I attended WSO2Con 2013 US which was held in San Francisco on October 29 – 31, 2013. Having spent much of the past year engaging with WSO2 executives and architects as I started a new business, I was eager to see how customers were adopting and using components of the WSO2 middleware stack in applications. I was interested in two things: 1) the type of customer that adopts an open source capability, and 2) the types of applications that were being implemented. Open source software is used in many different types of functions, from Cloud Operating Systems (e.g., OpenStack) to business applications (e.g., SugarCRM). Middleware, of course, is “digital plumbing” and is used to orchestrate and integrate Cloud and/or on-premise applications. Middleware is not as glamorous as Cloud Operating Systems or CRM systems, but it’s the plumbing that results in streamlining the orchestration and information sharing functions between SaaS and on-premises applications. So, who are some of the customers and what are the applications that open source middleware is being used to orchestrate and integrate?
Customer Adoption and Application Types
There were several customer presentations at the WSO2 Conference. These customers represented different vertical industries and is an indication, understandably so, that there is a cross-industry perspective to adoption of open source middleware. Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace and aircraft manufacturer. Boeing also has a major business unit working on the cutting edge of information technology, providing their Digital Aviation Platform using WSO2 open source middleware, where information sharing with internal and external partners is of paramount importance. Security and protection of shared information is critically important. Jim Crabbe’s Keynote Address, Cutting-edge IT at Boeing: Transforming Commercial Aviation using WSO2, described Boeing’s adoption and usage of open source middleware to create a highly effective digital ecosystem that is a major complement to their business. BarclayCard US is the seventh largest credit card issuer in the US and described their adoption and usage of WSO2 ESB and Governance Registry (Powering an enterprise with messaging and APIs) to integrate with their high transaction volume, backend service providers. Deutsche Telekom has adopted WSO2 open source middleware to power their connected car platform. One blueprint and a multitude of applications – How WSO2 Middleware powers Deutsche Telekoms connected car platform architecture describes the architectural blueprint that is behind Deutsche Telekom’s ability to deliver a multitude of applications in eMobility (electric car), infotainment, safety and comfort areas for various target groups such as car drivers, OEM’s, dealers/workshops or fleet operators. These applications use several WSO2 open source middleware technologies in support of the underlying service-oriented architecture (SOA). BNY Mellon is using WSO2 technology to power their enterprise activity engine. Their implementation is described in Enterprise Activity Engine using WSO2 Ecosystem which uses WSO2’s Business Activity Monitoring, Complex Event Processing and Enterprise Service Bus technologies to provide management and operations personnel with immediate awareness of business events and changing business conditions across the enterprise. This is no small feat given the billions of transactions that are processed through BNY Mellon’s applications.
Open Source Choice
I came away from the conference being impressed with the fact that large enterprises have put their trust in an open source middleware stack. A good measure of technology adoption is the customers that are using it, the extensive usage of more than one component of the stack and the complexity and critical nature of the applications it is being used in. All of these measures were represented in the customers that presented their experience with and adoption of WSO2 open source middleware.
Of course, that brings up the question as to why an open source middleware stack was chosen as opposed to a commercial vendor stack. BarclayCardUS evaluated several open source and commercial vendor products in their selection process. WSO2 was chosen because it was inexpensive, it had the ability to be extended, there was insight into the source code and it was not tied to a vendor for any and all extensions to the product. Deutsche Telekom went through a Proof of Concept selection process that evaluated commercial ESB products, WSO2 and other open source ESB products. The technical criteria resulted in both commercial vendors and WSO2 (to the exclusion of other open source vendors) being evaluated for their ability to solve the integration and scalability challenges of the Connected Car platform. As part of the non-technical evaluation process, WSO2 was determined to provide significant cost reductions as compared to commercial vendors in addition to other specific non-technical criteria.
It is pretty clear that WSO2 has done a great job of delivering the right open source products to the market and large enterprise customers are beginning to adopt it. Of course, open source middleware is not just for enterprise customers. With no license fees, smaller companies stand to benefit significantly from the usage of this technology as well.
David has founded or co-founded companies that delivered cutting edge monitoring and management products. He spearheaded the development of one of the first business transaction monitoring products in the APM market. David currently is the founder of iBIT, a consultancy that delivers application consulting, implementation and managed services using an open source middleware platform from WSO2. He believes that the use of open source software will become mainstream among both enterprise and small medium business organizations. He has Bachelor of Science, Master of Civil Engineering and Doctorate in Civil Engineering degrees from the University of Minnesota.