JBoss to start open sourcing systems management agent

Middleware player JBoss, now part of Red Hat, is looking to widen its reach in systems management by open sourcing its agent technology.

JBoss is opening up its Operations Network (ON) agent technology to developers in a bid to drive standards in open-source systems management, the middleware vendor has announced.

ON is management software for JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite (JEMS) enabling users to inventory, administer, configure, monitor, automatically update and provision applications based on JEMS. The company is making the announcement at its JBoss World user conference taking place in Las Vegas this week.

"When you look at the open-source systems management space, there's really not a significant set of technologies or infrastructure there," Shaun Connolly, vice president of product management at JBoss, said. The middleware player is looking to create "a heterogenous systems management solution" that can be standardized in the open-source arena, he added.

JBoss already uses its agent technology to manage a variety of operating systems including Linux, Windows and some versions of Unix as well as JBoss middleware and Apache Web Server and Apache Tomcat. The vendor will look to the open-source developer community to create management agents for other middleware products and for database software, Connolly said. JBoss intends to release blueprints, certification toolkits and methodologies that third-party developers can then use to validate their extensions and plug into the ON management for JEMS.

JBoss has yet to determine the specific open-source licenses it will use for the agent technology.

ON already integrates well with some third-party middleware, according to Connolly. Microsoft will be at JBoss World showing integration between ON and its Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM), an event and performance management tool for Windows Server System, he said.

The open-source agent move is the first major step JBoss has taken since Linux distribution company Red Hat completed its US$350 million acquisition of the open-source company just over a week ago. JBoss is now the middleware division of Red Hat. The Linux vendor has some systems management capabilities of its own with its Red Hat Network offering, which provides users with updates and patches to its software.

The combined company ultimately intends to bring JBoss ON and Red Hat Network together as a unified systems management offering to handle both JEMS and the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system, Connolly said. He didn't say when the combined product might appear, but pointed out the existing similarity between both companies' architectures and networks.

In other news Tuesday, JBoss released its Seam 1.0 framework for developing Web 2.0 applications, which brings together and integrates technologies such as Ajax (asynchronous JavaScript and XML), JavaServer Faces, Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0 and business process management. The vendor also said it was extending its current certification program to include companies that use JEMS to provide hosted software services.

JBoss is expecting 850 to 900 attendees this week at what will be the company's third JBoss World, Connolly said. JBoss founder Marc Fleury, who now heads up Red Hat's middleware division, is set to share his Tuesday keynote address with Matthew Szulik, Red Hat's chairman and chief executive officer.

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