Red Hat Buys MetaMatrix, Overhauls JBoss Development Model


Red Hat overhauled its JBoss line on Tuesday by acquiring data services technology developer MetaMatrix and rolling out a new, bifurcated development strategy for its JBoss technology.

MetaMatrix, a private company in Waltham, Mass., develops software that adapts data from current enterprise systems for use in modern, service-oriented architecture (SOA) infrastructures. Financial terms of the acquisition, expected to close within two months, were not disclosed.

Plans call for Red Hat to integrate MetaMatrix's technology into its JBoss middleware line. MetaMatrix's products will soon be moved to a subscription licensing model and be released as open-source offerings within the next year, according to Red Hat executives.

Red Hat linked its MetaMatrix announcement to a broader JBoss overhaul. The Raleigh, N.C.-based Linux company will now foster two product development paths: one within its JBoss.org community and a separate "enterprise" branch of formally supported offerings.

The move is similar to the split strategy that Red Hat uses to develop its flagship operating system, which fosters community development under the Fedora Project umbrella and pulls features for incorporation into Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

"Let's be clear that the 'enterprise' software will NOT be a 'blended' community version with non-open source features. It is exactly the opposite in fact. The enterprise version is a subset of the community version that is enterprise-ready, and we can guarantee support for up to seven years," JBoss CTO Sacha Labourey wrote in a blog post announcing the changes.

Though all of JBoss' technology will remain open-source material available for mix-and-match use, the company will begin offering integrated, tested and certified JBoss Enterprise Platform bundles for customers that prefer one-stop shopping.

The first offering, the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, includes the JBoss Application Server, Hibernate and Seam. Future enterprise bundles are in the works for portal applications, SOA integration and business process automation.

JBoss is opening its enterprise bundles to channel partners for resale and integration with their own software products. One early partner, business-process integration software maker Vitria, has already certified its Business Accelerator SOA integration suite for the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform,and will offer its software and JBoss' as a bundle to its customers.

"We're very much on the same wavelength here," Vitria CEO Dale Skeen said. "The world is moving toward SOA, but it's a fairly complex move. There are a lot of pieces -- messaging, governance, application server, portals. ... No vendor does it all, and customers have been faced with having to integrate their own architectures. JBoss brings together all the pieces. It's not a complete SOA platform, but it's one of the most complete out there."

Since acquiring JBoss last year, Red Hat has moved to flesh out JBoss' stack and, in the process, broaden its imprint on the software market.

"We're really moved from being an operating system-focused company a few years ago to a full, end-to-end infrastructure provider," said Tim Yeaton, Red Hat's senior vice president of enterprise solutions. "And we do that all using open-source technology and open-source business models."

Also on Tuesday, Red Hat introduced new developer support subscriptions, offering guaranteed service levels and access to binaries of its enterprise product bundles. Later this year, the company plans to release Red Hat Developer Studio, a refreshed and rebranded set of developer tools that it picked up through its recent deal with Exadel.