Websphere “Overkill” Keys IBM Geronimo Push

IBM next month offers services for Geronimo, the Open Source J2EE app server. News that IBM will help users with Open Source J2EE comes the same week that Big Blue announced enhancements to its marquis WebsphereMQ J2EE line of software. What goes on? One IBM exec told Integration Developer News, it's a sign that Websphere is "overkill" for some mid-sized IT shops, and that "all Java is a good thing," even if not IBM's.

Tags: IBM, Geronimo, Support, Open Source, Open Source J2EE, Handy, Websphere,

IBM next month will offer install and support services for Geronimo, the Open Source J2EE application server to its Java offerings News that IBM will help users with Open Source J2EE comes the very same week that Big Blue announced its latest enhancements to its marquis WebsphereMQ J2EE line of software. What goes on?

Well, IBM execs say that WebsphereMQ can be "overkill" for many of its customers and prospects. IBM execs also say that Geronimo will provide them another offering to make sure they get Java inside as many IT shops as possible.

"We're supporting Geronimo because we've come to realize that the proliferation of Java is not reaching some areas with our existing product lines," Scott Handy, IBM's vice president for Worldwide Linux OnDemand Infrastructure Solutions told Integration Developer News during a LinuxWorld briefing.

"And, IBM has found there are places where we sell Websphere, and it turns out to be overkill," Handy added. These places, for the most part, are SMB (small and mid-sized businesses), with limited IT resources.

But, current WebsphereMQ licensees shouldn't get too excited about IBM's support for an Open Source (and for the most part free) J2EE app server. "It doesn't serve us to put Geronimo where we already have the market covered," Handy said, when asked if IBM might offer current Websphere customers a migration offering from Websphere to Open Source Geronimo.

"Our support for Geronimo simply says to the marketplace: 'IBM feels that 'all Java' is a good thing, whether from IBM or not," Handy said.

However, Open Source proponents shouldn't expect IBM to support any other Open Source J2EE app severs any time soon. When pressed about IBM's intent to support other J2EE Open Source options, Handy demurred.

"We feel Apache [Software Foundation] has the right model, and that the technology should be owned and managed by a community, not a company," Handy said. Both JBoss and the Java Enterprise Server (recently released to the open Source community by Sun Microsystems), are run by companies, Handy added.

Inside IBM's Geronimo Support Services
IBM's new services, dubbed Support for Apache Geronimo, will provide two levels of support "to help customers resolve technical issues as they develop, deploy and manage applications that run on Geronimo," according to IBM. The services can help accelerate mainstream adoption of Geronimo software by enabling corporate developers to choose Geronimo technology, knowing that it is backed by support from IBM.

"Today IBM is extending flexibility for Apache Geronimo, not only for support service options, but for the choice of code being used," Robert LeBlanc, general manager, Websphere, IBM Software Group, said in a statement.

"Developers that want pure open source technology can choose Geronimo, and those that want an open source-based solution with value added features can opt for Gluecode [which IBM acquired in May]. Now both are backed by support services from IBM."