Jitterbit wants to dance on the head of Tibco, webMethods, IBM, Microsoft and other enterprise integration product providers. The company introduced general availability of an open source integration solution suite today that doesn't require extensive programming.
"Traditional enterprise vendors overcomplicate the integration issue," according to Sharam Sasson, president & CEO of Jitterbit. As every IT manager knows, integration is too complex, proprietary, expensive and developer intensive. But, Sasson's initial goal isn't taking on the big enterprise integration vendors. Jitterbit is first addressing the small- and medium-size business market, in which programmers and IT budgets are in short supply. "We are not doing 100 percent of what others are doing--we will do about 50 to 70 percent of what people want," Sasson told me. "We like to walk before we run," he said.
Sasson, whose background is in building old fashioned, proprietary enterprise software (Scopus Technology and Extensity) has become a convert to open source as a way to shake up the software integration space, as others have in databases, systems management and nearly every other software category. It's a business model shift, more than just a shift in how software is developed, given that the developers of most commercial open source software are paid employees.
Providing a free Jitterbit Community Edition (under the Mozilla 1.1 license with attribution) seeds the market and stimulates community participation, Sasson said, pointing to MySQL as a prime example of a company that has prospered with the open source model. Jitterbit's Professional Edition includes support, updates, consulting, developers services and training, starting at $9,995 per server per year.
Jitterbit's suite (Linux and Windows) provides design, configuration, testing, and execution of integration solutions. The suite deploys wizards and graphical tools to define integration operations, transform data, define events and exception handling and create document definitions. A workflow process modeler is in the works. Of course, for non-programmers to take advantage of Jitterbit, data about the data and methods have to be surfaced. Users, such as business analysts, can create "Jitterpaks," sharable integrations encapsulated as XML documents, which can be sold or contributed to the community.
Jitterbit system architecture
Jitterbit also announced a partnership with one of its customers, OpenMFG, which develops ERP applications based on open source. Jitterbit and OpenMFG will develop Jitterpaks for joint customer engagements.
Sasson and his 9 employees have a very long way to go to catch up with the big guys or get their attention. They aren't even on the radar screen, but at least they are tackling the right problem--integration can account for up to 70 percent of development costs.