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May 5, 2010

Pentaho gears up for cloud, on-premise migrations

Commercial open source business intelligence vendor Pentaho is gearing up to make a much stronger push in the area of Software as a Service (SaaS) thanks in part to its acquisition of SaaS player LucidEra in October of last year, CBR has learned.

By Jason Stamper

Rob Beardon, executive chairman of Pentaho’s board, told us: “We’re at the stage where the entire BI suite can be deployed on-premise, or hosted in a SaaS fashion. The Pentaho technology was built with the cloud in mind, and the LucidEra acquisition gave Pentaho the multi-tenancy that you need for SaaS.”

Pentaho already has a Cloud Computing Edition of its BI suite which can be hosted on the likes of the Amazon EC2 cloud. But Beardon suggested that the LucidEra technology is being put to work to make Pentaho’s business intelligence even more digestible for companies wishing to run it in SaaS mode.

Confirming that there is a couple of major announcements coming from the firm shortly, Pentaho’s VP marketing Joe McGonnell told CBR: “Our goal is to provide flexibility as to how Pentaho is deployed, and in particular to make it easy for people to move from on-premise to cloud [deployment], or from cloud deployment to on-premise. We’ll be offering the tools to let them do that.”

McGonnell insisted that the cloud offerings will be the same code base as the on-premise products, rather than offering a ‘lite’ version for cloud deployments. “We’ll use the VMware architecture to enable you to take what you have and move it on-premise or take on-premise and move it to the cloud but it’s the same product. There was an announcement from SAP in this area recently but what you find is that the cloud offering is a lighter weight version and as you start to try and scale up you may need to move to a different on-premise version.”

In tandem with the imminent cloud developments, Pentaho is accelerating its activities outside of its domestic US market, with the hiring of a new VP of sales in EMEA and a roadshow planned that will take in five European countries.

Pentaho announced Vinay Joosery as its new VP of sales in EMEA. Formerly at Oracle and MySQL, Joosery will be based in Stockholm and responsible for the firm’s sales growth in Europe. Joosery told CBR that his biggest challenge in his new role is likely to be “hiring the best people”: the company is planning to triple its staff outside the US in the next six to nine months.

The firm, which has headquarters in Orlando, Florida, also announced the appointment of Joe Nicholson in the role of VP product marketing worldwide. Nicholson has previously worked at Trintech, DecisionPoint and Informatica.

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Pentaho claims to have around 800 paying customers. But its ‘commercial open source’ model means that it knows of at least 8,000 organisations that are using its BI in production but have so far chosen not to pay the annual subscription for support, maintenance or the plethora of bells and whistles not available in the free Community Edition.

Lars Nordwall, global head of sales at the firm, told CBR yesterday that the firm may see a number of customers opting to move from the on-premise deployment model to a SaaS model over time. He said that the firm’s current pricing model – an annual subscription – puts Pentaho in a good position to adapt to this new business model, but he conceded that the firm is still working out exactly how to price its technology for SaaS customers.

There are expected to be official announcements around Pentaho’s capabilities in migrating from on-premise to cloud later this month and in June.

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