IBMs New WebSphere Challenges JBoss

The latest WebSphere is open-source and can be seen as directed at open-source startup businesses such as JBoss.

IBM announced Tuesday a new member of its WebSphere application server family: the WebSphere Application Server Community Edition.

WAS CE (WebSphere Application Server Community Edition) is built on the Apache Software Foundations Geronimo open-source application server and includes code from Gluecode Software.

IBM acquired Gluecode last May.

WAS CE also includes IBMs Cloudscape database, which is based on the open-source Apache Derby Project.

The end result is a J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) application server, which IBM means to be a flexible and affordable alternative to traditional commercial software offerings and can help customers begin to deploy an SOA (service-oriented architecture).

Specifically, according to Scott Cosby, the IBM Transition Executive in charge of integrating Gluecode into IBM, its designed for midsize businesses and enterprise departments with access to open-source-based technologies with no upfront costs.

Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive at IBM Software, recently said, "We didnt acquire Gluecode because we thought this was a stepping stone into selling more WebSphere. We bought it because we wanted to sell more Gluecode." This new open-source products name emphasizes its WebSphere connection.

Nevertheless, this project is based on Gluecode software, which had been a competitor with other open-source J2EE vendors such as JBoss Inc.

So it is that to Stephen OGrady, a software industry analyst for RedMonk, that IBMs decision to release WAS CE "is about IBM not fighting the open-source tide, but choosing to ride it."

"The success of products like JBoss and MySQL is predicated as much on leveraging the advantages in distribution that open source provides as much as anything else, so it was clear that a no barrier to entry product was in some sense table stakes for competing. Hence the introduction of the WebSphere CE, which is aimed squarely at that space," said OGrady.

JBoss agrees with that assessment.

"Any support of open-source software is a good thing for the entire industry. JBoss is pleased to see IBM conceding to the realities of open source in the low-end market," said Shaun Connolly, JBoss VP of product management.

"But the fact remains that the JEMS [JBoss Enterprise Middleware System] is well established as the mass-market open-source middleware leader. We are increasing market share in many large enterprises, too, as evidenced by our many Fortune 500 customer wins in the last year."

As for IBM using WAS CE for SOA, Connolly said, "We have momentum, and our application server is technologically years ahead of Geronimo. We are bringing this successful model to other key middleware markets, such as portal, messaging, and business rules JBoss strategy and partner ecosystems are driving JEMS as the stable, single-distribution open-source platform for SOA, which is exactly what our enterprise customers are asking for."

In addition, Connolly believes that Geronimo, WAS CEs base J2EE server, may be in danger of forking.

"We think folks should be wary of Geronimo going the way of Unix. Many flavors can create confusion for users," Connolly said.

"We would also welcome WebSphere users who wish to compare features, functionality, stability, quality and wealth of third-party applications and tools that JBoss offers."

This is not the first time JBoss has sparred with IBM since it acquired Gluecode. Marc Fleury, CEO of JBoss, made similar comments earlier in October.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about Fleurys comments.

WAS CE will be available later this year. For customers who want technical support, IBM is introducing a full line of WAS CE support services starting at only $900 per server for an annual subscription.

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