Saturday, March 31, 2007

Building A Great Open Source Architecture

For the past 3 years, we have been busy building out JBoss Enterprise Middleware as the Open Source Platform for SOA. During this time, we have been very consistent in our stance that SOA needs to be Simple, Open, and Affordable. We contend that SOA technologies should be available to all, not just the privileged few who can afford the HUGE license costs.

This approach delivers real value to our customers. And since joining Red Hat last June, there are more and more people around the world who want to understand our strategy, product roadmap, etc.

I use a set of 3 graphics to describe our product strategy. These are designed to illustrate how I see the open source market - one graphic for last year, this year, and next year. The color coding on the slides is meant to illustrate the level of pain (threat level) that proprietary vendors are feeling due to open source competitors.

Needless to say, Operating Systems a la Red Hat, Web Servers a la Apache, Developer Tools a la Eclipse, and App Servers a la JBoss are causing high and severe alert levels for the proprietary vendors. Portal, Business Process Management (BPM), and Integration markets have been gaining ground and should generate strong momentum into 2008 and beyond.

I actually use these graphics for two purposes: 1) to explain to people how open source is penetrating software market areas that are relevant to Red Hat / JBoss, and 2) as a radar screen, of sorts, that I personally use to help identify strategic areas of opportunity/expansion.

For example, looking at the pace of BPM, Portal, and Integration, I ask myself: what things can I do to accelerate those areas. This is why you have seen JBoss spend considerable time and effort over the past two years on building out technologies such as JBoss jBPM, JBoss Rules, JBoss Portal, and JBoss ESB.

So, mapping all of this back to the bigger Red Hat Open Source Architecture strategy yields a product map that looks something like this:
This architecture, from left to right, covers the typical lifecycle areas of Develop, Deploy, Secure, and Manage. I believe we have a pretty impressive array of open source technologies in our architecture today, and I point you to the the recent reactions of some of the major sofware vendors in the industry as proof positive that the threat levels I illustrate above are accurate and real.

In my Open Source Strategy: Freeing Great Technology blog, I outlined the different approaches we take towards expanding our base of open source technologies. With this in mind, I encourage you to stay tuned over the course of 2007 and beyond as we continue to rollout new technologies and services focused on driving real customer value. The fact that this will have the net effect of turning up the heat on our proprietary competitors is icing on the cake.

What areas will we expand into next?'ll just have to wait and see, now won't you? ;-)

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