App server developments, post-BEA-HP

What does it all mean...

What does it all mean...

The plot thickens in the application server market. No sooner are we all led to believe that app server technology has become commoditised and more vendors will even be giving it away for free - albeit to tempt upgrades to better versions or sell related products - than deals are done which cast doubts on the market. Our over-arching position on this subject remains intact - IT department bosses and business leaders must realise app servers aren't just an expensive item at the end of a shopping list but there for a good reason. But this is a message for users, not jostling software companies. Today's deal between HP and BEA, expected for a while (http://www.silicon.com/a54158 ), shows the lion's share of business will increasingly be done by a familiar group of vendors. Analysts have predicted these will be BEA, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and maybe Sun, depending on which expert is being asked. HP has in essence exited this battlefield to partner with one of its leaders, after a failed play for market share which cost it over half a billion dollars. There are a number of perfectly decent second tier players, companies like ATG and Sybase. Even Borland, with an eye on application development and web services, today put out a release citing benchmark figures to say it has "one of the most reliable and scalable application servers around". But make no mistake. BEA and the household names want to own this market - mainly because it's the most important foot in the door for web services - and make money from it along the way. Expect more partnering. For more on application servers, see our hot topic:
http://www.silicon.com/appservers