The major challenge for Hyperic over the next months will be turning the enterprise users of its management software into an open source community.
That is the view of Bob Bickel, who recently joined the company as a "key strategic advisor" after having spent several years at JBOSS, most recently as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development.
Actually, Bickel told me, the Hyperic gig is part of his plan to eventually become a high school math teacher. Bickel, who will see my side of 50 next year (I like to call it the fun side), said he told JBOSS CEO Marc Fleury of his intention last August, long before JBOSS thought of being acquired by RedHat.
Bickel hopes to apply lessons learned at JBOSS to Hyperic, which recently went open source under the GPL. "Hyperic needs to bring their great technology out and build an open source community. JBOSS already had a community. We need to build one here."
Given the need to build that community among enterprises, Hyperic is tweaking the GPL slightly, adding a codicil to its own contracts "so no one needs to fear that an agent makes their own software open source." Bickel said that Hyperic is great for the "middle market" of companies that are too small to afford an enterprise management system like Tivoli and too big for simple scripting system. "We’re trying to make sure we bring a lot of functionality – full monitoring capabilities, a full agent architecture and 40 agent plugins, as well as the server functionality," to the open source world, he said.
But this will be a different type of community, a community of companies. "An ISV could use all this, incorporate it and reference it in their product set, and Hyperic supports all kinds of network devices, middleware, databases and applications."
It will be interesting to see how both Hyperic and enterprises meet the challenge of the GPL. It's fun. And at our age, Bickel and I believe in fun.