This post was written by News Contributor, Pam Derringer.
Sometimes writing or reading tech stories about entirely different products can uncover new trends and ideas. I was intrigued with the JBoss Open Choice Java Application story last week because Red Hat officials said its new framework would enable customers to add specific functionality like clustering, caching, messaging and security in “microcontainers” or do without it, according to their needs.
In addition, for the first time, JBoss customers would be able to choose between three levels of application complexity, and move from one to another within the same management framework. By offering customers choice, JBoss will create major disruption in the Java application world, according to Aaron Darcy, JBoss product line director. Darcy added that customers are moving away from the bloated, one-size-fits-all applications that must contain code capable of doing everything, and opting for slimmer versions more tailored to their needs.
Darcy’s words struck a chord because last fall and again more recently, I wrote about rPath, a startup birthed by former Red Hat staffers who saw scaling problems with large deployments first-hand, and decided to solve the problem by upending the traditional all-purpose horizontal stack, creating a vertical, app-centric Linux-based stack with only the elements that a customized application needs to run. Obviously, rPath-constructed applications, too, are a lot slimmer than all-purpose counterparts. They are also a lot easier to maintain and update, saving time for IT operations staffs say rPath folks.
Although their approaches are somewhat different, the two companies are both reacting, it seems to me, to similar needs for more choice and customization rather than a hefty one-size-fits-all, “that’s all we offer” approach. Is this a trend that will reshape the software industry as we know it? What do you think?