Information Builders gives its BI platform more cloud-like capabilities

Multitenancy and increased security measures are aimed at ISVs that want to resell the WebFocus BI tools in SaaS form

Information Builders has added a range of improvements to its WebFocus BI (business intelligence) platform that will make it more appealing to ISVs and other providers that want to offer it as a cloud service, the company announced Monday.

First off, the company has introduced support for multitenant deployments, a software architecture common in cloud applications that allows a provider to serve many customers from a single application instance, as well as scale the service on demand.

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New security functions provide fine-grained control over which elements of the WebFocus platform are accessible by customers. This allows providers to "differentiate and monetize their reporting service by selectively offering features such as ad-hoc reporting, report scheduling, end-user content sharing and delegated administration," Information Builders said in a statement.

Other security improvements allow a system user's role and data sources to be integrated with LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol) groups.

Information Builders has also created "tenant onboarding templates" that are meant to get new customers live on the system more quickly.

Forrester Research Vice President Boris Evelson had a measured reaction to Information Builders' announcement.

"It's all of the details behind 'multitenancy' that really matter," he said via email. "Do not equate multitenancy with ability to support multiple projects, multiple applications, multiple departments within the same enterprise. All BI tools can do that."

"But there's always an administrator function who has access to everything," he added. "In a true multitenant environment, there now has to be an individual single tenant administrator and an uber administrator."

"That's a significant redesign and rearchitecture for most traditional BI vendors. If [Information Builders] has indeed achieved that, that's great," Evelson said.

WebFocus 8 is based on a redesigned database repository that incorporates "a new hierarchical addressing scheme called Information Builders File System (IBFS) and which is fully integrated with our new security subsystem," said Jim Thorstad, technical director at Information Builders.

The system provides full isolation of tenant users and administrators within a shared WebFocus environment that is managed overall by the provider, he said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com.

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