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Find part 2 here

I happened to be in Las Vegas when Steve Lucas and Brad Peters gave an introduction to Birst running on the HCP during the TechEd (yeah, yeah && D-Code 😉 ) keynote. You can find the recording here:

Interesting combination which came (at least to me) as a surprise. Why on earth would Steve go on stage to give a competitor “Kudos” I thought? I believe it’s quite simple, Birst gave SAP a big opportunity to showcase the possibilities of the HCP to run 3rd party applications. Even when that meant showing competition to SAP BW and Business Objects. Honestly though, Birst is not BW, nor is it Business Objects. It can certainly be a full BI suite running in the Cloud with a multitude of possibilities to be used as a federator to a lot of sources coming from enterprise software and beyond. To top that off, also the reporting suite is fully cloud enabled. Running and building reports on Birsts semantic layer is just a click away from the modelling and ETL possibilities. Next to running Birst in a public Cloud, Birst can also be deployed in a private Cloud by implementing the company’s virtual appliance (a VM based instantiation of the Birst Cloud offering).

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It’s difficult to compare Birst to any of the SAP solutions. It’s more sophisticated than SAPs BI OnDemand SaaS solution, but feels less sophisticated then BW and Business Objects. Birst does not want to be a competitor to those products I believe, It’s a different solution with a different use case. I believe it can help out customers which have a vast amount of data sources and BI solutions and need to find a way to relatively easily combine those and report on top of that, all from a single solution, running in the Cloud.

Birst itself was founded in 2004 by Siebel veterans Brad Peters and Paul Staelin and the Birst SaaS solution originates from 2009. Birst being a startup raised $64 milion the last couple of years to expand their business. Their customers are in the 1000s and they were named a “Challenger” in the most recent Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms.

I contacted Birst after the keynote and asked them to showcase their solution at sitNL in Den Bosch which they were happy to do. You can read the details about their session here: Relive the 6th #sitNL

sitNL also gave me the possibility to ask Birst if I could try out Birst and to combine it with HANA. I’m happy to say, they again agreed to help me out. Birst supplied me with an Amazon AMI to be able to put Birst to the test.

This blog is the start of a series of blogs where I will deep dive into two scenario’s using Birst with HANA:

1. Using HANA as a datasource for Birst by using BirstConnect

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2. Using HANA as the database for Birst

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This second option actually is the same option as running Birst on the HCP. In my blog I will connect Birst to the Interdobs Amazon HANA One instance and show how Birst can leverage the speed of HANA against a fraction of the cost of running an on premise solution.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Ronald.

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