In what might be considered at first glance an odd couple alliance, JBoss Inc., the proponent of the professional open-source model, and Microsoft Corp. Tuesday announced plans seek to broaden interoperability between the JBoss Enterprise Middleware System (JEMS) and Microsoft Windows Server.
However, on second glance, given that Marc Fleury, CEO of JBoss, has always touted his admiration for the Microsoft model and the companys ability to deliver on Windows, the move may not be so odd at all. Essentially, JBoss hopes to see its users get the best experience they can on the Windows platform, and Microsoft hopes to see more users on Windows, the companies said.
The two companies will focus on four key areas initially: Microsoft Active Directory, Web services, management and SQL Server, officials at the companies said. The exchange of ideas between the open source powerhouse and Microsoft will include producing an integrated sign-on and federated identity, achieving greater interoperability through the Web services stack using the WS-* Web services architecture. The companies will also look to deliver a JBoss Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager and optimize performance for users of JBoss Hibernate, JBoss object/relational mapping technology, and Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0, the companies said.
"Our alliance with Microsoft underscores JBoss long-standing focus on fulfilling customer demand," said Shaun Connolly, vice president of product management at JBoss, in a statement. "With nearly half our customer base deploying JEMS on Windows Server, either solely or in conjunction with other platforms, it makes sense for us to provide the best experience possible for our mutual customers."
Microsofts Bill Hilf, its director of platform technology, said the collaboration came out of conversations he had with Connolly and others at JBoss about the companys support for Windows.
"Theyre finding significant success on Windows; about 50 percent of their users are on the Windows platform," Hilf said.
Meanwhile, Hilf said Microsoft is not endorsing Java or Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), as Microsofts .Net competes directly with it.
"Our decision path is we want customers to use .Net," Hilf said. "When they choose Java, we think JBoss is a great choice." Hilf noted that he thinks JBoss has "had a hand in" consolidating the Java application server market.
Microsoft and JBoss will assign developers to work together on the project, the companies said. "We have a fair amount of people at Microsoft with Java experience from certain projects," Hilf said.
The companies will work on the interoperability effort over the next 12 months, they said. "Much of this is work were going to do," Hilf said. "Well be doing a lot of exploring. We dont have a lot of specifics right now."
Both Hilf and Connolly said they see the integration of SQL Server and Hibernate as a particular area to mine.
"We see good gain around leveraging SQL Server and Hibernate," Hilf said.
"Hibernate integrates quite well with SQL Server," Connolly said. "So were getting the teams together to further tune how Hibernate acts with SQL Server." In addition, "Active Directory and the whole security interoperability front is another area. We need to address single sign-on; we want to nail that down."
Moreover, Microsoft is looking at JBoss as another vehicle to push Windows.
"JBoss is a model where people are making money," Hilf said. "Some people see JBoss and Microsoft as oil and water. From the Microsoft side, the biggest gain we have [from collaborating with JBoss] is to be able to point to them and say people are making money on Windows independent of the model."
Editors Note: This story was updated to include comments from Microsofts Bill Hilf.