I wonder that this question hasn't already been asked. Google only has very few results for me that don't show a high quality tool

What are some Open Source (also free is ok) solutions for Data Warehouses and more specifically Business Intelligence Tools? What are your experiences with them. I have had a course in my masters programm and we worked with MS Business Intelligence and MSSQL as Data Warehouse storage. Now I want to get more into this topic with tools that are "open".

Are there any compareable tools for Business Intelligence (mostly database independent) and do you have any experience with them?

edit With Marian's comment to Stephanie's answer, I see that I have formulated the question wrong. I am aware that DWH are just "reporting-optimized" databases, Stephanie's explanation was very clear on that. I am more interessted how to get the data into such optimised forms with WHAT kind of BI software/tools/other techniques.


2 Answers 2


I have been working with Pentaho for about a year now.

Pentaho is a full Open Source suite for Business Intelligence.

It's strenght is that it relies on independently managed project :

  • Pentaho Data Integration (Kettle) ->ETL
  • Pentaho Report Designer (PRD) -> Report designer
  • Mondrian -> R-OLAP cube
  • and much more..

You can use them as a whole (Pentaho BI Server) or apart.

Why would I recommend it ? The community is really active and provide plugins on a weekly basis. A group of community members provided a framework for building interactive dashboard with a click&go ui.

It is database independant. If you have some free time just take a look at it.

I did a research before using Pentaho, I did test IceCube and Palo even JasperSoft but Pentaho was from far better according to my needs.

  • There are really cool tools. I especially looked at Kettle and its quite powerfull and feature-rich. Thanks for the tip.
    – DrColossos
    Commented Mar 5, 2011 at 19:08
  • Kettle makes so much more sense than Talend, it's ridiculous Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 19:18

I think you're not understanding what is meant by datawarehouse. It's not a tool. Or an application. Or a database. It doesn't mean "big database".

You said,

we worked with MS Business Intelligence and MSSQL as Data Warehouse storage.

MSSQL wasn't just the storage for the DWH, it is the DWH.

A datawarehouse is a database which is specifically designed and optimized for reporting. You don't book transactions against it.

You can use pretty much any BI tool against that DWH. But the BI tool isn't the DWH.

Any RDBMS can be used. Some will do a better job managing size. Partitioning and Star Joins are examples of features in an RDBMS which improve very large datawarehouses but they are not required.

Cubes are usually derived from a datawarehouse and are used to quickly slice and dice various levels of aggregation along various dimensions.

Use any RDBMS you want. Understanding dimensional modeling is the real discussion.

  • 1
    Great answer, nothing to add here. But I still think he's actually searching for BI tools, not the DW itself. But it's only a guess based on his question info.
    – Marian
    Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 0:14
  • & @Marian Thanks for your comment/answer. I have slightly edited my question. I wasn't very clear with what I was asking for. I hope the edits make it clearer now.
    – DrColossos
    Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 11:05
  • @DrColossos Now it's clear, but we'll still need Stephanie here, because outside native MS tools (BI Studio and Reporting Service) I've never touched BI. Good luck finding the right tools. @Stephanie it's your turn :-).
    – Marian
    Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 12:38

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