While I am not asked nearly as much as I was five years ago, this question pops up from time to time at client meetings, conferences, and in casual conversation by prospects and others who work in the proprietary middleware technologies. It’s as if because the JBoss Enterprise platforms are based on Open Source projects that their quality, stability, extensibility, or scalability is placed into question. To save my breath and prevent me from sounding like a broken record, I thought I would provide some “food for thought”, and then allow you to decide.
What does it mean to be Open Source?
First, Open Source software is not “two guys and a dog” coding in their garage. It means that software is developed and managed under a license agreement that provides certain freedoms to keep the source code and other organizations from “locking down” and preventing its source code from being seen, evaluated, enhanced, and software modifications or new contributions to the project from being returned to the project’s community members. JBoss and accompanying software projects are governed by the business friendly LGPL and is based on four essential freedoms:
- Run the program,
- Study and change the program in source code form,
- Redistribute “exact” copies, and
- Distribute modified copies
I could go on forever identifying the differences between Open Source and Proprietary software, but that’s for another post. Here is a link to an overview for those who may be interested.
Who uses Open Source Software?
What I’ve found is that one of the best ways to succinctly answer this question is by asking a tongue-in-cheek question like the truck commercial where the purchaser asks the salesman if the truck he’s looking at is powerful enough to tow his boat and the salesman replies that “We towed the Space Shuttle. How big is your boat?”.
I speak to several of my customer implementations that clearly demonstrate the commercial viability of JBoss delivering speed, performance, and scalability in both the public and private sectors. These are not just small customers, but leaders in the Federal Government and Retail Industries. There are many more examples, but I will provide brief scenarios and links to publicly available presentations and case studies.
United States General Services Administration (GSA) – The GSA covers the reasons behind their decision to move from proprietary software to Open Source and the JBoss Platforms. They describe how JBoss runs their core applications on more than 100 instances that are critical to their IT Modernization and Consolidation efforts. They utilize the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP), JBoss Business Rules Management Systems (BRMS), and JBoss SOA Platform to deliver integration and innovation for federal efficiency. You can download the Open Source in action at GSA FAS slides from the Open Source Innovation Conference at SPAWAR Systems Center ATLANTIC.
New York & Company (NY&C) – NY&C is a nationwide specialty retailer of women's fashion and accessories with over 400 associates at its headquarters in New York City, and approximately 7,500 part-time and full-time associates throughout its 551 retail locations. This solution won a 2011 Red Hat Innovation Award for Extended Eco-System where a Red Hat Partner and Customer teamed together to deliver business innovation. The retailer's IT infrastructure needed a robust, scalable platform to support its key go-forward business initiatives. Therefore, New York & Company set out to have a fully integrated marketing and sales program that leveraged all fulfillment channels and increased revenue due to a unified view of inventory and ability to "save the sale." An intelligent Retail Brand HQ Integration Platform was the solution and JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform served as the integration hub allowing their systems to integrate and exchange information. New York & Company partnered with Vizuri, a Red Hat Premier Business Partner, to shape the business strategy and deliver technology innovation. Vizuri provided instrumental team members who delivered a robust architecture for a real-time retailing environment that supports continuous information flow and real-time execution.
American Psychological Association (APA) –The American Psychological Association's (APA) flagship website, APA.org, is a primary means of communication and collaboration among the organization’s members and to the general public. With over 500,000 unique users, APA.org needed a platform that provided more intuitive features, better support for the organization's activities, enhanced availability of psychological information to the public and members, and more customized E-commerce opportunities and options. We recommended a JBoss Enterprise Middleware architecture running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This solution better leveraged the APA’s existing legacy solutions, and thus reduced costs and many potential technical headaches. The solution was based on two primary JBoss Enterprise Middleware Platforms: JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform and JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, which includes the JBoss Seam Framework, messaging capabilities, and support for the popular framework, RichFaces. Read the case study and view the video testimonial.
Non-Profit Medical Research Organization – A very large non-profit medical research organization performed a complete a side-by-side evaluation and selection process that compared the benefits of open source software to proprietary software. Utilizing a JBoss Platform architectural design, we were able to deliver substantial cost savings to the customer, which allowed them to leverage Alfresco Enterprise Content Management. The JBoss solution was selected as a finalist against IBM Websphere and BEA Weblogic that included proof-of-concept “bake-off” to showcase real world business situations that included many third-party applications to be integrated into the customer’s unique environment. The solution integrated Single-Sign-On (SSO) leveraging Oracle Identity Management (IdM) with PKI, and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) from Alfresco that met the customer’s requirements. You read the case study or download it.
After reading how these titans of the public and private sector are implementing Enterprise-Wide solutions using JBoss, I really have to ask a tongue-in-cheek question, “So how big is your business?”.
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