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Red Hat is changing the game again in open source. Of course, open source itself is transforming the marketplace, but Red Hat’s recent announcement of the availability of Red Hat Exchange is a very good thing to make it even easier for more companies to take advantage of open source software with professional support.

“Business Intelligence,” as regular Pentaho-watchers know, is a fancy marketing term for capabilities that most organizations need to get more value out of their information. For example, Pentaho provides reporting capabilities that our customers use to track things like customer order volumes through different purchasing systems, to compare departmental spending to budget, or even to generate invoices to send out to their customers. For many organizations, “analysis” is the next step, where power users want to interactively “slice and dice” the data on the fly, comparing different product lines, and breaking the data out by year, month or quarter. Dashboards are a popular capability in the broader BI market these days (and by the way we have a great demo of a Pentaho dashboard integrated with Google Maps on our website) because they give people a “snapshot.” People can see key metrics in a single, simplified view, not unlike the dashboard in your car.

BI is also a classic “garbage in, garbage out” problem space, and Pentaho also provides data integration capabilities to help users integrate and rationalize data from multiple systems, to support the same reporting, analysis, and dashboards I just mentioned. Finally, we offer data mining when people have large volumes of (typically consumer) data that they want to mine for patterns and trends. And we provide a platform underneath with common services for things like scheduling, security, and integration.

In terms of how RHX will help drive open source adoption in the BI market, the importance of support, especially from a company like Red Hat just can’t be understated. Unlike a traditional, proprietary software model where a large part of a vendor’s business in based on technology lock-in and controlling access to technology, Red Hat has built a reputation that organizations can trust based on quality support and services. When people purchase via Red Hat Exchange, they know that they’re working with the leader in open source solutions, and a company with a track record of more than ten years in providing support and services around open source software. And Red Hat’s model let us deliver a tailored version of our software (known as Pentaho Reporting Pack for RHX) that’s pre-configured to easily deploy in an RHX stack, distributed and supported. I’ll tell you, it’s a “no-brainer”, especially for a small- or medium-sized company looking to get a lot of business benefits fast at a very low price-point. RHX is also a “no-brainer” for us, increasing adoption and production deployments of Pentaho under the Red Hat brand name with the size and strength of the Red Hat organization.

It’s been a big Spring for Pentaho. A few weeks ago, we announced that Pentaho’s reporting capabilities are being added to the next release of OpenOffice, one of the most popular business-user-facing open source projects of all time. And now, Red Hat is reselling Pentaho on a global basis. It’s amazing to watch the customer-friendly, community-driven model of open source changing the industry landscape like this.

Kudos to Red Hat, for demonstrating again true market leadership in open source solutions. See the blog here