Red Hat’s Aggressive Plan for Integration, BPM Expansion

Loraine Lawson

It wasn’t the biggest news in middleware when Red Hat acquired FuseSource or Polymita’s BPM technology just a few months ago. But during a media briefing held yesterday, it quickly became clear how significant these two acquisitions will advance Red Hat’s role in enterprise middleware and BPM.

Executives outlined a new vision that they call “Intelligent Integrated Enterprise,” by which they mean a system that will respond quickly and appropriately to business events using data services and a variety of integration tools, including EAI, ESBs and messaging.

You’ll probably read a lot about Red Hat’s plans for BPM, since this technology will “significantly accelerate” Red Hat’s entry into the BPM market. But there are actually several interesting changes in the works due to the July acquisition of FuseSource, so let’s look at that first.

Like Red Hat, FuseSource is open source, which means Red Hat can start working with the technology immediately. It’s based on Apache technology — including Camel, ActiveMQ, CXF and Karaf (ServiceMix) — technology that’s widely adopted, executives pointed out.

FuseSource had recently introduced two new open source enterprise products: Fuse ESB enterprise and Fuse MQ Enterprise.

“Red Hat is fully committed to these projects and technologies,” said Ken Johnson, director of product management at Red Hat, who is responsible for SOA and data integration products and technologies. “We believe this is where the exciting work of open source integration is happening.”

Significant Updates for JBoss Middleware

FuseSource brings with it a “driving ‘integration everywhere’ vision,” according to Johnson. It’s a vision that Red Hat is embracing as well, Johnson added, and that’s certainly true when it comes to Red Hat’s plans for FuseSource’s technology.

Red Hat is integrating the Fuse platform in two stages. Stage one is extending its JBoss portfolio with the Fuse platform, which is currently under way. Red Hat is interested in supporting multi-product sales, so it will support Fuse’s platform as a separate product for now.

Phase two will happen in the next six to nine months and involves integrating Fuse technology more fully into both Red Hat’s two “anchor” products:

  • JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, which will act as an integration layer and includes a portal platform, JBoss Data grid and a Web server.
  • JBoss SOA Platform, which includes Red Hat messaging, JBoss Data services and JBoss BRMS, a rules engine.

Red Hat also has a number of projects under way in the JBoss community, including governance technology, artifact repository and tooling, that will be incorporated into JBoss SOA as well.

Placing Fuse-branded products on top of the JBoss products will allow Red Hat to target distributed deployment and EAI scenarios, while the SOA platform will target large-scale integration and serve as Red Hat’s “primary competition against proprietary vendors,” executives said.

Coming back to that concept of the Intelligent Integrated Enterprise, executives shared an example of how this technology would work together to support that:

  • A business process — whether it’s a loan, vendor outage or whatever — comes in through an ESB, messaging, portal, custom application or other event.
  • It’s moved to the integration phase, which might require the ESB, messaging or EAI-style pattern; this step happens on the application server.
  • If additional data is needed, it can be added with data services, via event processing — supported by the BRMS rules engine.
  • Then a human or an automated response happens using BPM or BPEL.

Polymita Helps Red Hat into BPM Market

That brings us to the second acquisition, Polymita’s Business Process Management Suite. Polymita is a proprietary company based in Spain, so its technology is not under the open source code.

That means Red Hat’s first task will be to move that source code under an open source license. Right now, they’re not sure which license that will be.

It will also have to establish community projects to support these technologies.

JBoss BRMS will remain a standalone offering, but over the next six to 12 months, Red Hat will use JBoss BRMS as a foundation for Polymita’s BPM technology, integrating the two to create the JBoss BPM Platform.

While this will accelerate BPM for Red Hat it still won’t be a full BPM platform, but executives said the company is “outlining an aggressive expansion into the BPM market.”

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