Jitterbit Moves Away from Open Source Roots

Loraine Lawson

It's a bit ironic, really: Just when the bad economy and Big Data are moving some companies toward adoption of open source solutions, data integration vendor Jitterbit is headed in the opposite direction.


It's especially ironic when you consider in 2008, Jitterbit CTO Ilan Sehayek predicted that more proprietary companies would be re-evaluting open source as a viable approach.


And yet, when I interviewed Jitterbit's new CEO, George Gallegos, he acknowledged the company is moving away from its open source roots.


"We do have the forum and that kind of runs on its own, but we're very much a commercial company as well," Gallegos said. "I would say we've transitioned from open source and contributing to the open source branch to really putting in the bells and whistles and supporting our commercial branch."


I asked him how that's worked out, given that open source seemed to be gaining steam in the enterprise.


"It's helped us," he said without hesitation."Probably 60 percent of our business we do in the Sales Force ecosystem. They're doing a lot of CRM deals and now they're selling cloud services, but it's a commercial application. Companies that are buying a commercial application, we've found, are more comfortable buying a commercial integration solution, not open source."


Gallegos, who worked for competitor Cast Iron before IBM acquired it, acknowledged that open source has come a long way in terms of acceptance. But he's skeptical that open source works as a business model. Jitterbit is a cash-flow-positive business, he said, adding he's not convinced that's true of Talend, which is an open source data integration and MDM company.


In the interest of fairness, it should be noted that Talend seems to be doing well, acquiring Sopera last fall and adding $34 million to its treasury through funding from private-equity firm Silver Lake Sumeru.


But there's no doubt open source still meets heavy resistance. Gallegos shared a recent encounter where a company was considering a new solution that required integration. He and a number of other integration vendors were sitting in a board meeting when the chairman declared the company would not have any open source in its solution and gave a number of reasons why.


Gallegos didn't elaborate on the reasons, but his point was clear: Whether it's right or wrong, some companies just won't accept the idea of open source.


"In one decision, 20 companies that were open source companies and targeting that business had to take a hike," he said. "So I think there is a view, especially for companies that are investing money in buying a commercial application, to favor a commercial integration solution. So that's why we really had to transition to support those needs and we found it to be helpful. Our business has grown and we're doing well."


For more on Jitterbit's use cases, check out my interview with Gallegos.

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Aug 15, 2011 12:54 PM George Gallegos George Gallegos  says:


Thanks again for the conversation and the ongoing coverage of Jitterbit's approach to simplifying integration.   I wanted to add a quick addendum to this blog post to clarify a few items that I may not have properly conveyed during our interview.   In contrast to the title of your blog post, Jitterbit is not "moving away from Open Source".   While we began life as an open source company, in the past few years we've transitioned into a commercial company that sponsors an open source project. 

Today, our revenue is driven entirely through our commercial offering, Jitterbit Professional.   However, we do continue to sponsor and make available the open source project, Jitterbit Community edition, which is actively used by thousands of organizations.   The point I was trying to make (perhaps in too convoluted a manner) is that we have found that organizations using commercial products from certain ecosystems, such as Salesforce, continue to prefer the commercial version of Jitterbit, both for its additional features and functionality, as well the support and services we offer as part of the subscription.  As a business, our focus is on helping these companies successfully connect their disparate applications and data.

Oct 21, 2011 2:22 PM Michel Van Hoof Michel Van Hoof  says: in response to George Gallegos

I have been one of those thousands of users of the community edition. We used Jitterbit from very early on and promoted it where we could. We are the typical Startup that simply does not have the budget for buying enterprise priced solutions.

However: In all fairness Mr. Gallegos, the latest "release" of the community edition was release sometime in Juni 2010. Despite several bugs (some of which are very basic but do make jitterbit crippled on very basic actions) no new release has been done. Even though the "professional" edition is currently in a 4.x release, community is still in 3.x.

The same goes for the new "support policy" in the forums:

Installation issues will be responsded "as soon as we can get to them"

Bug reports will be addressed as soon as we can validate and fix them ( ahum -> No release since more then a year while not being able to use ' in a field in mysql ?)

How-to usage questions will not be addressed earlier then 5 days

This kind of attitude effectively kills an open source community ( which you probably are well aware of). This can be seen in the forums aswell since last posts are dating back from the middle of 2010... By the way, i only found this interview since i was searching to see if jitterbit actually still supported the community edition ( since there is little to no activity in the forums or on the Community edition Sourceforge page)

I do understand you want to go commercial since that's where the money is, but stating that Jitterbit is a commercial company sponsoring an open source community is simply not true anymore.

At this point, i can only assume that jitterbit needed the open source community to get it's lift off and free feedback/bugreports, and now , that the product has grown enough to become a valueable commercial product, wants to cut it's ties with the open source community since it costs them (too much ?).

Meanwhile, Jitterbit does report "a record breaking quarter for a cloud integration leader"...

Sad to see and i do hope that jitterbit will pick up it's community users again. I for one can say that as soon as we have the budget we would have bought the commercial version. Sadly the current attitude towards it's open source users is pushing us to look for alternate solutions since in between now and the actual purchase, we do need a working product.

Just my (long) 02 cents...


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