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Red Hat brings Fuse ESB and enterprise middleware into the JBoss fold

Red Hat has announced plans to bring FuseSource enterprise middleware products Fuse ESB and Fuse MQ further into the JBoss middleware fold.

Red Hat JBoss has disclosed its road map for two new key acquisitions, FuseSource enterprise products and BPM technology from Polymita. Both sets of products will be moved further into the fold of the overall JBoss middleware portfolio. Of special interest is Red Hat's ambitious two-phase plan for their newly acquired Fuse ESB and other FuseSource enterprise integration products.

FuseSource was arguably the largest competitor of JBoss in terms of open source enterprise service bus (ESB) and messaging middleware prior to the FuseSource acquisition this summer. The acquisition was already expected to bolster JBoss middleware and integration capabilities. Now, Red Hat has announced their plans for making that prediction a reality.

I do not see this as giving JBoss a significantly better product, just buying better market access.
Steve CraggsAnalyst and founder, Lustratus Research

The first phase, which has already started, entails FuseSource enterprise products Fuse ESB Enterprise and Fuse MQ Enterprise joining the existing JBoss enterprise integration products.

"We are augmenting our portfolio with the Fuse-based products," said Ken Johnson, director of product management for Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat Inc. "This is building on Fuse' success and building on the opportunity pipeline that Fuse already had in place."

The company will focus now and in the immediate future on cross selling these product lines. Red Hat hopes to interest existing FuseSource customers in JBoss products, while at the same time introducing JBoss customers to the newly available FuseSource offerings. "We think there will be a lot of synergy here from a cross-product standpoint," Johnson said.

The second phase for Red Hat has two parts. The first is to rebrand the FuseSource enterprise offerings into the JBoss product portfolio. The second part is to bolster the existing flagship JBoss SOA Platform with new FuseSource products, technologies and tooling. "Technologies from the Apache Fuse community -- like Camel Active CFX -- as well as tooling will come into our SOA Platform," said Johnson. Phase two is expected to take approximately six to nine months.

At least one industry viewer feels that Red Hat's intentions may not be completely altruistic. "My assumption is that the main (and only) reason for JBoss to acquire FuseSource is to secure the partnerships and prestige of having the more respected open source ESB, and to gain cross-sell opportunities," said Steve Craggs, analyst and founder of U.K.-based Lustratus Research. Craggs responded to questions by email.

Craggs said Fuse ESB "can arguably claim to be the leader of open source ESBs, largely due to Apache backing." He marked Fuse ESB as strong in the market among other open source ESBs. JBoss's own ESB was undergoing significant changes before the FuseSource purchase, adding technologies analogous to some of those found in FuseSource enterprise products.

But Craggs positioned the FuseSource purchase mostly as a market share move. "I do not see this as giving JBoss a significantly better product, just buying better market access," Craggs said.

At a live webcast that accompanied the Red Hat news, Joe Dickman, the senior vice president of Chantilly, Va.-based Vizuri, a Red Hat partner, spoke in favor of the acquisition. He noted advantages that FuseSource would bring to the table, such as Apache products like ActiveMQ, Camel and Karaf, as well as tooling and support. He also mentioned the importance of industry standards to prevent vendor lock-in and of modernizing stovepipe applications and legacy investments to help businesses work with new compliance regulations and build new systems governance.

Similarly, Red Hat has a two-phase plan for assimilating its Polymita BPM line. One will be to make those business process management (BPM) tools available as Polymita products under the JBoss umbrella. That means open sourcing Polymita technology, which was proprietary. Phase two will be to integrate Polymita BPM tools as part of JBoss's existing jBPM Platform. This process is expected to take about six to 12 months.

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