Open Source Firm Launches Cloud Middleware Platform

WSO2 is moving from supplying light weight SOA services to the enterprise to providing middleware as a service for cloud operations.
WSO2, an open source firm that has based its approach to services-oriented architecture on light weight Web services, has built multi-tenant versions of its products to make them available as software as a service.

In effect, WSO2 is in the process of converting its products into services that are available online. And in doing so, it's launched what it calls its WSO2 Cloud Platform. The first two SaaS services from WSO2 are identity management as a service and service governance as a service. Other middleware services to follow by mid-2010 include: data management; security management; service hosting, mediation and management; user interfaces and portals; billing and metering; and management and monitoring of services.

"We want to make it easy to deploy our software anywhere," said Sanjiva Weerawarana, CEO of WSO2. The firm's name translates roughly as oxygen for Web services. WSO2 products are open source code under an Apache license and available for free download. By making them available as on line services as well, WSO2 may be able to play a greater role in helping form private clouds, he said.

A multi-tenant identity management service hosted by WSO2, for example, would make it possible for an IT staff to build a social networking application that could reach out to employees at partners and would-be partners.

No participating company's identity management or security would be compromised by use of the application, if it existed only outside their firewalls, and all users were required to be authenticated by an outside system, he noted. Each participating partner could manage the identities of its employees including in the social network via the WSO2 service.

Companies setting up internal clouds can also use WSO2 middleware as a service to get it up and running faster, he added. WSO2 is also offering Cloud Connectors as part of its new platform. Its Cloud Services Gateway set ups coordination between a public cloud and a private data center for secure inter-operation.

It invokes Secure Sockets Layer protocol with a secure messaging system working over a VPN. The enterprise user can declare that he wishes to publish or share documents or data with the server in the public cloud, and that use will be enabled. Weerawarana acknowledged that much data could not be sent to the public cloud for processing, but the gateway established a way of exchanging data that could be, if handled in a secure manner.

WSO2 supports the use of its products as an Amazon Machine Image, the virtual machine file format run by Amazon's EC2 cloud. It also supports the use of its products in a VMware ESX Server virtual machine or an open source Linux KVM virtual machine.

WSO2 is a Sri Lankan firm whose employees frequently contribute to Apache Software Foundation open source projects.