Microsoft and JBoss Collaborate on Interoperability

Microsoft and JBoss today bridged part of the gap between open-source and commercial software with plans to explore how their respective technologies can work together better.

The two companies will explore enhanced interoperability between the JBoss Enterprise Middleware System and Microsoft Windows Server products and deepenJBoss support for the Windows Server operating system.

The partnership won’t put a stop to the competition between the two companies for software developers with their respective Java and Microsoft .NET offerings. But it will lead to research into opportunities to improve interoperability and ensure an optimized experience for customers using both technologies.

“JBoss is experiencing tremendous growth and is a driving force of consolidation of the Java space,” said Bill Hilf, director of platform technology strategy at Microsoft. “So it makes sense to work with them on interoperability and optimizing for the Windows Server platform.”

So Happy Together

The cooperative effort seeks to provide customers with richer functionality and better integration, resulting in a lower cost of ownership.

The technology engagement between the two companies is expected to include technical assistance and architectural guidance on features including integrated sign on and federated identity, Web services, managing and optimized SQL Server performance.

“Our alliance with Microsoft underscores JBoss’ long-standing focus on fulfilling customer demand,” said Shaun Connolly, vice president of product management at JBoss. “With nearly half our customer base deploying JEMS on Windows Server, either solely or in conjunction with other platforms, it makes sense for us to provide the best experience possible for our mutual customers.”

A Warm Relationship

Illuminata analyst Jonathan Eunice told LinuxInsider that the JBoss-Microsoft move makes logical sense for both companies. Companies that support Java or open source, like Sun, IBM, BEA, JBoss and MySQL, understand the reality that some deployments are Windows-based. The same theory holds true on the Windows side.

“Although Microsoft is most advantaged when a customer chooses a full Microsoft development tool-to-server stack and never goes any place else, the reality is that most enterprises are not that homogeneous,” Eunice said. “So you need some level of working relationship. Ideally it’s not a bitterly cold relationship.”

Indeed, the relationship between Microsoft and open-source in the past has been bitter, if not brutal. The company even launched attacks the quality and cost of its open-source software competitors with campaigns like “Get the Facts.”

Keeping Their Noses

What’s more, companies like Sun and Microsoft have historically cut off their noses to spit their faces, refusing to make steps toward even the most straightforward levels of integration, Eunice said, which only served to harm the companies and their customers. Microsoft and JBoss are keeping their noses in tact with this relationship.

“I don’t see this as some new age of warm fuzzy feeings between open-source or JBoss, specifically, and Microsoft, but I do think there has been a systematic draw between these open-source and Java and Microsoft camps. This is an example of them coming to a reasonable working relationship,” Eunice said.

Ultimately, Eunice said, vendors are much more religious about the purity of the solution and the clarity of architecture. Users, he said, are just trying to get the job done and are looking for the right tools. Said Eunice, “The reality is that open source and Windows can cooperate, perhaps not hand-in-glove, but it’s not bad.”

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