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Analysis: Red Hat-JBoss Union Draws Mixed Reaction From Partners

Some partners say the move paves the way for a brand-name, end-to-end open-source stack that can compete directly against Microsoft’s integrated platform and Sun Microsystems’ enterprise system.

Partners that support the deal say the resulting out-of-the-box integration and efficiencies between the open-source operating system and middleware will benefit all parties.

“IBM and Red Hat have an excellent business relationship and by purchasing JBoss, they now have the ability to co-develop solutions that will work out for both companies,” said Frank Basanta, director of technology at Systems Solutions, New York.

“Hopefully, the combination will expand the opportunities all around,” said Tom Janofsky, J2EE architect at JBoss partner Tripod Technologies, Cherry Hill, N.J. “JBoss’ stack will get Red Hat in accounts that they weren’t in before, and Red Hat’s accounts will probably get JBoss in front of LAMP accounts and other app servers running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.”

Others predict Red Hat may acquire an open-source database next. One former Microsoft channel-chief-turned-open-source-venture-capitalist predicted consolidation in the open-source industry will continue.

“These open-source players have tons of customers but not nearly enough revenue to keep them as independent players, or to be public,” said Sam Jadallah, general partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures.

But that could backfire. “Red Hat has always said they wanted to be the Microsoft of Linux, and this puts them one step closer to being able to deliver that complete, end-to-end platform,” said Chris Maresca, a partner at Olliance Consulting, based in Palo Alto, Calif.

“However, this type of platform dominance is exactly why Linux and open source gained such huge momentum in the IT industry, so there might be a general backlash if Red Hat manages to establish platform dominance,” he added.

“End users should probably hedge their bets by using integrated application stacks like OpenLogic as a way to retain vendor independence,” said Maresca.

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