JBoss and Microsoft - Competitive Interop

A solid piece of work has been put into motion today by Microsoft and JBoss. Competitive interoperability is among the most difficult steps for organizations to take.


The News

First of all, if you haven’t seen the news yet, Microsoft and JBoss are announcing our intentions to work together on enhancing the interoperability between the JBoss Enterprise Middleware System (JEMS) products and the Microsoft Windows Server products. There are going to be specific areas of technology engagement between the two companies over the coming year.

In order to address the needs of our joint customers, JBoss and Microsoft have identified four key technology areas that we can focus on over the coming twelve months. These areas include:

· Web Services Interoperability

· Security Interoperability

· Manageability of JEMS environments using Microsoft Operations Manager

· Optimized use of SQL Server for users of Hibernate (JBoss’ object/relational mapping product) and EJB 3.0 (Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0).

So in essence, we are going to be providing technical assistance and architectural guidance to help JBoss optimize to run on Windows.

And So…

We’ve had a colorful past on the issue of OSS. Does this announcement mean that we are stepping away from .NET and Windows to embrace Linux and Java? Are we going to throw open the doors to the collective source base of the past few decades of development?

First of all, this is no way means that we will ease off in our competition with J2EE, we still believe .NET is the better technology with more upside for our customers and partners. We are still going to compete vigorously with Linux and constantly expand and improve upon the Windows technologies. And Shared Source will continue to grow as collaborative development and increased transparency continue to be increased. But we will not be open sourcing anything and everything. Our position on this remains the same.

In some ways, this news is incredibly run-of-the-mill. At the heart of the Windows strategy, we’ve always been working to help ISVs be successful on our platform. 50% of JBoss customers deploy on Windows – 50%. Sounds like something we should be helping them be successful at. The incentive for us is to have a shared customer base with JBoss that is happy with the solution they have chosen to deploy.

JBoss is maturing as a vendor and making decisions about the health of their business and of their customers while Microsoft is deepening its commitment to interoperability – competitive or complementary.

The People

I think the most interesting factor in all of this is the people. It is easy to overlook the work of the individuals behind an announcement like this. Particularly one in which some swimming against the stream needs to be done. It is hard to look at a competitor and think about ways to help them be more successful. These factors are compounded when you bring in the more emotional side of the open source community and the pressure they are able to bring against any organization.

So, my hat goes off to Bill Hilf and Martin Taylor on the Microsoft side, and Shaun Connolly and Mark Fleury from JBoss. Great stuff!