JasperSoft Claims Most Widely Deployed BI Tool

JasperSoft, the open-source business intelligence vendor, is claiming that it is now the world's most widely deployed BI product.

"That will probably come as a surprise to a lot of people," said CEO Brian Gentile.

The San Francisco company claims its core product has been downloaded more than 3 million times, and that it has 65,000 registered developers, greater than 80,000 "production deployments," 300-plus projects ongoing at JasperForge.org, and more than 8,000 commercial customers in 96 countries.

Observers of the BI space said the company's popularity claims should be viewed in the proper light.

"The key here is open source (free) vs. commercial license implementations," said Forrester Research analyst Boris Evelson via e-mail. "I don't really track open source BI that closely, since it's usually used by developers to embed some portion of the code in other applications. The commercial version of JasperSoft (that comes with support, upgrades, documentation and a few features not available under open source license) is far from being the most widely deployed in the world."

David O'Connell, an analyst with Nucleus Research, also said reality may differ from what the company's numbers suggest. "They're open source and have tons of downloads from developers, but I wonder how many BI end-users are out there," he said Friday. "Nucleus interviews lots of companies that have deployed BI. We always ask who they considered when they bought, and JasperSoft has never come up."

By "production deployments," JasperSoft means instances where an organization has taken one or more of its products and put it into some type of production use, Gentile said.

Nick Halsey, vice president of marketing at JasperSoft, said 30 percent of the company's 8,000 commercial customers are in the Fortune 500/Global 2000 category, while the remaining 70 percent lies in the midmarket. "'With larger companies you can guarantee they have more than one BI tool," he acknowledged, but added, "in the midmarket there's a significantly higher chance we're the first BI tool they've used."

The company said it also has integrations or OEM (original equipment manufacturer) relationships with a number of open-source relational database management systems (RDBMS), including Ingres, EnterpriseDB, MySQL and Greenplum Bizgres.

Gentile repeatedly cited the scope and strength of JasperSoft's developer base. To that end, the company is set to release a tool for tracking the health of an open-source community, under the Creative Commons license.

The Community Vibrancy Index derives a health score by weighing a broad series of metrics, including an open-source project's ranking on Sourceforge, the number of related forum posts and the number of downloads. "We tried to get more scientific about how we measured the health of the community," Gentile said.

In addition, the company is set to release a number of upgrades to the community edition of its BI suite. The features include a Flash exporter for working with Adobe's Flex development environment and support for the JSR-168 portal integration standard. The company also said its software now has support for more than 20 languages.

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