Pentaho open sources 'big data' integration tools under Apache 2.0

Tooling related to NoSQL databases, Hadoop and MapReduce will become available at no charge

BI vendor Pentaho is open sourcing a number of tools related to "big data" in the 4.3 release of its Kettle data-integration platform and has moved the project overall to the Apache 2.0 license, the company announced Monday.

While Kettle had always been available in a community edition at no charge, the tools being open sourced were previously only available in the company's commercialized edition. They include integrations for Hadoop's file system and MapReduce as well as connectors to NoSQL databases such as Cassandra and MongoDB.

Those technologies are some of the most popular tools associated with the analysis of "big data," an industry buzzword referring to the ever-larger amounts of unstructured information being generated by websites, sensors and other sources, along with transactional data from enterprise applications.

The big data components will still be offered as part of a commercial package, Pentaho Business Analytics Enterprise Edition, which bundles in tech support maintenance and additional functionality, said Doug Moran, company co-founder and big data product manager.

Kettle's big data features provide visual tools that can greatly boost developer productivity by cutting down on the amount of code they need to write to work with MapReduce, NoSQL data stores and other technologies, according to Pentaho. They also deliver a "super-easy on-ramp" to Pentaho's BI suite, the company added.

The move to the Apache 2.0 license from LPGL makes sense, since major big data projects like Hadoop already use it, said Forrester Research analyst James Kobielus. Therefore, life should get simpler from a licensing perspective for developers running big data projects that incorporate multiple technologies.

Kettle competes with the likes of Talend Integration Suite, another open-source offering that has also added support for big data platforms, including Hadoop.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is

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