The JBoss application server and MySQL database will both get a boost from Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday, when the Palo Alto, California, computer company plans to begin offering technical support for the two open-source projects.
HP has entered into partnership agreements with the companies behind the two open-source efforts, The JBoss Group and MySQL , said Martin Fink, HP's vice president of Linux. Under the deals, JBoss and MySQL will now be tested and certified for use on HP's ProLiant and Integrity servers via the HP Partner Program, he said.
"We're the first OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to sign partnership deals with MySQL and JBoss," Fink said.
HP's support organisation has also been trained to handle support calls covering JBoss and MySQL, giving customers a single point of contact for technical support effective June 1, HP said.
The deal will make things a little easier for users in large companies who want to implement the two open-source products, and it will help expand the pool of open-source users, said MySQL user Alan Walker, the vice president of Sabre Labs, a division of Dallas-based Sabre Holdings.
"It legitimizes the market," Walker said. "It's a lot easier for us to go to senior management and say, 'I want to do this deal with HP,' instead of JBoss, because they've heard of HP."
Sabre runs the airfare search application used by websites like Travelocity.com on a cluster of 45 four-processor HP Integrity rx5670 servers running Linux and MySQL, said Walker. Three years ago, this application was running on a more expensive mainframe computer, he said.
Though HP's support is only a first step — HP still does not directly support JBoss and MySQL on its HP-UX operating system, and it does not offer the software pre-installed or have the kind of independent software vendor (ISV) programs it now has for the Linux operating system — it does reflect the growing stature of open-source software like JBoss and MySQL in the information technology industry, said Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst with research firm IDC.
"Open-source projects have become an important part of the infrastructure of HP's customers, and so HP had to respond with a set of best practices and support policies that allow these customers to operate with a strong level of comfort," said Kusnetzky.
HP already has relationships with proprietary alternatives to JBoss and MySQL like BEA Systems 's application server and Oracle 's database, and while Fink did not think that Tuesday's news would threaten the proprietary products, he did say that the popularity of open-source software was having an effect on the commercial software world.
"There are people who paint these doomsday scenarios (for proprietary software). I don't think those are realistic scenarios," he said. However, he added, JBoss and MySQL may begin to force Oracle and BEA to develop more advanced features to keep ahead of their open-source competitors. "It will impact the commercial world and that means, Oracle, BEA, you need to start moving up the stack."