Red Hat aims to make JBoss an enterprise player

At JBoss World, Red Hat stated its goal of making the JBoss middleware 'a major part of 50 percent of all enterprise software infrastructure deployments by 2015'

Red Hat put some muscle behind its intention to make its JBoss middleware as ubiquitous in the enterprise as its Linux software on Wednesday, committing new sales, marketing, and technical resources to accelerating the adoption of JBoss among the largest corporations.

At its JBoss World conference in Orlando, Florida, Craig Muzilla, vice president of Red Hat's Middleware Business, said the company hopes JBoss will be a major part of 50 percent of all enterprise software infrastructure deployments by 2015. "We believe it is an achievable, realistic goal," he said.

To reach that goal, Red Hat introduced a multifaceted plan that includes opening technology "acceleration" centers, adding sales and marketing support, and putting together an enterprise-class middleware stack. The stack would be made up of JBoss and other open-source software for management, application integration, and application development.

Red Hat purchased JBoss in April 2006 and has been trying to integrate the Java-based application infrastructure, or middleware, with its Linux business to become a multiproduct company.

In an interview last week, Red Hat's new CEO, Jim Whitehurst, said the hardest part of this has been changing JBoss' business model to Red Hat's. JBoss gave its software away for free and charged for consulting and services. Red Hat has a ".org" community version of its product for anyone to use, as well as a more robust enterprise version for large-scale deployments. He said at the time that Red Hat now will use a similar model for making JBoss more successful in the enterprise.

Muzilla echoed Whitehurst's notion that Red Hat will use the same strategy to boost JBoss in enterprises as it did to make Red Hat Enterprise Linux so successful. However, he said there is still "a lack of understanding that you can really run your enterprise on open-source middleware."

To change that perception, Red Hat plans to offer an "enterprise-hardened, rock-solid" stack of JBoss middleware that includes both existing products, such as JBoss Application Server, JBoss Cache, JBoss Transactions, JBoss Clustering, and JBoss Messaging, and other open-source products, Muzilla said Wednesday. Red Hat will test and certify the middleware stack to ensure the pieces work together and can sustain large-scale enterprise deployments, he said.

Sales and customer support also are key to making a successful enterprise play, Muzilla said. In the past six months, Red Hat has added JBoss sales and presales specialists in North America to help sell the middleware to enterprises. The company also is hiring new marketing executives and is planning its first acceleration center. He said the centers will be in places "where there is a lot of customer activity," without giving more details.

Once the new technology labs for JBoss are open, customers will be able to use them to test Red Hat's JBoss stack, and it's likely Red Hat will build centers for a specific task, Muzilla said. "Performance will be one lab, interoperability will be another," he said.

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