Monday, January 25, 2010

Jaspersoft 3.7: Advanced In-Memory Analysis

We have been working toward in-memory analysis capabilities, within JasperServer, for a couple of years. With our previous major release, Jaspersoft 3.5, we made an important declaration: in-memory analysis techniques are going to be a very important part of our future product direction. Being an open source BI company means a commitment to innovative technology and value for customers. An in-memory strategy gives customers, both enterprises and ISVs, more options to improve their decision making. So, you’d expect that Jaspersoft 3.7 would meaningfully advance our Server’s in-memory, multi-dimensional analysis capabilities. What you might not expect is just how far it goes.

Firstly, in-memory analysis enables JasperServer to hold the query result data set in memory, complete with sufficient meta-data that enables the user to continue analyzing the data along multi-dimensions, without having to re-issue a new query. And, the user manipulates the results using an enhanced data explorer interface, which is a simple, purely web-based, drag-and-drop environment. So, the outcome is a fast and friendly way to sort, filter, pivot, compare, and drill into data without having to separately design and maintain OLAP cubes or having to use a special front-end tool to interact with those special data sources.

What can be done with Jaspersoft 3.7’s new in-memory analysis? The screen shots below provide an example of a cross-tab report, complete with multiple dimensions being viewed (Locations in the form of States and Cities and Product by Name and Type) and a pie chart that graphs some of the data from this report (sales summary by State). The user can add dimensions and measures just by dragging and dropping and then re-orient or adjust existing dimensions by “pivoting” . This cross-tab report can include summary calculations, calculated fields, sorting and filtering. And, the user can continue clicking on data until he or she reaches the ultimate transaction, should they wish.

JasperServer In-Memory Analysis; Cross-Tab Report and Pie Chart

So what does In-Memory Analysis mean for Jaspersoft customers”? Unlike other traditional and in-memory BI vendors, we’re taking the best of both worlds approach whereby the system administrator can configure the server to perform processing either against the in-memory data set, or alternatively, push processing down to the underlying data store. The decision on which approach is optimal for a given deployment will depend a lot on the query performance characteristics of the data store. For example, a traditional OLTP or non-relational data store may benefit significantly from in-memory processing, whereas a query optimized analytic data store may provide performance similar to or better than in-memory processing. Combining this flexible architecture with the cost advantages of not using an OLAP server gives customers choice and a BI platform that can grow as their data and analysis requirements do.

This is just a summary of the many in-memory analysis capabilities we’ve included in Jaspersoft 3.7. I invite you to check out some additional information and a demonstration here.

Next post, I’ll describe our quest to provide rich, Flash-based visualization to make every report, dashboard, and web application come to life.

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

An Upgraded BI Platform and a New Enterprise Edition

Yesterday we shared our news about Jaspersoft 3.7 and the new Enterprise Edition. It was a big day.

It’s worth going into a little more detail today about what the difference is between the product suite news and the new Enterprise package. I’ll briefly provide an overview of the features of each and in the following weeks, I’ll highlight some of the specific bells and whistles (translation: capabilities and screenshots) of the most significant ones.

Jaspersoft 3.7 delivers more than 20 significant new features in total. The top five categories where most of the new features are delivered include:

1. advanced in-memory (multi-dimensional) analysis capabilities;
2. Flash-based visualization (3D, interactive charts, maps and widgets);
3. a new repository search function;
4. online, context-sensitive help; and
4, key certifications for some of the most robust (and cost-effective) analytic data stores (Infobright, Vertica and Greenplum) and a federated query platform (Red Hat’s JBoss Data Services, formerly MetaMatrix).

Then, the Enterprise Edition, the third package (or “Edition”) now available from Jaspersoft, offers features for our enterprise-class customers working on the most complex BI projects. Enterprise Edition includes JasperETL for data integration, JasperAnalysis for complete relational OLAP services, a new audit logging/compliance feature and multi-tenancy capabilities. Administrators gain greater manageability, control and visibility into the Jaspersoft BI platform with these advanced features. This bundle of products and features are exclusively available today in the Enterprise Edition.

My next post will begin my drill into the Jaspersoft 3.7 platform features listed above. I’ll start with the advanced in-memory analysis capabilities. As always, I look forward to your comments, questions and feedback!

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A BI Milestone: Jaspersoft 3.7 and New Enterprise Edition

Today marks an important day in the BI industry: for the first time, CIOs and IT managers can get all of the most powerful BI features in one package at an affordable price. Of course, such an advancement should be delivered by an open source BI vendor.

Jaspersoft is unveiling two things today: Jaspersoft 3.7, which is our new BI platform release, and Jaspersoft Enterprise Edition, which is a new and complete packaging of our most advanced BI products and features.

Jaspersoft 3.7 includes significant enhancements to major feature areas such as in-memory analysis, Data Warehouse certifications and Flash-based visualization. And the new Enterprise Edition is packaged and priced for customers of any size who are dealing with complex BI challenges and advanced workloads, but are too smart to over-spend on an aged, proprietary BI product.

This product announcement is important because it’s been driven more than ever by our discussions with enterprise-class customers and by community sentiment about the challenges they face. And, I’ve written previously about some of the major industry trends that are now obvious and create a new market reality, including the explosion of data and the new economics of IT. In fact, Roger Burkhardt, CEO of Ingres, and his team have been talking about the new economics of IT as a trend for some time. Here’s what Roger has to say about this Jaspersoft product announcement:

"We are thrilled to see Jaspersoft respond to the demands of their customers by introducing a new powerful Enterprise Edition with advanced BI functionality. At Ingres, we are believers in the democratization of business intelligence as part of a larger trend to embed intelligence and collaboration deep into the organization. Open source software, in particular Ingres Database and Jaspersoft 3.7, provides a far less expensive, faster and easier path to value, even for advanced customer requirements.”

In total, these trends bring the often-sought-after smaller enterprises to our door in increasing numbers. A lot of large enterprises use Jaspersoft today, but we’re seeing small and medium-sized business want our wares for increasingly complex BI projects. Today’s news directly impacts this SME audience by providing advanced BI support at a price and overall investment level that can’t be beat. We call it “enterprise-class BI for organizations of any size”.

Starting tomorrow, I will post a short blog that outlines some of the major new features included in this new product release. Then, I’ll follow that with one post per week through the end of this month, each more fully describing one of the major feature advancements. Follow along and you’ll see why this is an important day for BI.

As always, I welcome your comments.

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Calling All "Jeopardy!" Geeks (and maybe some BI Geeks, too)...

Guest Post from Mike Boyarski, Director of Product Marketing, Jaspersoft

Thanks to Brian for letting me announce our BI Jeopardy contest on his blog.

We’re preparing for a really big 2010 and are kicking it off next week with a significant product announcement. If you’ve been following any of our Twitter feeds (Jaspersoft, Brian Gentile, Mike Boyarski), you know we can barely keep our mouths shut about it.

We wanted to find a way to ignite that same kind of energy this year among our online community of customers, partners, analysts and reporters, and thought what better way to kick it off than to have some good plain fun this month!

Starting today and for the next four weeks, we will be playing BI Jeopardy on our @jaspersoft Twitter feed. Taking a page from Alex Trebek, we will put out an “answer” every Tuesday and Thursday. Each person to reply to Jaspersoft via Twitter using our handle (@jaspersoft) with the correct “question” will be entered into a drawing for an iPod Nano. You can only be entered into the drawing once per answer and question, so that’s two opportunities to be entered per week. The drawing will take place on February 1.

Even better - - you don’t have to necessarily get the “question” right to be entered into the drawing. We will choose one person each day who uses the #jasperBIjeopardy hashtag to enter into the drawing. So hashtag away! And everyone who qualifies for the drawing gets a Jaspersoft t-shirt. Doesn’t get much better ☺

Mike Boyarski
Director of Product Marketing

Monday, January 4, 2010

Prediction for 2010 #4: New Leadership in Open Source

I believe the landscape of open source companies will substantially change in the next year with continued acquisitions, one IPO and some new upstarts becoming high flyers. Some may wonder if a return to a stronger economy will spell softer times for open source software, meaning: will IT organizations and developers return to the sinful spending of the past? I say absolutely not. The benefits of the open source model are too well-aligned with the new needs of IT and developers to be so easily abandoned.

So, the now-legitimate open source model combined with a return to a stronger economy will lead to even better growth and financial results for leading open source companies. In this sense, the strong and well-built open source companies will get stronger: Ingres, Alfresco, SugarCRM, Talend and Jaspersoft, for example, will reach new heights.

And, relative open source newcomers who can substantially disrupt in their sector will make big gains as well. I believe these up-and-comers will gain new and deserved center stage profile.

Lastly, I also believe that some even earlier-stage open source software companies will come on the scene strongly, becoming the new “ones to watch”, starting this year.

The Open Source Center Stage

Watch for these companies to break away, driving real disruption in their sectors.

Acquia – the commercial open source extension of the Drupal project is doing for web content management what Alfresco is already doing in the enterprise content management. Have you heard of a substantial web site being built recently that wasn’t using Drupal? Acquia stands to gain handily from this trend.

MindTouch – with fierce and varied competition in the wiki collaboration space, it’s clearly a tricky segment to pick a winner. But MindTouch has managed to make huge inroads to serve both open source and commercial communities with its open core business model. And it has differentiated its product with both a service-oriented architecture, key for mashing up content with other systems, and with its friendly GUI designed for business users.

Wavemaker – 2010 just might be the year to crown WaveMaker the “PowerBuilder for the web” (a reference to the most successful client/server 4GL tool of the 1990s). Building and deploying advanced, web-based apps quickly and efficiently is critical to the next-generation internet and Wavemaker just may hold the key.

The Newest Ones to Watch

You may not have heard of these companies yet, but I bet you will in 2010.

BonitaSoft – after years of design and development to provide a commercial open source business process management system, this product won the Open Innovation Award in Paris in 2009.

Lucid Imagination – an enterprise search tool, built on the remarkably popular Lucene engine and financed by notable investors, it’s hard to see where this will go wrong.

zAgile – finally a commercial open source tool that enables collaborative software engineering, this product should expand the market led by CollabNet and many proprietary options (including IBM, Oracle, Borland and Microsoft). Looks like some disruption is coming soon.

In 2010, the open source software landscape will continue to shift and change, but you can count on consistently strong innovation and disruption. Which companies do you think I’ve missed? Who will make a new open source mark in 2010? Your comments are welcome.

Brian Gentile
Chief Executive Officer