IBM buys open-source developer Gluecode

IBM Corp. said Tuesday it has acquired Gluecode Software Inc., a startup developer of open-source infrastructure software. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

El Segundo, California-based Gluecode built a Java application development platform called Joe out of open-source components from the Apache Software Foundation’s portfolio.The components include Apache’s portal technology, its Geronimo application server, its Derby database and its Agila BPM (business process management) engine. Some of those technologies originated at IBM, such as the Derby database, formerly known as Cloudscape, which IBM picked up when it acquired Informix, and then donated to Apache.

IBM said it will continue developing Gluecode’s technology and become an active contributor to the Apache Geronimo open-source application server software project. It plans to push Gluecode as a low-cost alternative for companies not interested in IBM’s more expensive WebSphere middleware and application server software; smaller customers can start out with Gluecode and eventually scale up to WebSphere, IBM suggested. IBM also plans to profit on selling support services around the Gluecode software.

Research firm Ovum Ltd. hailed the deal as a milestone in the industry’s move toward commoditized application server software. “IBM sends a clear message to competitors like BEA that it’s keen to see the application server market consolidate and to get the players competing on the basis of higher-level services,” Ovum wrote in a research note.

Ovum also sees the deal as a win for IBM’s customers, who will be able to chose among IBM application server offerings at different price points.

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