Friday, March 6, 2009

The OpenESB and Java CAPS consulting ecosystem

Sun's new open-source strategy offers interesting consulting opportunities. In the last months I have worked closely with former SeeBeyond and Sun colleagues to build a network of partners able to independently support the free OpenESB and commercial Java CAPS platforms at all levels. A set of very skilled professional left Sun recently and joined the freelance market or started new companies. Most of these expert people were actually also in charge of developing core aspects of the Glassfish ESB, Java CAPS and MDM suites, so it is possible to even offer product's enhancements and customizations. Sun is supporting this effort, so we are more and more closely coordinating activities with Sun Services in US and EMEA.

It is a huge paradigm shift from SeeBeyond. When I was in SeeBeyond everything was closed and even secret, while Sun is now growing as an open company embracing open-source as a way to tackle the market from a very different angle than its competitors. At the beginning many Sun employees were doubtful about new Sun strategy, it is so distant from the company's culture. Sun was, and partially still is, an hardware and infrastructural software vendor, a company built by engineers for engineers, with a technology language and culture. Integration and SOA are much more related to pure business aspects, customer's expectation are very different because they take for granted that the technological problems are solved, what they want is business integration, which requires a lot of consulting expertise. This kind of combination of technical and business expertise is exactly in the DNA of former SeeBeyond consultants.

The network of partners is growing and able to fill the business gap. SOA is not much related to technologies, it is about designing and fitting an Enterprise Architecture, it requires first to understand customer's business needs. The OpenESB ecosystem is made of a set of commercially supported open-source tools which provides the possible best value for money. Now there exists also a worldwide consulting services offering able to put this software effectively in production.

OpenESB is an open community, where Sun, its partners and customer can collaborate to create the best set of features, pro-actively suggesting functionalities and corrections. In which ways OpenESB offering is different from both big vendors and other similar open-source products?
  • It is fully open-source and supporting open standards, so you can really avoid any vendor lock-in
  • Full commercial support and indemnification is optionally provided by Sun at much cheaper prices than any other big vendor
  • You can download the suite, develop your solution and then decide if and when buy commercial support
  • Comparing to other open-source ESB, support is provided by a much bigger company, the one who invented Java
  • The set of development and runtime environments (Netbeans, Glassfish, OpenMQ, JBI) is very mature and allows for better developers productivity than other open-source ESB
Netbeans make a big difference: this is a great IDE and the company behind it is the same building OpenESB, so you get a closer integration between the IDE and the ESB in the whole development cycle. Other products require you to edit by hand lot of configuration files, IDE integration is weak and often provided by third parties, unless you decide to buy a much more expensive commercial ESB from any other big vendor. Glassfish V2 is now a great JEE 5 application server, Glassfish V3 is going to be the market leader in terms of features.

Glassfish ESB IDE, based on Netbeans 6.1
So, what are the real services a customer can expect from the network of professional OpenESB partners?
  • High level consulting expertise, most consultants are former SeeBeyond and Sun professional services. No kids, senior people only with up to 25 years experience
  • Possibility to leverage both Sun's technical support and the open-source community, to get independent advices
  • Ability to modify or create custom JBI adapters, as many companies in the network are OpenESB code committers and some were even Sun product managers (can you really ask your Big Vendor to create a custom adapter for you?)
  • For previous SeeBeyond customers there is also a lot of added value, as the network can offer tailored migration plans from DataGate, eGate 4.x, ICAN 5.0, JCAPS 5.1 to OpenESB and Java CAPS 6
  • Ability to support big enterprises worldwide. I'm in touch with partners from Israel to Scandinavia, and in US also. We are looking for partners in Australia and New Zealand shortly.
  • Any vertical market: retail, healthcare, telecommunications, finance, energy, ...
  • Any EAI experience: SAP, Siebel, Oracle, CICS, SWIFT, Microsoft, ...
  • Identity management, Role management & provisioning, Security, Master Data Indexes, federated SSO, SOA Governance, Business Process Management, Rule Engines.
  • On going partnership discussions with Savvion, Fair Isaac, Autonomy and other specialized vendors.
An independent and comprehensive review of Glassfish ESB can be read here.

For more information about the "unit-42" partnership network, please drop an email to me or my business partner.