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Red Hat Plus JBoss Equals A New Horse Race

The rapid incorporation of the JBoss Application Server and other JBoss software is intended to make it easier to produce applications that run under Linux.
Red Hat continues to digest its three-month-old acquisition of JBoss and has started to expand its stack of application hosting software to include key pieces of JBoss middleware.

The rapid incorporation of the JBoss Application Server and other JBoss software after the $350 million acquisition is intended to make it easier to produce applications to run under Linux.

Red Hat has previously struggled to come up with an integrated suite on its own. It offered pieces, including the MySQL database, which it distributed but did not support in production use. And its choice of application server, Jonas, backed by a French consortium, proved to be a bet on the wrong horse.

The new Red Hat suite with JBoss is intended for production use, and Red Hat has announced it will charge $1,999 per two-way server per year for simple Web-based support; $5,499 for business hours support per four-way server; and $8,499 for Premium, round-the-clock support per four-way server.

"On the IT side, it simplifies everything if all the pieces are working together. We do it [certify compatibility] so they don't have to do it themselves," said Todd Barr, director of enterprise marketing.

The offering marks the first time Red Hat has put itself on something akin to an equal footing with other middleware vendors active in the open source market. IBM offers the Gluecode suite, which it acquired in 2005. It features a would-be JBoss rival in the form of the Geronimo application server.

LogicBlaze also built a middleware application stack, Fuse 1.2, around ServiceMix, an Apache Software Foundation project. The open source LAMP stack—Linux, Apache Web Server, MySQL and the Perl/Python/PHP scripting languages—was winning adherents on its own for its degree of integration and ease of use.

Sri Lankan newcomer WSO2 has assembled a middleware stack for Web services based on its Tungston application server for XML processing and the Apache project, Axis2, a reliable messaging system.

Red Hat has added JBoss' Hibernate to its application suite. Hibernate is a second JBoss success story after the Java application server. Hibernate provides object/relational mapping, making it easier to invoke database services for Java applications. It also works with Microsoft .Net applications.

JBoss also offers a rules engine and portal that Red Hat is expected to incorporate into its future offerings. Barr said Red Hat will start targeting vertical industries as it tries to pull together the right open source pieces for particular markets.