January 27, 2009

Introduction to Pentaho

I finally caught up with Pentaho, which along with Jaspersoft is one of the two most visible open source business intelligence companies, Actuate perhaps excepted. Highlights included:

The briefing included one of the better slide decks I’ve seen in a while, which Pentaho gave me permission to share (in somewhat abbreviated form) here. In particular, Pentaho provided customer examples illustrating most of the use cases cited above.

Pentaho facts and figures include:


7 Responses to “Introduction to Pentaho”

  1. Pete on January 28th, 2009 4:36 am

    another small unreasonable fact from the Pentaho power point: “On The Record” – Public Wins Over Proprietary BI” and then it appears US Navy had replaced Oracle BI, BO and Cognos with Pentaho

  2. Neil Hepburn on January 28th, 2009 3:26 pm

    I’ve been using Pentaho Data Integration for some time now.
    For an open source ETL tool it’s quite impressive. What I like most about it, is how transparent it is. Even the repository itself is modeled as a relational database that sits in our MySQL DB.

    I have run into the odd bug, but the source and bug tracking are transparent, it’s easy to establish the problem and move forward with workarounds.

    After using Open Source software for a while I’ve become accustomed to this transparency and am beginning to prefer it over traditional software.

  3. Curt Monash on January 28th, 2009 7:06 pm


    I’m guessing based on your email address you have a small consulting/SI firm. Have you used Pentaho at multiple installations? And have you ever had to actually pay them for it, or do the free options totally suffice? 🙂



  4. Lance on January 30th, 2009 3:02 pm

    Hi Curt and Pete,

    Apologies if we caused any confusion, but it’s worth clarifying a couple of points.

    – The “wins over proprietary BI” are wins over proprietary BI. Some of them are replacements, but the majority are competitive wins for [new] projects, and we try to be clear about that although it’s not totally obvious in the slide. And we don’t count something as a “win” just because the customer mentions another vendor, only if they tell us that they were seriously considering selecting that vendor.

    – Download numbers can frequently be misleading in a general sense in open source. It’s good to have high downloads, and to see downloads growing, especially when you’re getting started as an open source project as we were 4 years ago. But these days, we actively try to reduce “download inflation” by bundling multiple modules into a single install, making it clearer what people do and don’t need, etc. But as I said, not something that is unique to Pentaho from my conversations with others in open source.

    – Data mining isn’t as mainstream as traditional Query, Reporting, and Analysis in the BI market generally, but it’s definitely an important part of our offering. The UK National Health Service is a good real-world example. That said, a lot of the use is either in academia, or is considered too competitively sensitive for companies to talk publicly about from the ones that we have approached for case studies, so we don’t have as many for that as we do for other products or our BI Suite.

    Thanks again for the conversation, Curt.


  5. Nick Halsey on February 27th, 2009 5:53 pm

    Hi Curt,
    I feel the need to clarify one point here, Pentaho’s statement that “As an example of technical breadth, Pentaho says that its Mondrian OLAP engine is used by Jaspersoft.” In point of fact, Mondrian is a shared project who’s copyrights are owned by many individuals and organizations, including Sherman Wood, the BI architect at Jaspersoft. Sherman has been a committer for Mondrian since before Pentaho “adopted” the project, and while they have done a great job of creating the impression they “own” the project, they do not. Julian Hyde, the Mondrian project lead, does some work for them, but spends most of his time as founder and Chief Architect at SQL*Stream. I agree that Lance does a fabulous job of marketing for the company, but on this point I take umbrage.
    sorry I missed you at TDWI,

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