JBoss program aims to ease migrations from WebLog

JBoss Inc. this week introduced a program it hopes will entice more companies to use open-source application server software.

Through its new JBoss Migration Program, the Atlanta-based company aims to provide assessments, methodology and tools to help customers move software from commercial application servers to the open-source JBoss software.

The first iteration of the program targets companies looking to migrate from BEA Systems Inc.’s WebLogic application server to JBoss, said Joe McGonnell, director of marketing at JBoss.

JBoss plans to tailor the program for migrations from IBM’s WebSphere offering in the future, he added.

The JBoss program targets companies like NLG Inc., a Woburn, Mass.-based travel company that plans to migrate a mission-critical application from WebLogic to JBoss over the next 10 months.

Jamie Cash, NLG’s vice president of technology, said he likely would use such a migration program to move the application. NLG two years ago migrated a legacy green-screen booking reservation to JBoss, and the company calculated it saved $1 million in licensing fees by not using a commercial application server, Cash said.

NLG initially had concerns about JBoss’ long-term performance, but Cash said the application has performed “extremely well” since its installation. Fears that JBoss would make changes that would require NLG to rework its application have also proved unfounded so far, Cash said.

CitiStreet LLC, a Quincy, Mass.-based benefits provider, tapped JBoss as its application server standard for all new projects more than a year ago, prior to the availability of migration tools, said CIO Barry Strasnick.

The company began a migration from WebLogic to JBoss 18 months ago and now has moved all its mission-critical applications to the open-source server.

“We had a need to dramatically increase the hardware resources available to our J2EE layer, and do it quickly,” he said. “BEA had what we considered to be excessive licensing costs in order to support these increased resources.”

With JBoss, the company has better scalability, availability and support, he added.

Shawn Willett, an analyst at Current Analysis Inc. in Sterling, Va., said companies switching from commercial application servers to JBoss usually migrate to lower licensing costs, especially now that the basic J2EE layer has become a commodity.

However, he noted that commercial application servers still have the edge in terms of high-end features for availability and management.

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