Two years ago in 2004, with no clear idea of what he was going to do next, Byron Sebastian left Java server specialist BEA Systems. Then, after consulting with friends and trusted associates, he formed SourceLabs. At first blush, SourceLabs looks a bit like SpikeSource (headed by Kim Polese). To the extent that both outfits help businesses take the risk out of running well-known combinations (a.k.a. "stacks") of server-side open source, the two companies appear to be in the same line of business. But, according to Sebastian, whom I interviewed today, there are at least two areas of focus that separate the company (the audio is available as an MP3 that can be downloaded or, if you’re already subscribed to ZDNet’s IT Matters series of audio podcasts, it will show up on your system or MP3 player automatically. See ZDNet’s podcasts: How to tune in).
The first of these has to do with the specific stack that Sebastian says is SourceLabs' key domain of expertise. Instead of helping enterprises with the more commonly known LAMP stack (Linux operating system, Apache Web server, MySQL relational database management and Perl/Python/PHP for scripting), Sebastian says SourceLabs is focused on the lesser-well-known-but-almost-as-widely-used-in-large-enterprises SASH stack. Says Sebastian, SASH stands for Spring, Apache Axis, Apache Struts, and Hibernate -- four of the most popular open source technologies used in Java-centric enterprises, especially those looking for lightweight Web services infrastructure alternatives to the more heavyweight Jave Enterprise Edition (JEE) server technologies such as IBM's WebSphere, BEA's WebLogic, and Oracle's AS (application server).
During the interview, Sebastian and I cover a lot of ground. Everything from understanding the SourceLabs business (target market, employees, and investment/employment opportunities) to the lack of specific management utilities for running a SASH stack (visibility into the machinery of their application servers is part of the management capability that comes with the heavyweight offerings) to the demand, or lack thereof to open source Java itself.