Red Hat invests in open-source BI vendor JasperSoft

Linux distributor Red Hat invested in open-source business-intelligence vendor JasperSoft on Wednesday as part of a US$12.5 million round of funding for the company.

Red Hat is not disclosing its exact investment in JasperSoft, which offers a suite of open-source business intelligence products, including JasperServer, JasperAnalysis and JasperReports. JasperSoft also has a significant number of OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners that license its software, and it claims to be the most widely deployed business-intelligence software in the world, with more than 7 million product downloads.

In a blog post, Red Hat said it invested in JasperSoft to "support a thriving open-source ecosystem" through its Red Hat Exchange (RHX) program, which provides an online marketplace for open-source software. JasperSoft is a RHX partner.

Red Hat already has the leading Linux OS with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and has Java-based software infrastructure through its JBoss product. But it is always looking to support open-source enterprise applications to run on top of its Linux distribution.

"Our goal is to present open source solution sets that reach well beyond the OS and solve real problems for customers," the company said in the blog post, which is attributed to the RHX team at Red Hat. "Our investment and partnership in JasperSoft will help us achieve that goal by expanding the opportunities for open source software and leveraging the value inherent in all open source solutions."

Red Hat may have another motive for investing in JasperSoft: a possible acquisition down the road. The company has only ever invested in one other RHX partner, MySQL, which some observers thought would be a good acquisition target for Red Hat at one point. Red Hat competitor Sun Microsystems eventually purchased MySQL.

Red Hat would not comment on whether it was considering a purchase of JasperSoft "for obvious reasons," said Dion Cornett, Red Hat's vice president of strategic alliances, in an e-mail.

Cornett added that Red Hat decides which RHX partners to invest in "on a case-by-case basis considering a wide variety of factors."

Private equity firm Adams Street Partners is leading the round of funding for JasperSoft, and David Welsh, a partner at the firm, is joining JasperSoft's board.

JasperSoft plans to use the funding to scale up its business operations worldwide, the company said. It also will use it to enhance its products, expand globally, and build and fortify new partner relationships.

In addition to its software business, JasperSoft has an online developer collaboration forum, JasperForge, with more than 89,000 registered developers working on more than 320 Jasper-related products.

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