enables developers to source data, automatically create data models and then show end users what their reports and dashboards will look like.

"The developer can tweak reports or dashboards as requested and then push a button to see them remodeled and regenerated automatically, Nicholson said. "Users can then review the results in the development tool and approve it or request additional changes."

Blending data modeling and data visualization with the integration realm is not a new idea. Kalido pioneered this approach years ago with its Kalido Information Engine. More recently, IBM Cognos last year added a Business Viewpoint tool for business-IT collaboration on data modeling and application development.

Pentaho is also not alone among open-source vendors offering ETL software, but it appears to be the first to blend data integration and BI development. Jaspersoft's JasperETL is aimed purely at data integration. In a point in Jaspersoft's favor, the module is outsourced from Talend, an open-source data integration vendor that has recently introduced integrated master data management software -- something Pentaho does not offer.

The Community Edition of Pentaho Data Integration 4.0 is free. The Enterprise Edition of the software, which starts at $2,000, includes support services as well as additional security and development features.

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