HP will package the JBoss open-source app server with its own servers and professional services, looking for a competitive edge against IBM.
Hewlett-Packard has jumped back into the application-server market through an expanded partnership with JBoss, maker of the popular open-source J2EE JBoss Application Server. The move is HP's attempt to get back on the horse following its ill-fated purchase of Bluestone, a once-powerful app server that HP couldn't even give away in the end. The HP-JBoss pairing has potential, marrying an up-and-comer in app servers with HP's considerable technical and marketing muscle.
The partnership will give HP a chance to compete with IBM, which has rolled up the revenue by combining its WebSphere product line with its vast professional services offerings. Most of WebSphere's market success can be attributed to IBM's ability to deliver software and consulting bundles. And many enterprises have wrapped hardware into the package, including IBM-supported Linux servers, making the purchase even sweeter. With JBoss, HP can offer a similar bundle of hardware, software and services.
If the HP-JBoss partnership works as well as HP hopes, the loser may be HP's current app-server partner, BEA Systems. BEA is being squeezed on the low end by JBoss and on the high end by WebSphere.
For IT departments, however, the partnership is good news. If you want cost-effective but fully supported app servers, the HP-JBoss combo is worth a look.
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