Jim Goodnight on Open Source- and why he is right -sigh

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Jim Goodnight – grand old man and Godfather of the Cosa Nostra of the BI/Database Analytics software industry said recently on open source in BI (btw R is generally termed in business analytics and NOT business intelligence software so these remarks were more apt to Pentaho and Jaspersoft )

Asked whether open source BI and data integration software from the likes of Jaspersoft, Pentaho and Talend is a growing threat, [Goodnight] said: “We haven’t noticed that a lot. Most of our companies need industrial strength software that has been tested, put through every possible scenario or failure to make sure everything works correctly.”

quotes from Jim Goodnight are courtesy Jason’s  story here:

and the Pentaho follow-up reaction is here




While you can rage and screech- here is the reality in terms of market share-

From Merv Adrian-‘s excellent article on market shares in BI


The first, labeled BI Platforms, is drawn fromGartner Market Share Analysis: Business Intelligence, Analytics and Performance Management Software, Worldwide, 2009, published May 2010 , and Gartner Dataquest Market Share: Business Intelligence, Analytics and Performance Management Software, Worldwide, 2009.


Advanced Analytics category.


so whats the performance of Talend, Pentaho and Jaspersoft

From http://www.dbms2.com/category/products-and-vendors/talend/

It seems that Talend’s revenue was somewhat shy of $10 million in 2008.

and Talend itself says


Additional 2009 highlights include:

  • Achieved record revenue, more then doubling from 2008. The fourth quarter of 2009 was Talend’s tenth consecutive quarter of growth.
  • Grew customer base by 140% to over 1,000 customers, up from 420 at the end of 2008. Of these new customers, over 50% are Fortune 1000 companies.
  • Total downloads reached seven million, with over 300,000 users of the open source products.
  • Talend doubled its staff, increasing to 200 global employees. Continuing this trend, Talend has already hired 15 people in 2010 to support its rapid growth.

now for Jaspersoft numbers


Highlights include:

  • Revenue run rate in the double-digit millions.
  • 40% sequential growth most recent quarter. (I didn’t ask whether there was any reason to suspect seasonality.)
  • 130% annual revenue growth run rate.
  • “Not quite” profitable.
  • Several hundred commercial subscribers, at an average of $25K annually per, including >100 in Europe.
  • 9,000 paying customers of some kind.
  • 100,000+ total deployments, “very conservatively,” counting OEMs as one deployment each and not double-counting for OEMs’ customers. (Nick said Business Objects quotes 45,000 deployments by the same standards.)
  • 70% of revenue from the mid-market, defined as $100 million – $1 billion revenue. 30% from bigger enterprises. (Hmm. That begs a couple of questions, such as where OEM revenue comes in, and whether <$100 million enterprises were truly a negligible part of revenue.)

and for Pentaho numbers-


and http://www.monash.com/uploads/Pentaho-January-2009.pdf

suggests there are far far away from the top 5-6 vendors in BI

and a special mention  for postgreSQL– which is a non Profit but is seriously denting Oracle/MySQL


Limit Value
Maximum Database Size Unlimited
Maximum Table Size 32 TB
Maximum Row Size 1.6 TB
Maximum Field Size 1 GB
Maximum Rows per Table Unlimited
Maximum Columns per Table 250 – 1600 depending on column types
Maximum Indexes per Table Unlimited

and leading vendor is EnterpriseDB which is again IBM-partnering as well as IBM funded




suggest it is still in early stages.


So what do we conclude-

1) There is a complete lack of transparency in open source BI market shares as almost all these companies are privately held and do not disclose revenues.

2) What may be a pure play open source company may actually be a company funded by a big BI vendor (like Revolution Analytics is funded among others by Intel-Microsoft) and EnterpriseDB has IBM as an investor.MySQL and Sun of course are bought by Oracle

The degree of control by proprietary vendors on open source vendors is still not disclosed- whether they are holding a stake for strategic reasons or otherwise.

3) None of the Open Source Vendors are even close to a 1 Billion dollar revenue number.

Jim Goodnight is pointing out market reality when he says he has not seen much impact (in terms of market share). As for the rest of his remarks, well he’s got a job to do as CEO and thats talk up his company and trash the competition- which he as been doing for 3 decades and unlikely to change now unless there is severe market share impact. Unless you expect him to notice companies less than 5% of his size in revenue.




Author: Ajay Ohri


7 thoughts on “Jim Goodnight on Open Source- and why he is right -sigh”

  1. Ajay,

    I know why Goodnight said what he said. He is the CEO of his own company. His has a significant market share to defend from these upstart commercial open source BI vendors.

    His statement was aimed straight at CEOs, CIOs and CFOs of large companies who know very little about what open source really means but are learning more about commercial open source BI software. They’ve done some back of the envelope calculations and started to think: “Hmm. There are significant cost savings to be made here. I wonder if this commercial open source BI stuff is any good?”

    Along comes Goodnight with a big bucket of fear, uncertainty and doubt and says: “Oh, wait a minute Mr or Ms CxO. That open source stuff may look like it’s better value on the surface but it’s not the sort of software a large company like “yours” would buy. The quality can’t be as high as “real” software. Did you know any hack developer can write code for open source software? It may not be tested properly. I wouldn’t risk it if I were you.”

    Yes. If I was him I probably would have said the same thing but that would not make my statement any less disingenuous.

  2. A bit cheeky to quote from my interview with Jim Goodnight and not even grace me with a link 😉

    Your quotes from Jim Goodnight are courtesy my story here:

    and my Pentaho follow-up is here


    Could you possibly add the links to your article where relevant?

    Interesting follow-up, by the way.

  3. You post is great to the extent it provides an excellent, well-referenced good summary of the market share of open source BI vendors relative to the large, mainstream BI vendors. It does not however address what I believe the is the most important aspect of Goodnight’s statement, namely; “industrial strength software that has been tested, put through every possible scenario or failure to make sure everything works correctly”.

    Goodnight is saying that open source BI software is not of high enough quality or robust enough to be used by by large enterprises. Goodnight is either being disingenuous for marketing purposes or is genuinely ill-informed about open source software. Of course something being open source does not automatically ensure quality but large commercial open source packages tend to have robust relatively good quality control processes that are as good as large commercial vendors.

    I wonder if Goodnight has the same view of all open source software. If so I wonder what web server the sas.com web site uses? I wonder if it is based on Apache – you know that open source piece of junk that powers the majority of web sites on the web.

  4. Dr. Goodnight is a brilliant man, I can’t believe he has not heard of the innovator’s dilemma because that’s what his statement implies. Disruptive tech like open source stats, BI etc. always start off with far fewer bells & whistles (not to mention industry level stamps of approval and testing) but slowly move up the trajectory of customer needs. I have no doubt that SAS and other major players are keeping a close eye on how this market plays out wrt open source options, their public statements notwithstanding.

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