One year after Red Hat acquired JBoss, the battle is finally beginning to heat up in the open source middleware space.
In what was described as a "coming out party" for JBoss post merger, Red Hat and Dell disclosed at LinuxWorld 2007 plans to prebundle three middleware stacks on Dell's PowerEdge Servers.
"Partnering with Dell allows us to be much bolder in the middleware space," said Mike Evans, vice president of business development at Red Hat, referring to the coming out party. "In the last year, we've been beefing up our JBoss organization and making sure we have all the translations [into multiple languages] and global support and this has allowed us to go around the world with this promotion."
As part of the deal, end users can select between JBoss Enterprise Application Platform or the full stack consisting of JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and mySQL on Windows or Linux on Dell servers.
The three solutions, JBoss Eenterprise Application Platform, Web Application anf Web Edge solutions, will be available tomorrow through Dell. Red Hat will provide service and support for the solutions, Evans said.
Meanwhile, IBM has partnered with Red Hat rival Novell in the open source middleware space. At a press conference at LinuxWorld, Big Blue said No. 2 Linux distribution provider Novell will deliver and support IBM's Websphere Application Server Community Edition (WAS CE) on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
IBM also announced that its next generation of WAS CE, version 2.0, with full Java EE 5 standard support, will be available later this year. IBM claims that its open source middleware offering, acquired from ISV Gluecode in 2005, gained market share nearly three times as fast as JBoss in 2006.
Red Hat would disagree. In a meeting on the Linuxworld show floor, Evans suggested that IBM has market traction only with its proprietary Websphere application server. "They don't have an open source middleware solution," Evans said.
And the Red Hat executive dismissed concerns about the defection of key JBoss talent -- especially JBoss top exec Marc Fleury -- from the Linux company in recent months.
"He's a very smart guy and he left a good legacy. He stayed on for a while and helped in the transition," Evans said, noting the usual departure of top executives from companies that have been acquired. And though some JBoss employees left in Fleury's footsteps, "the vast majority of developers have stayed. The visibility of JBoss is even wider. "
2007 will be a telling year for JBoss. Where is JBoss going and does it face competition from IBM's WAS CE or other open source middleware projects?