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Red Hat buys SOA knowledge transfer expertise

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) expertise is still not available off-the-shelf.

That’s the reason Red Hat Inc. bought Amentra Inc., a integration services provider headquartered in Richmond, VA., which specializes in providing SOA knowledge transfer for its clients. In making this deal, Red Hat is betting that Amentra can provide the consulting services needed to support JBoss,  the middleware company Red Hat acquired two years ago.

In a recent Q&A interview at JBoss World, Craig Muzilla, vice president of middleware business at Red Hat, talked about the pain points organizations run into when tackling SOA.

In an interview after the Amentra deal closed this week, Muzilla stressed how important SOA expertise is to the middleware market in general and JBoss in particular.  He said companies making the transition from legacy mainframe or client/server to SOA often lack the expertise in-house to do the job.

“Amentra has a unique methodology focused around knowledge transfer,” he said. “Not only do they help design SOA and help the customer do some projects and implement project, but they also transfer that knowledge so the customer can be more self-sufficient.”

Bradley F. Shimmin, principal analyst of application infrastructure at Current Analysis LLC. agreed that knowledge transfer is one of the strengths Amentra adds to Red Hat and JBoss. Saying that this acquisition is “a perfect fit for Red Hat,” he noted that existing consulting services for JBoss had relied heavily on partnerships, and were not a match for the consulting services offered by the larger SOA vendors, such as IBM. The Amentra acquisition will begin to help close that gap.

Providing consulting in support of JBoss may be critical if Red Hat is too rearch its announced goal of capturing 50 percent of the enterprise middleware market by 2015.

In the blogsphere, Red Hat has received some criticism for its marketing of the JBoss products, which Muzilla sought to clear up earlier this week on Dana Blankenhorn’s ZDNet blog.

After the Amentra deal was announced, Larry Dignan, also blogging on ZDNet, wrote: “The deal, announced Thursday, gives Red Hat some foot soldiers to sell the company’s stack of software including JBoss. which has been a tough sell.” 

Of course, Amentra is not on a par with something like IBM Global Services.

Shimmin notes that Amentra is based on the East Coast and that is where most of its clients are located, although it is doing work as far West as Chicago and Texas. The company is looking at expanding further West to the Pacific Coast. Plans to have any European or international operations seem to fall into the yet-to-be-determine category.

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