Open-source business intelligence vendor Jaspersoft has launched what it claims is the first fully featured pay-by-the-hour BI service in the cloud.
The ability to offer periodic subscriptions in this way is down to the cloud platform on which Jaspersoft has based its on-demand BI solution - Amazon Web Services (AWS) - and particularly the RedShift cloud datawarehouse, which was unveiled to the public by Amazon on the same date - 14 February.
"We are one of just a handful of solutions selected by Amazon for the RedShift launch," Jaspersoft's worldwide head of alliances Ben Connors told Computing.
"Jaspersoft focuses on imbedded intelligence with low latency and high scalability. RedShift fits perfectly because of its scalability and near real-time analytics capability. It's also great for our big data capability."
Connors said that existing AWS users with databases and applications already hosted in the Amazon cloud were the obvious customer base.
"For an AWS user, the time from the moment they take the decision to [use Jaspersoft] to the moment when they make their first query is under 10 minutes. They just have to select Jaspersoft from the marketplace and spin up an instance.
"We have an auto-discovery system. For example, a customer might already have an Oracle, SQL Server or MySQL database running on the Amazon cloud. When they add Jaspersoft, we will auto-discover all the data sources in their AWS account and we will pre-populate those into their Jaspersoft application. Then they just have to click to choose which ones they want to use to create their report," Connors said.
For those that wish to keep some or all of their data on site - which given the reluctance of many to host data on a public cloud might be a considerable number - Connors conceded that it will take longer to get up and running with Jaspersoft on the Amazon cloud, although Amazon does provide tools to enable this scenario.
"You do not need to move into the Amazon cloud, although we expect that this will be the most common use case. You can keep your data locally and extend it via the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). In this, Amazon has created an infrastructure that enables the Amazon cloud to participate behind the firewall of your system.
"In practical terms, although it works, it may take some time to send the data over the network, especially for large data sets. Amazon provides services to accommodate that called AWS Import/Export. You send your data on a physical device to Amazon, they plug it in a rack. That's how people bulk load terabytes of data rather than shipping them over the network. So you can either keep your data on-site and access it from there, or move it to AWS for better performance and availability."
By offering the service on a pay-as-you-go basis, Jaspersoft hopes to attract smaller organisations that lack the sort of capital expenditure needed for an enterprise BI system by the likes of Oracle, SAS and IBM.
"[AWS] give us the ability to provide the business intelligence on an hourly basis, linking to relational data sources and big data all under one umbrella. We think it's going to open up the market to small SMBs who might not be able to afford a BI solution upfront. This low-risk, fast-to-deploy model makes embedded BI much more accessible."
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