HP, JBoss move closer on open source

In a bid to help win over IT departments concerned with a lack of clear Linux support, Hewlett-Packard Co. says it is now the point-person for any and all issues its customers may have with JBoss Inc. products.

The tighter partnership between HP and JBoss, a provider of middleware technology based on open source licences, should make it easier for corporate customers to develop and deploy open source-based solutions by making Hewlett-Packard the single point of contact.

“The most persistent message we get from customers and analysts was the concern about the support nature of the Linux environment,” says Glenn Bontje, business development manager for Linux with Hewlett-Packard Canada in Calgary.

The feeling among some IT managers is that open source is difficult to manage because it lacks the kind of support traditionally offered by major software vendors. Because of this perceived lack of support many companies are reluctant to roll-out open source-based systems across the enterprise, or mission-critical business applications around open source.

This partnership allows developers and companies deploying JBoss products on Hewlett-Packard platforms, including HP ProLiant and Integrity servers, to resolve issues around architecture and design, implementation, integration and migration.

The agreement builds on an earlier announcement in June when Hewlett-Packard said it would sell and support JBoss’ open source software solutions on the company’s hardware, and comes on the heels of the launch of Hewlett-Packard’s Linux Reference Architectures, a set of integrated software stacks letting customers leverage open source technology. These Reference Architecture stacks include pre-tested hardware and software from various open-source vendors, including JBoss.

Pierre Fricke, vice-president of application and integration infrastructure at Idea International in Port Chester, N.Y. said the announcement makes perfect sense as Hewlett-Packard is responding to a need for greater open source support in the developer community. As well, JBoss has a large and established developer community using its J2EE solutions that would directly benefit from that added support.

The announcement also signals Hewlett-Packard’s continuing commitment to the open source market, after its earlier foray into the market with Bluestone Software failed to catch on. Bluestone was a maker of Java application server software that Hewlett-Packard purchased in 2000. Fricke says the problem was that Bluestone lacked the developer community that JBoss has and made it a less than appealing to work with.

“Bluestone was good technology but it did not have any real eco-system and application platforms without developer bases are pretty much dead,” Fricke said.

Marc Fleury, chairman and CEO of JBoss in Atlanta, Ga. said the response amongst developers to this and the earlier announcements with Hewlett-Packard has been strong.

“(When) we made the strategic partnership with HP (in June), we had not fleshed out such things as the mechanics of how it would work,” Fleury said. “Then what happened on the heels of that announcement was a lot of press uptake and then, in Japan for example, we had two large Japanese companies contact HP Japan saying that since HP was supporting JBoss they wanted to sign up.”

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