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1/20/2010
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Jaspersoft Enterprise Boosts Cloud Options

The business intelligence suite introduces multi-tenancy capabilities that will open up novel cloud-deployment possibilities.

Firms with lots of data and sophisticated analysis needs: That's the target for an enterprise-grade suite introduced last week by open source business intelligence software vendor Jaspersoft. But in a cloud twist, the suite also introduces multi-tenancy capabilities that will open up novel cloud-deployment possibilities.

"We're seeing more enterprise IT groups getting much savvier in deployment of software-as-a-service internally," says Brian Gentile, Jaspersoft's CEO. "If you're in a big company with multiple departments, why not host the software and make it available to multiple departments through a single, multi-tenant server?"

Benefits of this approach include lower deployment and administrative cost as well as firewall security between instances of the software. "As companies expand and go multi-national and multi-product, they naturally move toward shared services environments," says Forrester analyst Boris Evelson. "Private cloud with a SaaS architecture is a perfect fit for that style of deployment."

Jaspersoft is not alone in supporting multi-tenancy, according to Evelson. But other elements of Jaspersoft Enterprise Edition that set it apart from competitors -- and the vendor's own Professional Edition -- include audit logging, relational online analytical processing (ROLAP) and supporting data integration software. Logging helps administrators optimize the system and ensure compliance with security and auditability requirements. For ROLAP and extract, transform and load integration, the Enterprise Edition includes the otherwise-optional Jasper Analysis server and JasperETL.

The Enterprise Edition is based on Jaspersoft's core platform, which saw the release of version 3.7 last week. The upgrade includes improved in-memory analysis, added Adobe Flash-based data visualizations, added certified data warehouse integration options, and a new repository search feature said to make it easier to find reports.

In-memory technology is fast becoming a must-have feature in BI software because it supports fast, multi-dimensional slicing, dicing and what-if analysis. The 3.7 upgrade improves on in-memory capabilities introduced last year by eliminating software limitations on the size of data sets that can be queried.

"The only limit is now how much memory is available in the server," Gentile says. "Users can now swivel and pivot on any dimension, including partial dimensions, they can drill into the data sources, and they can do filters and partial filters on everything held in memory."

Flash-based visualizations were previously available through the Jasper Reports module, but dozens of prebuilt charts, maps and widgets introduced in version 3.7 of the core Jasper Server can be embedded within dashboards and reports without coding.

The newly certified data warehouse integrations include InfoBright, Vertica and Greenplum, all of which offer columnar data stores. "We believe these vendors offer some of the most interesting technology for performance enhancement in analytic uses of BI," Gentile says.

Column-store databases speed querying because they can interrogate specific dimensions of data rather than scanning all data row by row, as in the leading relational database products, which Jaspersoft has already certified.

The free Community Edition of Jaspersoft 3.7 can be downloaded from the company's Web site. The Professional Edition, which includes maintenance and support, is $20,000 to $30,000 per year. The Enterprise Edition, which packages support for multi-tenancy and logging plus the ROLAP server and ETL software, starts at $30,000 to $40,000 per year, including maintenance and support.

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