Open-source business intelligence firm gets funding

As further evidence of the expanding role of open source applications in enterprise data centers, Pentaho, a start-up that builds open-source business intelligence software, announced last week that it has received US$5 million in series A funding.

The round was led by New Enterprise Associates, which already has investments in several open source-based companies, including CRM specialist SugarCRM, XenSource, which markets and supports open source server virtualization software, and security firm SourceFire.

Geneva, Switzerland-based Index Ventures also participated in the round, adding Pentaho to a list of open source investments that includes database firm MySQL and application framework specialists Zend Technologies and Trolltech.

With Linux now a mainstream operating system in data centers, IT managers are taking the next step with open source by deploying community-developed applications higher up the stack. Support for Pentaho is good news for end users because it adds business intelligence to the list of lower-cost alternatives to proprietary software, analysts say.

The startup was founded by a handful of industry veterans involved with business intelligence products from companies such as Cognos, Hyperion, IBM and Oracle. Business intelligence software is used to dig information out of databases and present it to end users in a useful, organized way.

Like most open source companies, Pentaho builds its product on top of open source code and then sells services and support around that software.

Business Objects, Cognos and Hyperion are some of the leading proprietary business intelligence vendors. JasperSoft and Greenplum offer open source-based reporting tools and the Eclipse Foundation has a business intelligence project underway.

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