IBM, Novell Unite to Grab More of App Server Market

In a deal with IBM, Novell will deliver and support WebSphere Application Server Community Edition as part of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

SAN FRANCISCO—IBM and Novell have joined forces to capture a larger piece of the growing open-source application server market in a deal that will see Novell deliver and support WebSphere Application Server Community Edition as part of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

The companies are also targeting JBoss and will provide support and the migration tools needed to help customers using JBoss move to WAS CE (WebSphere Application Server Community Edition), they announced at the annual LinuxWorld Conference and Expo here Aug. 7.

"The partnership will provide customers with an enterprise-ready open-source alternative to JBoss, while developers will have an opportunity to build on a tested platform in WAS CE, with the full support of IBM, Novell and the open-source community as they build their applications," said Roger Levy, senior vice president and general manager of Novells Open Platform Solutions.

The deal gives IBM access to Novells existing customer base, while Novell is able to tap into IBMs worldwide sales force.


Read more here about why IBM is touting its open-source app server over JBoss.

Customers want an integrated solution that solve their application development needs, said Levy. "Now, when customers need support for their open-source operating system or their open-source application server, they can get it with one phone call to Novell," he said.

IBM also used LinuxWorld to introduce WebSphere Application Server Community Edition 2.0, its customizable open-source application server software that will be available later this year.

Big Blue also announced that the server, now in version 1.0 and based on core open-source technology from the Java EE 5 certified Apache Geronimo application server and free to use, has been downloaded more than a million times.

WAS CE 2.0 features a small footprint, making it easier to download and manage, and technical support is offered through an annual subscription.


Read here about Novells recent release of SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 SP1.

WAS CE is one of the fruits of IBMs acquisition of Gluecode. "It taps into the latest innovations from the open-source community to deliver a flexible foundation for developing and deploying Java applications," said Tom Rosamilia, the general manager of IBM Application and Integration Middleware.

"By introducing WAS Community Edition 2.0, which will be available later this year, IBM continues to provide a flexible and affordable alternative to traditional commercial software offerings, enabling companies to save time and money associated with application development and deployment."

Rosamilia added that developers and businesses can use WAS CE 2.0 to harness the collaborative strength and knowledge of the open-source community to update and improve applications without waiting for product updates.

"This is ideal for companies with rapidly changing business conditions across all industries, as its now easier and less expensive to get new applications up and running," he said.

IBM partners can get free sales, marketing and technical support to use the server, allowing them to provide departmental and small to midsize customers with an open-source foundation for a SOA (service-oriented architecture) that can scale to meet business needs. "We currently have more than 1,000 partner solutions on WAS CE," Rosamilia said.

On the competitive front, the server is more than holding its own. The annual Eclipse Global Enterprise Report, prepared by Evans Data, found that the WebSphere Application Server Community Edition gained share nearly three times as fast as JBoss in 2006, Rosamilia said.

"The one millionth distribution of the server validates the fact that were meeting the needs of developers and businesses looking to embrace open-source-based technologies," he said.


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Eric Larkin, the chief technology officer of Arena Solutions, is one customer who chose IBMs WAS CE over JBoss. "Arena Solutions has always believed in using open-source technologies in its core infrastructure and, as part of the open-source community, weve been able to achieve substantial business and technical benefits," he said.

When the company decided to migrate its Arena PLM software to a more standards-based and modern development and delivery platform, "the natural choice was to look at open source Java EE application servers. We chose over other development platforms like JBoss because of their level of support and ongoing involvement and commitment to open source," he said.


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