WebMethods, JBoss On Verge of Total Integration

webMethods Wednesday said it has reached the penultimate step in its strategy to integrate the JBoss open-source application server with its integration platform.

The Fairfax, Va., firm launched its JBoss integration customer preview program, meaning webMethods will now roll out the new capability to a select group of customers. Once the preview is completed, the next step is to make the platform available to the public. There is no timeline for the public release, according to webMethods.

The development means the Java-based JBoss can now be integrated directly into the integration server. This combination of the technologies will give customers business and integration capabilities directly within webMethods’ integration software, so that they can write Web services and develop Java applications from one platform. The double functionality also means customers won’t have to buy an additional server, a crucial hook in a time when IT managers are looking for added value without additional costs.

The deal doesn’t mean webMethods is ignoring other application servers from the likes of IBM or BEA, but it does show that JBoss, which reaped more than two million downloads in 2002 and an average rate of 250,000 downloads per month in 2003, is the favorite. After all, webMethods, when this project is finished, can say that it offers a free application server.

“While we will continue to fully support all leading application servers, we recognize that tightly integrating JBoss within the integration platform provides our customers with an incredibly flexible integration solution. The free JBoss application server is ready for enterprise deployment, as is evidenced by the ground swell of customer adoption,” said Kristin Weller, executive vice president of product development, webMethods.

The fact that JBoss is free means customers will be able to reduce licensing and operating costs because they won’t need to buy an application server, and can manage their integration and development environments using the same framework. Ideally, business processes will enjoy improved automation because legacy and Java applications will be working in in the same process.

Marc Breissinger, vice president and chief architect, webMethods, said the concept of bundling business logic with application serving is hardly new, and that application server vendors have been trying to build integration on top of their product.

However, he said they have yet to prove that this method solves enterprise integration needs. Many experts believe this is difficult for a number of reasons. Simply, webMethods’ argument is that trying to integrate dated legacy applications to new application servers is harder than adding the application server to the integration platform.

WebMethods embraces Java in all of its products and supports J2EE standards such as: Enterprise Java Beans, JavaServer Pages (JSP), Java Connector Architecture (JCA), Java Transaction API (JTA), Java Message Service (JMS), Java Management Extension (JMX), Java Database Connectivity (JDBC), Java Native Directory Interface (JNDI) and JavaMail.

WebMethods is also looking toward the future in trying to bridging the wide gap between J2EE and Microsoft’s .NET development environments with its integration platform.

Meanwhile, the namesake product of the Atlanta-based JBoss organization, is gaining momentum as open source products continue to gain traction in many IT markets. Its free price tag has made it an attractive development platform for J2EE-based applications.