IBMs Swainson: WebSphere and Beyond

John Swainson talks about Version 5.0 of the WebSphere application server, where it puts IBM competitively and what's to come in the app server software space.

John Swainson is general manager of IBMs Application Integration Middleware division, and is also known as a pioneer of the WebSphere application server. Version 5.0 of the server was announced last month, when Senior Editor Darryl Taft caught up with Swainson in Boston for an exclusive interview to talk about the new product, where it puts IBM competitively and whats to come in the application server software space.

EWEEK: Whats your role at IBM?

SWAINSON: Im the general manager of a unit called Application Integration Middleware. Its one of four major software product divisions at IBM. And I have responsibility for the development, marketing and sales of our middleware products, including the WebSphere family of products, application development tools, MQSeries, communications products, transaction processing products like CICS and other things. Basically, all the tools that we build for developers to use and a lot of the things that sit above the operating system and below the applications.

EWEEK: Was it you who built the WebSphere business into what it is today?

SWAINSON: Ive been in this role since it was created in 1997. In the last 10 years Ive principally been responsible for the development of our application development tool products. I was the lab director in Toronto. And I had responsibility for the business unit that included application development tools. Then we merged that with our business unit that did transaction processing and we announced WebSphere out of that in early 1998. And Ive been the general manager of that group since that period of time.

EWEEK: How much does WebSphere contribute to the bottom line?

SWAINSON: Well, we dont break it out exactly. IDC and others we think have a pretty close estimate of the total amount of revenue that WebSphere app server and the total WebSphere family contributes. In round numbers the app server is a little less than half a billion dollars. And the total family is around a billion. The middleware software business in total this year is about 11 and a half billion dollars. So the WebSphere brand amounts to about 10 percent of that—rounding up a couple of digits.