IBM and Novell Team on Open Source App Server

IBM and Novell have formed a partnership around one of IBM's open source application server products. Under the agreement, Novell plans to offer worldwide product support for the IBM WebSphere Application Server Community Edition (WAS CE).

Novell is offering the WAS CE product as part of a bundled package with its SuSE Linux Enterprise Server. Support for WAS CE will be an additional cost, according to Michael Applebaum, Novell's senior product marketing manager for SuSE Linux Enterprise.

WAS CE has already achieved its millionth distribution, according to Patty Dudek, IBM's vice president of WebSphere server development. Version 2.0 of the product is expected to be released later this year, according to an IBM announcement.

IBM inherited its WAS CE technology when it acquired Gluecode in May of 2005. Gluecode was a major contributor to the Apache Geronimo Project, and WAS CE is based on that open source Java EE 5-certified code.

"WAS CE is primarily based on the Apache Geronimo Project," Dudek said. "IBM added some additional value around installation, but if it hasn’t already been donated to Apache Geronimo, it will be. IBM makes the offering available running on the IBM distribution of Java. As well, customers can run it using other distributions of Java."

WAS CE is primarily directed toward the small-to-medium business (SMB) and enterprise markets, and the partnership with Novell is expected to help accelerate IBM's market share in that space, Dudek said.

She added that IBM currently has more than 400 partners working with the WAS CE product, which is being used in various ways. For instance, some developers may use WAS CE to produce an application and then extend it to other WebSphere servers.

The deal will simplify purchasing, deployment and support for customers using open source platforms, including WAS CE and Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Server.

"The SuSE Linux Enterprise Server offering certainly is widely used by SMBs and enterprise users, and that's been around for years," Applebaum said. "The reason to do this partnership is integration for ease of deployment and maintenance, as well as support."

The deal, by adding support, likely will bolster IBM and Novell's competition with JBoss and its open source application server products, among others.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.