Cloud API Management Company Sonoa Woos Sam Ramji From Microsoft

Sonoa's gain is definitely Microsoft's and our loss.

And the answer is... Sonoa. Since the formation of the CodePlex Foundation (check out the podcast) an independent non-profit open source organization initiated by Microsoft, it's been well known (thanks to his blog) that Microsoft's Sam Ramji would be leaving Microsoft. But for where? On the one hand you'd assume it would be some type of open source company, given that's been Sam's focus at Microsoft as Senior Director of Platform Strategy. As of this morning we know it's instead cloud API management company Sonoa.

It is quite a shift actually, from open source advocate both inside and outside Microsoft, to Sonoa who delivers their product as a network proxy appliance that sits between applications and services over the net. Effectively the Sonoa appliance passes API (web service) calls through their device, capturing information about the transaction, with the benefit being you now have visibility into who is using your web services, from where, frequency, and other useful analytics. I can definitely understand the need for this type of product, having just completed a project for a client creating a SOA-based workflow product that facilitates business processes across retail, transportation and warehouse management systems. When SOA moves out of the datacenter and into the cloud as a service to customers and other apps, you have to build in that visibility and analysis yourself today.

While Sam's move to Sonoa is definitely a positive for Sonoa, it's a loss for Microsoft and for Microsoft's customers. Sam's been instrumental in shifting the momentum of the Microsoft battleship to move away from only seeing open source as the enemy, to a posture of figuring out how to at least work if not start to embrace the ways open source could benefit Microsoft customers. That speaks volumes about Sam's tenacity for getting things done even in the largest of software companies, while taking flak from open source advocates skeptical of any seriousness by Microsoft to even understand open source. Three moves have at least shown us externally that Microsoft's starting to get it about open source:

Microsoft's recent contribution of Hyper-V drivers to the Linux kernel, the formation of the open source CodePlex Foundation, and the open source community site (not affiliated with the CodePlex Foundation.)

Sam joined me on the podcast this week to talk about the CodePlex Foundation, of which he is the interim president. You'll get to hear Sam talk about the vision for the CodePlex Foundation and how it's quite different than the image most of us assume about its mission. Stay tuned for the podcast, and in the meantime, I'd like to personally thank Sam for being a guest twice on my podcast, the open source shift he's helped accomplish at Microsoft, and to wish Sam all the best at Sonoa. Microsoft will definitely miss you.


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