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Birst Flaunts SaaS-Based BI Appliance

The appliance is supposed to overcome the challenges of traditional on-premise BI software solutions

Birst figures it's got the first SaaS-based BI software appliance.

The virtual appliance in Tuesday's release of Birst 5 is supposed to deliver enterprise-class BI capabilities to customers on their premises with the agility and economics of a Software-as-a-Service architecture.

The company says users can now choose how to consume its widgetry: in the Birst Cloud; in a hybrid Birst Local deployment that lets organizations keep their data on-premise while hosting the analytics in the cloud; or in a fully functional self-contained virtual appliance that encapsulates the entire Birst BI suite as a virtual machine in an on-premise deployment.

Thanks to its shared-nothing architecture, the appliance is supposed to overcome the challenges of traditional on-premise BI software solutions, enabling what the company calls "painless" horizontal scalability and upgrades in place.

Birst 5 also lets dashboard users and report developers schedule reports for delivery by e-mail. Power users can save, reuse and share sophisticated Excel-like calculations while performing ad hoc analysis and creating new reports. There's a new graphical user interface that's supposed to make logical data modeling a breeze. And OEM customers get broader and deeper integration capabilities via an enhanced Web Services API.

Birst is supposed to cost less than a third of traditional vendors and take a third of the resources to run. A basic deployment of the appliance should run $25,000 for 10 users. Birst is targeted at mid-size concerns with $50 million to a billion in revenue, folks for whom BusinessObjects, MicroStrategy or Oracle would be out of reach. The widgetry accepts any structured data such as files, databases, SAP or Salesforce.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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