This week, we saw the launch of a commercial business model built around the growing convergence of open Web services standards and open-source software. A new company, WSO2, has been formed by several Web services pioneers to provide commercialized support to users of Apache Axis tools. (See ZDNet report here.)
Let's see if I get this straight: a commercial company is leveraging an open-source toolset to sell products and services to help companies deploy open standards.
To borrow the definition published by AudioAudit's Paul Tremblett, "Apache Axis is one of a growing number of tools designed to simplify the development of web services. It attempts to do this by delivering a SOAP server, a simple administration client, an API, and client-side code generators that shield you from the details of SOAP and the Web Services Definition Language (WSDL)."
Apache Axis has grown in popularity in recent years. The recent Evans Data survey on Web services/SOA finds more than a third of companies, 36%, using the toolset, a close third behind Microsoft and Sun.
Until now, support for Apache Axis has only been available from a volunteer network, something that makes larger enterprises nervous. WSO2 and its leading investor, Covalent Technologies, intend to offer support services to corporate customers that use Apache Axis tools, used to build Web services-enabled applications on the Apache Tomcat open-source application server, as well as commercial application servers.
Expect to see new business models arise as new demands and innovations are created through the development of Web services and SOA initiatives. WSO2's founders are already well wired into the Apache Axis Web services project. Sanjiva Weerawarana and Davanum Srinivas, who come from IBM and Computer Associates, respectively, and are key players in the Apache Axis Web services project.