Pentaho is one of the big open source players in the business intelligence landscape. They were only founded in 2004 but have quickly risen to become a recognized BI vendor.

They’ve expanded from the US into the European market, where the appetite for open-source BI seems to be higher, although its gaining in the US market as well. They’ve had some impressive wins over the big BI vendors, including Oracle, IBM, and SAP. While they are still small compared to the megavendors, the continued and increasing popularity of open source software will make them a bigger contender going forward as more and more companies investigate it.

Although the company was only founded recently, the BI architecture had been created earlier and in a few different forms. They were the first to really pull the pieces together to form a full BI suite, although the backend is still a little separated. This includes ETL, OLAP reporting analysis, dashboards, data integration and even data mining. While they use open source, most of the software developers are in fact employees, which allows them to manage the product direction and contributions to a great extent. They are one of the few open-source full BI suite providers and offer some interesting extras, such as quick proof of concepts and hosted solutions.

While they are an open source vendor, and the software is free, the value added services and support is definitely a licensed extra. The Enterprise Edition has the additional add-ons and extensions beyond the free Community version. Their OLAP engine is based on the Mondrian platform, which is pretty well established in the open source BI landscape. They also offer training, support, and consulting services beyond their software add-ons. The open source platform gives a lot of flexibility and customization options, which their consulting team can assist with as well.

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