"Just as the initial wave of Web-based BI tools lacked the same functionality as their desktop brethren, the initial wave of open source BI tools will be feature-limited," said Doug Laney, CEO of analyst firm Evalubase. "Enterprises really should ask themselves whether they want to be in the BI-tool-building-business or not."
Customers were mixed in reaction to Laney's last point.
One was more than willing at least to give open source reporting tools a close inspection. The problem up until now appears to have been lack of product.
John Durai, senior Oracle DBA at Genencor International, a biotech company, said Genencor is implementing all of Red Hat's tools on the West Coast, and in Rochester, N.Y., its other division is doing the same with Suse.
"We would definitely try open source BI reporting, we just haven't seen any yet," Durai said.
On the other hand, Hap Cluff, director of IT at the City of Norfolk, Va. said although they now have a Linux partition on their mainframe, not many open source application vendors can meet the stringent requirements laid out in one of their RFPs.
"The open source market doesn't have the established references that we require, or the resources," Cluff said.
Commercial stalwart SAS Institute last week unveiled an interim release of its BI Enterprise Server 9, with enhancements to Web Report Studio including OLAP storage and mapping capabilities such as cubes for multidimensional, relational, or hybrid viewing. To compete with lower-cost BI vendors, Enterprise BI Server will include SAS OLAP Server and OLAP clients at no additional cost.