Red Hat Makes SOA Buy

Snaps up open-source middleware vendor JBoss for $350 million

April 11, 2006

3 Min Read
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Open-source software specialist Red Hat is looking to boost its storage and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) stories by snapping up middleware vendor JBoss for $350 million today. (See Red Hat Acquires JBoss.)

Red Hat, which got its hands on Global File System (GFS) technology for clustered storage when it acquired Sistina Software back in 2003, is now looking to add SOAs to the mix. (See Red Hat Acquires Sistina, Red Hat Expands Support , and Polycom Dons Red Hat.) The JBoss Application Server software can be used to deploy Web- and Java-based applications as services in an SOA.

SOAs treat applications software as a collection of autonomous, reusable business services, enabling users to run these applications across different platforms. As the technology gains momentum, a number of vendors are currently jostling for position in an attempt to win the SOA dime. (See BEA Buys SOA Startup and HP Extends SOA Portfolio.)

Speaking on a conference call this morning, Red Hat execs confirmed that JBoss's technology will feed into all aspects of their business, although they did not go into specifics. "The market is demanding an integrated set of open-source solutions," explained Matthew Szulik, the Red Hat CEO. "Our customers are increasingly looking to leverage low-cost, grid-like infrastructures."

Curtis Gittens, senior analyst at Info-Tech Research Group, calls this a shrewd move on the part of Red Hat. Deploying JBoss Application Server on top of GFS, he told Byte and Switch, lets users run multiple queries on their clustered storage and then feed the results into their SOAs.This is particularly important to financial services companies, which deal with high-volume number crunching, according to the analyst. "With the clustered file system, you would be able to work with highly transactional services, such as databases," he said. "You would be able to have a fairly high throughput for transactions."

Wall Street is currently in the vanguard of enterprises deploying SOAs, and a number of financial firms have already spoken publicly about their SOA deployments. (See Wall Street Eyes SOAs, Merrill Lynch, and Users Cite SOA Savings.)Marc Fleury, the CEO of JBoss, said this morning that his company will function as an independent division of Red Hat, though he will now report to Szulik. Execs from both companies also indicated that the 150-strong JBoss workforce will be moving over to Red Hat facilities upon the deal's anticipated closure at the end of May.

Certainly, Red Hat and JBoss already share plenty of common characteristics. In addition to the two firms' open-source credentials, both businesses derive the bulk of their revenues from subscriptions.

But the deal pits Red Hat against its key partners, IBM and Oracle, which have both cranked up their SOA strategies in recent months. (See IBM Expands SOA , Cognos, IBM Form Alliance, IBM Intros SOA , Oracle Spends $900M for i-flex Stake, and Oracle Sets Sights on SOAs.)

Szulik, however, downplayed an analyst's suggestion that Red Hat will now be in an awkward position regarding IBM and Oracle, which is a key GFS partner. (See IBM Taps Linux Boom, IBM Launches Power5+, Oracle Sets Record , and Red Hat Expands Support .) "I think that you will see these relationships continue to move forward -- they will continue to evolve," he said. "There will be situations where we partner, and there will be situations where we do compete."James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Info-Tech Research Group

  • Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)

  • Red Hat Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT)

  • Sistina Software Inc.

  • JBoss Inc.

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