MuleSource, maker of open-source infrastructure and integration software, announced that its Mule project has reached 500,000 downloads and is poised to continue to gain users and market share in the face of competing offerings from proprietary competitors.
In an interview with eWEEK, MuleSource CEO Dave Rosenberg and Mule creator and company co-founder Ross Mason spoke about the history of the Mule platform and shared some insights about the roadmap for the product, including support for virtualization, a new IDE (integrated development environment) and partnerships with OEM partners and others.
Mason released the Mule open-source ESB (Enterprise Service Bus in 2003 and it has become a widely used integration platform among enterprise developers, with more than 120 large enterprises ranking among the San Francisco companys customers.
However, the impetus for the Mule project came in 2001 when Ross was working on an integration project for an investment bank and used an ESB model.
"When you go about integrating systems into larger applications there are things you do over and over again," Mason said. Mule helps to automate many of those tasks. "Mule is a lightweight tool that integrates with your existing architecture. Its known as an ESB, but its a very simple concept of endpoints and service components."
Mason said in a statement that "as a developer, you face an infinite number of integration scenarios, so rigid tools that mandate specific architecture and standards choices have very limited value."
He said that Mule was designed to be the developers first multi-purpose platform for integration, and because it is modular, and because it supports a comprehensive list of technologies and standards in enterprise production environments, Mason said that Mule is the one integration platform that truly adapts to the developers environment.
"Its a great alternative to the rigid integration frameworks that impose architecture choices and approaches on the developer," he said.
Rosenberg said that the company had a lot of users interested and went out and raised funding through venture capitalists. In November of 2006, venture capital firms Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and Morgenthaler Ventures funded MuleSource to serve as the official support and services organization for the Mule user base.
Then MuleSource rolled out new subscription options for Mule users, and introduced MuleHQ, a monitoring and management system for Mule environments.
MuleSource competes with companies such as Oracle, IBM, TIBCO and BEA Systems, Rosenberg said. The companys biggest markets are financial services and telecommunications companies.
"We compete on features and functionality," Rosenberg said. "Open source used to be about whats good enough, but were not only good enough, were better ... The big vendors overshoot your needs, and Mule allows you to do things incrementally."
In a post, Travis Carlson, a Mule core designer based in Buenos Aires, said that before he discovered quality open-source software like Mule, vendor support was a "sore subject" for him.
"Once I discovered the alternative: enterprise-class open-source software, which for application integration means Mule, the whole story changed," Carlson wrote in his post. "With Mule, you have all the source code, and not just a periodic export of it, but the actual, bleeding-edge development tree."