Just last week, Hewlett-Packard Co. announced it would provide "first call" support for the JBoss application server. The reason? Simple. Customers were asking for it. Previously, HP would support JBoss only under custom-service agreements. Now, however, as a sign of the growing ubiquitous nature of open source in the enterprise, HP will support the JBoss application server just like any other HP product. The Palo Alto-based firm will also be offering consulting services based on the JBoss product.
Atlanta-based JBoss' open-source application server offers a full J2EE application programming interface (API) stack. According to the company, the JBoss application server has had more than five million downloads to date. HP is the first major Linux vendor to certify JBoss in this way, but others will be sure to follow. HP doesn't have its own application server, but with JBoss support, may have a chance to compete against application servers from IBM, BEA, and Sun. Currently, BEA leads in market share.
Further bolstering its credibility, last week JBoss was elected by program members of the Java Community Process (JCP) to the executive committee for the Standard/Enterprise Edition (SE/EE). Committee members guide the evolution of Java technologies, including voting on all technologies and Java Specification Requests (JSRs) developed through the JCP program; selecting JSRs for development; approving draft specifications for public review; and approving final selections.
Finally, in August, Novell announced it would be bundling the JBoss Application Server with its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9, which gives application developers a built-in option for an application server. Novell also announced that the next release of its exteNd application suite would be bundled with the JBoss application server rather than the application server it had acquired from SilverStream Software Inc. in 2002.
This is all good news for cost-conscious IT departments deploying Web services and SOAs. Given that application servers are fast approaching commodity status, it makes sense for enterprises to begin thinking about using an open source product like JBoss as the foundation for their Web services efforts.