I am extremelly excited about an announcement that is being made today. It is funny as it is kind of embedded in the press release about "community projects". I always had a beef with the PR style of RedHat when I was there, I always found it too subdued, too discreet. Like they are scared of pissing off their "partners". I am sure management has noticed that the environment and the partners have turned a little more nasty of late and there is no reason to keep the gloves on and not try to piss off anyone.
So in case some of you in the analyst and press community have missed the significance of the announcement amongst the noise about "enterprise acceleration". Here is the gem in the rough:
Introducing the JBoss.org BlackTie project
The JBoss.org BlackTie is a new project for integrating Java and legacy-based distributed transaction-processing environments. BlackTie will complement and extend the current JBoss transaction monitor project, JBoss.org Transactions, through the addition of C, C++ and mainframe compatible transaction capabilities, in an effort to allow organizations to better integrate and migrate these legacy environments, with their next-generation, Java-based transaction environments.
The BlackTie project will focus on emulating transaction-processing monitor application programming interfaces (such as BEA's Tuxedo), providing legacy services in an open source capacity, including security, naming, clustering and transactions. This will help ensure that applications formerly dependent on legacy transaction environments, including BEA's Tuxedo, will operate with the JBoss transaction processing features project through the BlackTie framework. This project is intended to give enterprise users the opportunity to easily and transparently integrate their C, C++ and mainframe applications into JBoss Java-based environments.
The JBoss.org BlackTie project is designed to fully support the ATMI programming interface, eliminating the need to replace customer client, server or service code and simplifying customer migration paths.
In time, Red Hat also expects to release a JBoss Enterprise Middleware offering based on the JBoss.org BlackTie and Transaction projects.
Get it? It is so big I am giddy with it. This is a binary drop-in replacement for Tuxedo. It works with C,C++, java. The point is that this will further accelerate the adoption of the JBoss platform into high-end transactional environments. In the past, Tuxedo, the transaction monitor, was a stronghold of BEA. Sometimes customers would be reluctant to port all of their applications over to JBoss due to the core nature of Tuxedo in their IT infrastructure. With this project announcement this barrier will soon vanish and all of the Tuxedo installed base, really a recurring maintenance stream and cash cow for BEA, will be game for a replacement and migration to JBoss.
I am sure that billion dollar acquisition of BEA by Oracle is looking very shaky all of the sudden. Tuxedo is estimated to be a 100M dollar maintenance market for BEA/Oracle. A large portion of the BEA installed base and the most profitable one is now all exposed. It is open season.
Personally, I love what this announcement represents. It is smart, opportunistic and aggressive, in a word it reminds me of the old JBoss moves :) It is opportunistic because it rides on the back of the BEA acquisition. It is an aggressive move on the part of RedHat as it offers a viable replacement option for those customers that are eager to not hand over their IT infrastructure over to Oracle. And finally and financially speaking, it is a smart move as it targets the core of transactional runtimes and that is where established money is.
Bravo mes amis, bravo!
PS: In other news they are also announcing RHQ as a management tool OSS effort between Hyperic and RedHat. That is also a very significant effort but I will leave it at that since I wanted to focus on Blacktie.
PS2: Doing some due diligence it appears that Alfred from BEA disclosed a year ago that Tuxedo generated $150m a year in maintenance alone. It also appears that, under the new management, the price of the maintenance is going up by 20%, so we are talking about $180m/yr and a lot of scared customers.... well you all now have a choice. Chew on this, Larry!