JBoss Alliances Target BEA, IBM

By Dan Orzech

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The JBoss Group is continuing its push to put together a complete software stack that will enable the JBoss application server to compete with the likes of IBM's WebSphere and BEA's WebLogic Server.

The company, which is an Atlanta-based professional services firm specializing in the open source JBoss application server, teamed up this week with Stuttgart, Germany-based portal vendor abaXX Technology, Inc., to offer an integrated application server and portal offering.

Although not as widely-used in the United States, AbaXX is a well-known name in Europe, in use for portals at customers like Credit Suisse, Dresdner Bank and publisher BertelsmannSpringer.

JBoss is also targeting BEA's Tuxedo transaction manager, with a new alliance with Arjuna Technologies, which is headquartered in Newcastle, U.K. The JBoss Group will embed Arjuna's Transaction Service (ArjunaTS) and Message Service (ArjunaMS) components into a version of JBoss.

ArjunaTS, a Java-based distributed transaction management system, is the former core transaction software from Hewlett-Packard and Bluestone Software. The combination of JBoss and Arjuna will offer support for distributed transactions using two-phase commit, allowing distributed transactions to span application server instances and multiple heterogeneous data sources. The XA-compliant message service allows Java messaging service (JMS) application code, including message-driven Java beans, to participate in distributed transactions.

The new partnerships follow on the heels of other JBoss alliances, including last fall's deal with WebMethods to include its integration software with the JBoss application server.

Jboss also announced partnerships last month with GemStone Systems, Alignment Software, AltoWeb and other software vendors.

The alliances are a smart move for JBoss, says Sharyn Leaver, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, because the trend in the marketplace is for vendors to offer a complete well integrated software stack, containing not only an application server but the software layers on top of it, such as integration tools and portals, as well. "For most users," she says, "this is far more attractive than buying niche products from multiple vendors and having to tie them together themselves."

JBoss is widely used as a development environment for J2EE applications, and as a deployment platform for smaller production applications. JBoss -- which is available for free on the Web -- was downloaded more than two million times in 2002, according to the JBoss Group.

JBoss is also beginning to make inroads as a platform for deploying larger and more mission critical production applications. Industry sources reported last month that GE's supply division is replacing BEA's WebLogic application server with JBoss.