Archive for the ‘Open Source BI’ Category
Julian Hyde has just announced the release of version 1.0 of olap4j, the open Java API for OLAP, on his blog:
I’ve been keeping an eye on this project not only because it allows Java developers to query Analysis Services via XMLA, but because I hope it will bring with it some good SSAS-compatible open source client tools. Out of the ones Julian mentions in his post, Saiku looks the most promising as far as I can see but when I have a spare moment I’d like to check them all out properly.
The only drawback with using olap4j with SSAS is that you need to configure http access to make it work, which is something most people don’t want to have to do. Hmm, wouldn’t it be nice if SSAS did this natively? Maybe it’s something that will come when we get SSAS in the cloud?
Interesting article here on Intelligent Enterprise from Seth Grimes on how SQLStream and Mondrian can be used together for real-time OLAP analysis on Twitter feeds:
More on the technical side of this from Julian Hyde’s blog earlier this year:
I’m still not convinced there’s much of a market out there for real-time OLAP (as opposed to real-time BI); after all, how many people out there are actually using pro-active caching with Analysis Services? The kind of analysis you do with an OLAP tool, looking at high-level trends in aggregated data, seems to me to be the complete opposite of BI scenarios where you need to be able to respond instantly to certain events. But maybe I’ve just not come across the right business scenarios yet.
Via Julian Hyde, I see Pentaho have released version 2.0 of their BI suite. As Julian points out in this blog entry here, one of the major new features in this release is the Pentaho Aggregate Designer, which makes it much easier to design aggregate tables for Mondrian. A quick look at the screenshot on Julian’s blog suggests that Mondrian is continuing to flatter Analysis Services by imitation (you can even see that the aggregations are being built on the Foodmart database!) – not that this is a bad thing, in fact it’s what makes Mondrian so easy to use if you’re used to Analysis Services.
So Mondrian is definitely catching up in terms of functionality… and in terms of performance, well, as Julian says "Mondrian is beholden to the RDBMS for performance" and those RDBMSes are getting ever faster. I suspect very soon more and more people are going to find that Mondrian plus an open source RDBMS (perhaps the column-store-based LucidDB, which I see already already has support for the new aggregate table designer) is going to be ‘good enough’ for many BI projects – after all, most AS implementations I see don’t involve massive amounts of data, and if Mondrian can give good query response times on a fact table of 20-50 million rows then the decision on which platform to use will be more heavily influenced by price. And what with the current financial crisis, price is going to be an ever-more important factor for many customers. I wonder how long it will be before I see MS BI consultancies starting to offer open source BI, given the relative ease with which you can transfer your cube design and MDX skills between the two platforms?
In brief, Cubulus is an analytic engine + slice&dice web interface on top of relational database (MySQL at the moment) . It caches calculated cells, and is able to parse basic MDX queries. Project is in early alpha, and runs on Mac OS X, on Windows .. and on Linux too :-)