Red Hat's JBoss dons Black Tie to target BEA Tuxedo

Red Hat Thursday revealed a JBoss middleware project aimed at displacing BEA's Tuxedo transaction-monitoring engine, which has a significant legacy install base.

At its JBoss World conference in Orlando, Red Hat unveiled JBoss BlackTie, a project for integrating Java and legacy-based distributed transaction-processing environments. The new product will complement and extend the current JBoss transaction-monitor project, Transactions, through the addition of C, C++ and mainframe-compatible transaction capabilities, according to Red Hat.

JBoss, the open-source middleware company purchased by Red Hat in April 2006, already had built its reputation by commoditizing the Java-based application server market once dominated by BEA's WebLogic, which soon will become an Oracle product once the software vendor completes its purchase of BEA.

Now JBoss aims to go after the Tuxedo install base, which Sacha Labourey, vice president of engineering middleware at Red Hat JBoss, said represents "tens of millions" of dollars in revenue opportunity. "BlackTie is about helping companies migrate away from one of the key legacy lock-ins out there, Tuxedo," he said.

The BlackTie project will focus on building technology that can emulate transaction-processing monitor application programming interfaces, such as the ones for Tuxedo, and can provide open-source legacy services such as security, naming, clustering and transactions. According to Red Hat, the project is aimed at giving enterprise users the opportunity to easily integrate their C, C++ and mainframe applications into JBoss Java-based environments.

Code for the BlackTie project will be available in about 60 days. Eventually, Red Hat will offer its own enterprise version of both BlackTie and the JBoss Transactions projects.

Red Hat has been trying to integrate the JBoss Java-based middleware with its Linux business to become a multiproduct company. News this week at its JBoss World conference is aimed at dispelling the notion that Red Hat can't move beyond its Linux roots to offer an entire portfolio of open-source products for application development, integration, management and the like.

JBoss gave its software away and charged for consulting and services. Red Hat has a ".org" community version of its Linux product for anyone to use, as well as a more robust enterprise version for large-scale deployments. The company is taking the same approach with JBoss by having community for open-source and freely available products, and the JBoss enterprise middleware products that have fees attached to them. The BlackTie project falls under the former category.

In addition to BlackTie, Red Hat also Thursday unveiled the global availability of its JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform, which originally was expected to be available by the end of last year.

The JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform includes JBoss ESB (enterprise service bus), which includes integration, transformation and a registry and repository for services. IT also includes service orchestration and workflow with the JBoss jBPM product and business policy and rules management and integration with the JBoss Rules product. The JBoss SOA platform is aimed at competing with proprietary SOA infrastructure from companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and IBM, and is part of JBoss' enterprise middleware offerings.

Eventually, there also will be a business analysis component to JBoss' SOA platform, which will make it more competitive with current SOA infrastructure offerings on the market, said Craig Muzilla, vice president of Red Hat's Middleware Business.

Red Hat also launched two other projects Thursday. One is a management platform jointly developed with Hyperic called RHQ. Eventually, RHQ project will serve as the code base for JBoss Operations Network v2.0 (JON 2.0), due out by midyear.

The RHQ project aims to develop a common services management platform that will be used in future versions of both the JBoss middleware and Hyperic's products, said Katrinka McCallum, vice president of Red Hat's newly established Business Management Unit.

Source code for RHQ is available for licensing now under the GPL open-source license. The code, as well as additional project information and community forums, are accessible online at the project's Web site.

Red Hat also introduced a JBoss SOA governance project aimed at keeping track of how enterprise composite applications and services are developed, deployed and managed throughout their life cycle. The first open-source code for the project, DNA, will be available in 30 days, with more products and source code to come to tackle other areas of governance, according to Red Hat.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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