Bright future for Linux in business intelligence

Deal with Red Hat makes Business Objects the latest industry player to come out in support of open source

Linux has developed to an extent where it can be relied on in high-profile, business critical applications such as business intelligence, according to Business Objects, one of the leading vendors in the BI space.

Business Objects announced on Tuesday that it has signed a "global alliance agreement" with Red Hat. Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will jointly market and sell business intelligence software on the Red Hat Linux platform.

Both companies claimed they have seen an increase in customer demand for enterprise applications that support Linux, which they backed up with research from analysts at IDC.

"There is a rising interest in Linux-based business intelligence solutions and over the next five years we expect to see Linux drive significant growth in BI revenues," according to Dan Vesset, a research director at IDC, in a statement. Vesset said he expects the Linux market for BI tools to grow at a compound annual rate of 65 percent between 2005 and 2009, much faster than the industry average.

According to Business Objects, Linux has the capability "to support mission-critical applications such as business intelligence" and "offers companies a way to lower their total cost of ownership, in an easy to use environment, while maintaining a high level of security and performance".

Business Objects and Red Hat claimed to have worked closely to optimise the performance of BI tools on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform.

"Over the past 3 years, Linux has established itself as a standard platform for enterprise computing," said Tim Yeaton, vice-president of marketing at Red Hat. "In addition to compute intensive workloads such as ERP, CRM and databases, business intelligence is an area that will be able to leverage the price/performance benefits of Linux."

This move by Business Objects is one of a number of recent announcements from major software and hardware vendors who are now backing Linux in mission-critical applications.

In October, high-availability computing vendors, Stratus, announced it was entering the Linux market. Earlier this month, Microsoft said its latest Virtual Server software would include Linux support, and Unisys declared that open source is now "a mature technology" and the right, cost-effective option for many companies.