Jaspersoft BI suite gets a new visualization engine

The Jaspersoft 5.0 business intelligence package will visualize data through Web standard technologies, not Adobe Flash

With the commercial release of version 5 of its self-named reporting and analysis suite, Jaspersoft has revamped the software's visualization engine, doing away with an Adobe Flash-based visualization engine in favor of one using HTML5 Web standards.

The "HTML5 charting engine allows for more dynamic interaction with the data," said Mike Boyarski, Jaspersoft director of product marketing.

The newly released Jaspersoft 5.0 also comes with enhanced in-memory capabilities and a new data visualization tool as well.

With the new visualization engine, "the charts can be interacted with and visualized on any sort of device. We are not beholden to the Flash technology," Boyarski said, referring to how material rendered in Adobe Flash can not be rendered on Apple's mobile products such as the iPhone and the iPad.

The business intelligence (BI) software can shape data into bar charts, line charts, area charts, pie charts, column charts and others. Users can zoom from the initial summary information down to the data itself. "You can lasso parts of a chart, and zoom into them to get more detail," Boyarski said.

The new visualization engine will also allow visualizations to be more easily embedded into other online applications. For instance, a user can embed a chart on an external portal.

Jaspersoft 5.0 also improved its columnar in-memory engine, which caches the results of queries in a server's memory so it can be retrieved much more quickly on subsequent uses. The update allows up to a terabyte of query data to be stored in memory. "You can look at a large amount of data very quickly," Boyarski said.

The update also allows users to fuse multiple relational data sources into a single view. "I can connect to two independent sources and combine them to create a single view, so it appears to the tool as if it were a single database," Boyarski said. In some cases, this "data virtualization," as Boyarski calls this feature, can eliminate the need for separate ETL (extract, transform and load) tools and data warehouses.

Over time, Jaspersoft plans to extend data virtualization to not only relational database but to non-relational data stores as well, such as data managed by the Apache Hadoop data processing platform, Boyarski said.

Jaspersoft 5 is a commercial edition of Jaspersoft's open source business intelligence software. Jaspersoft plans to release an updated version of open-source software as well, though it will not include the new visualization engine, data virtualization nor the updated in-memory story, Boyarski said. cost-wise, Jaspersoft 5.0 starts at US$10,000 per processor core, with an unlimited number of users.

Jaspersoft is not the only open-source BI vendor to update its flagship product. Last week, Pentaho announced the release of Pentaho Business Analytics Enterprise Edition 4.8, which includes new features such as big data viewer, and a mobile extension that allows users to create ad hoc queries from an Apple iPad.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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