On Thursday, the company announced availability of a free tool designed to help businesses replace Red Hat's open source JBoss application server with IBM's WebSphere Community Edition application server, which is based on the competing Apache Geronimo project.
IBM developed the migration tool in partnership with open source developer Covalent Technologies.
As the name implies, an application server is middleware software that serves up applications to client computers connected to a server. IBM entered the open source application server market in 2005 with its acquisition of Gluecode Software. It has since folded much of Gluecode's technology into WebSphere Community Edition.
The acquisition was widely viewed as a defensive parry against JBoss, an independent company before it was acquired by Red Hat last year. IBM was concerned that JBoss' open source application server was stealing market share from the commercial editions of WebSphere.
With an open source application server of its own, IBM's hope is that it can eventually upgrade customers who opt for WebSphere Community Edition to the full enterprise version, in part negating the open source threat to its commercial middleware offerings.