As olap4j heads towards release 1.0, there are further signs that it is coming of age, in the form of drivers for the Palo MOLAP engine and SAP BW.

A few days ago Paul Stoellberger announced that olap4j’s XMLA driver could connect to SAP BW, and posted pictures of PAT, PRD and PDI to prove it.

And just a week later, Jedox CEO Kristian Raue writes about how to connect to Palo. His post includes a blessedly short Java program to do it. Only one line of Kristian Raue’s program – the connect string – would be different if the program were talking to Mondrian, Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services or SAP BW via XMLA.

This is a success for both open standards and for open source software. Now applications built on olap4j have two open source OLAP engines – Palo and Mondrian – available to them, and can choose which is best according to the characteristics of their OLAP application.

Clarification, 2011/7/20: Palo’s engine is open source, but as Christian Warden points out in a comment to this post, their XMLA server is not. I was therefore incorrect to give the impression that olap4j can talk to Palo as part of a 100% open source stack.

Behind those open source projects are companies who need to show a profit. Palo is backed by Jedox, and Mondrian is backed by Pentaho. Are the business people at those companies concerned that their engineers are working with each other, or that their customers now have a choice of OLAP engines? Not at all. The move makes the open source BI ecosystem stronger, and both companies benefit.

Vendors who embrace open source and open standards are effectively saying, “We have built our platform on open standards. We know that if we don’t live up to your expectations, you can just walk away. So we know that we have to remain the best platform for your application.”

Customers love to have choices, and Pentaho and Jedox are giving customers the greatest choice of all: the choice to walk away.