Sun Microsystems brain drain may be JackBes gain. While Sun is losing some of its top SOA (service-oriented architecture) and enterprise Java talent, JackBe, a provider of Web 2.0 software and services, is gaining top engineering and management talent.
On April 10, JackBe is scheduled to announce that three Java and SOA experts from Sun are joining the Chevy Chase, Md., company to focus on building out a platform that combines support of AJAX and SOA.
To get a head start on the emerging trend of AJAX and SOA integration, JackBe, one of the early AJAX supporters (it had one of the first AJAX tool kits available on the market), has recruited three of Suns top Java/SOA engineers, including Distinguished Engineer and Chief Java Architect John Crupi.
Crupi, who also was former chief technology officer of Suns Enterprise Web Services Global Practice, joins JackBe as the companys CTO. Deepak Alur, a Sun principal engineer who led Suns SOA initiatives and was lead architect for implementing eBays V3 project, joins as JackBes vice president of engineering. Dan Malks, also a Sun principal engineer, joins JackBe as vice president of solutions and strategic development.
The trio made up a core team focusing on SOA strategies in Suns services-focused organization. The loss of these engineers is but another blow to Suns software world in the wake of the recent departure of John Loiacono, Suns former executive vice president of software, to Adobe Systems.
The teams attraction to JackBe "was initially looking at the AJAX technology, but the real attraction was leveraging AJAX with SOA to be able to build Web apps that we havent in the past," said Crupi. "So it wasnt just AJAX, it was the marriage of SOA with things like RSS and AJAX."
Crupi said his team had done a lot of work with SOA but primarily on the back end, although he said that Sun also had an emerging AJAX agenda with its tool set.
Luis Derechin, president and co-founder of JackBe, said that as the RIA (rich Internet application) market accelerated, so did the number of products available under both proprietary and open-source distribution models—to the point that AJAX development tool sets are rapidly approaching commodity status.
"But the more people attempt to use AJAX, the more of a full-flight solution they will need," Derechin said, adding that JackBe also is undergoing "a dramatic ramp-up in our consulting capabilities."
Although the new recruits from Sun are steeped in Java server-side technology, the JackBe solutions and services also will be interoperable with .Net via its Web services and standards support, Crupi said.
Derechin is moving JackBe from a tool kit vendor to a more strategic developer, including a full professional services team, that will build custom AJAX applications for its clients. JackBe also has hired a fourth former Sun executive to run its services business. Yiheng Shi, former practice manager for Suns telecommunications group, is JackBes vice president of services.
"We see services as more of an enabler," Shi said. "Its a value-add to increase the value for customers."
Indeed, JackBe has a "Ready, Set, Go" strategy around services, where the company will perform AJAX readiness assessments for customers, help set up their systems and then help deploy AJAX in their organizations, said Rob Vonderhaar, vice president of marketing at JackBe.
Brendan Perero, CTO at NutriSystem, in Horsham, Pa., said the JackBe strategy could resonate with customers. NutriSystem is rolling out a JackBe-developed "Weight Loss Program Customization" section of the companys e-commerce shop. "With the addition of SOA in development and design, it gives us much more confidence that any solution built today will scale for tomorrow," said Perero.
Brian Stafford, co-founder and principal at Opt It, in Chicago, agreed. "We took a strategic look at Opt Its vision for the future and decided that we wanted to concentrate on offering our clients a lightweight Web interface that was very deep with functionality," said Stafford.
According to Stafford, hes hoping JackBes components can give Opt It a foundation to build new lightweight applications. "We strongly believe in their core philosophy of moving as little data as possible over the wire and using the client browser to do the processing," he said.