Open source now ties for first place in app servers

JBoss ties with IBM WebSphere in recent market stats
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Are open-source app servers sucking up ever more air from their commercial counterparts? It appears that way.

Richard Monson-Haefel, senior analyst for Burton Group, blogged on recent market share numbers for application servers.  Interestingly, at least in this survey, contention for the number-one spot among Java Enterprise Edition-based platforms is now between an open-source platform and a more commercialized platform. IBM WebSphere and JBoss are fighting for leadership with a 37% share. BEA and Oracle are slugging it for third/fourth place out with 27% each.

Thanks to James Governor of RedMonk for surfacing this news in his blogsite. Governor also observed that Sun had gained some momentum in this space -- up six percentage points over the past year, to about 20%. Monson-Haefel speculates that Sun's GlassFish open-source project may be making the vendor's Java ES more appealing for the long term. 

My question is -- does JBoss have the upward momentum  to surpass IBM in the next round?  Presumably, "RedBoss" (as Governor likes to call the Red Hat-JBoss combo) adds new momentum into the competitive mix in favor of open-source stacking.

IBM and BEA understand this. IBM is in there with it's own open-source WebSphere Community Edition (formerly GlueCode), and BEA has it's "blended" approach. And, very importantly, these numbers don't account for Microsoft's .NET Framework, which is an app server in its own right -- and presumbly now present in most enterprises.

Then there's all those other open-source app servers, such as Apache, Geronimo, and Tomcat. Research I have been involved in over the past two years shows these platforms are even more widespread than JBoss -- and are increasingly moving beyond Web serving on the periphery and taking on larger enterprise workloads. Blogging colleague Dana Gardner, for one, predicts a flood of adoption around Geronimo (which is also underneath WebSphere CE).

On the whole, there is tremendous momentum toward open-source software-based app servers to underpin SOA efforts -- and the SOA-OSS "monster mashup" proceeds.

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