Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IBM, Avada Partner on Open Source WebSphere

IBM today announced an OEM agreement with Java messaging vendor Avada
Software, under which Avada will resell IBM's WAS-CE (WebSphere

Application Server Community Edition) bundled with its own Infrared360
management software. Though a relatively small company reselling IBM
products may not seem particularly surprising, IBM is trumpeting the
deal for two reasons: It demonstrates the popularity of the open-source
version of WebSphere, and it signals a shift towards OEM deals in IBM's
sales strategy.

Based on products acquired with Gluecode Software and launched in 2006, WAS-CE is IBM's free Java application platform and ESB (enterprise service bus.) Now in its second version, it's growth has accelerated in recent months. According to IBM, WAS-CE and Geronimo had reached two million downloads by the end of 2007, with one million in the last four months of the year alone. In comparison, the first million took 15 months.

Only a fraction of people who download the product actually end up using
it, of course, and an even smaller fraction actually become IBM's paying
customers. But the deal with Avada shows that the industry is taking the
free version of WebSphere seriously. Avada's Infrared360 also supports
the proprietary version of WebSphere and competitive products from
vendors like Tibco and Sonic Software, so standardizing on WAS-CE rather
than any of those is significant.

The risk to IBM is that WAS-CE will cannibalize sales of its non-free
products, but IBM doesn't see it that way, believing that it can add
value above and beyond what it gives away for free. It also points out
that much of its software can work with both versions of WebSphere. For
example, the XD (Extended Deployment) clustering system can load-balance
applications across multiple Java servers, regardless of whether these
happen to be the standard WebSphere Application Server, WAS-CE or a
competitor's product.

IBM isn't the only ESB vendor moving towards open source. IONA has a
very similar strategy, giving away a free core platform and selling
add-ons modules. Open source ESBs are also available from MuleSource,
Red Hat's JBoss and the Sun-backed OpenESB project.