The whole point of using business intelligence applications is to get better insight out of data, a task made easier by better engaging end users. Given this, the ability to visualize and interact with data is a key focus for open source business intelligence vendor Jaspersoft in its latest 4.7 release out today.
"What we've done in Jasper 4.7 is introduce interactivity into the reporting server," said Karl Van den Bergh, Jaspersoft’s VP of Product and Alliances.
Van den Bergh added that the application now offers a self-service approach to customizing business intelligence reports instead of relying on administrator-built templates.
More Big Data Analysis
The interactive report building is also being extended to new Big Data sources, including the open source MongoDB NoSQL database. The new MongoDB support enables Jasper users to connect directly to MongoDB and report on data coming from that source.
The MongoDB database is backed by commercial vendor 10gen, though Van den Bergh said there was no direct commercial relationship between Jaspersoft and 10gen for the new MongoDB support.
Enabling Big Data business intelligence is not a new area for JasperSoft. The Jasper 4.5 release in December of 2011 provided initial support for Hadoop as a source of Big Data intelligence.
"We don't care what the source of the data is; it could be Hadoop, it could be MongoDB or it could be a traditional database," Van den Bergh said.
Big Data sources by definition are "big" and as such can represent a performance challenge when it comes to business intelligence analysis. Jasper 4.7's new data snapshot architecture, which caches data locally behind a report so that it can be accessed faster, helps minimize such performance issues.
Van den Bergh said Jaspersoft has also improved its in-memory engine. "We now have another layer of caching at the report level, so if there are a lot of users interacting with a lot of reports, you now have local user caches for those reports," he said
While JasperSoft thus far has not focused on clustering deployments for processing large data sets, Van den Bergh said that introducing a clustering component of some type will make sense for Jaspersoft in the near future.
Jasper 4.7 is currently available as a commercial release. The free open source edition is set to debut in three to four weeks. Unlike the enterprise release, the open source edition will not provide users with the ability to create their own Web-based dashboards or to perform in-memory analysis.