Monday, September 13, 2010

Celebrating 5 years of WSO2

While our official birthday is August 4th (pretty much a random date that I chose between the various steps of starting that we went through!), this week we’re going to be celebrating our 5 year anniversary with a bunch of events!

The entire WSO2 family has traveled (or are still traveling) to Sri Lanka – Paul is on his way from Emsworth, UK; Paul’s mom from Glasgow (Paul’s late father was of course one of our seed investors and we’re honored to have his mom be with us for this occasion!); Jonathan from Auburn, CA; Mahesh from Sydney, AU; Rebecca Hurst (our PR person, President of KineticPR) from San Francisco, CA; Pradeep Tagare (Intel Capital) from Mumbai, India and last (but never least!) James Clark from Bangkok, Thailand. We’ll miss one 3rd board member Alok Mohan who unfortunately couldn’t make it!

First up is to announce that we’re just about to cross the 100 employee mark! We have a bunch of new folks starting today .. um, yeah, 25 to be exact :). Yes, that’s a HUGE number of and we’re going to be working hard to get everyone properly integrated and settled in!

Actually when you add the 20 or so people on study leave from us working towards their PhD’s in Computer Science, we’re really about 125 employees .. but with the new group we’ll cross the 100 active members count. That’s a major milestone and its great to have it happen in sync with our 5 year anniversary as the new people get to experience our culture right out of the box.

To accommodate all the new people we’ve been doing some major office refurbishment / redesign in Colombo and have also signed up a 2nd location. That is just down the street from where we are at and we will be ceremonially opening that up later today as well! Its been a marathon effort by Udeshika and her team to get all the changes implemented and while its definitely coming down to the wire it looks like it’ll all be ready :). Awesome power of teamwork!

We’ll post some pictures of our offices soon!

Tomorrow (Tuesday 14th) and Wednesday are of course the dates of our first ever WSO2Con Conference!

We have prepared an excellent program for this and have nearly 300 people signed up to attend! We also ran a promo on WSO2 OxygenTank to give a free trip to attend WSO2Con and I’m thrilled to announce that Adam Firestone from SAIC, USA and Jagannath Nori from Inland Revenue, New Zealand were selected! I think Adam landed a few hours ago and Jagannath should be here soon as well. I look forward to meeting them in person soon!

After the conference on Wednesday night, we have organized an invitation-only Gala Dinner for business leaders, senior government officials, senior academics, and the diplomatic community in Sri Lanka to introduce WSO2 to them. I’m amazed at the strong response we’ve had from the top business leaders in Sri Lanka to our invitation! I look forward to presenting a very different kind of company to them :). We have engaged the best musical talent in Sri Lanka to help set the right environment for this event- Ananda Dabare, the lead-violinist of the Colombo Symphony Orchestra and Bhatia & Santush, the best of the best musical group in Sri Lanka!

After the conference and gala dinner we have invited partners and select others attending WSO2Con to participate in a 2-day technical workshop to give them a deep understanding of our entire platform. We have about 25 people participating in that and will have our new team join as well so they will also get a “bootcamp” session!

Finally, on Friday night comes the real celebration :). We have organized a full scale party for the entire WSO2 team, their friends and family, ex-employees etc. to get together and have fun! That’s going to be a (long) night of good food, drink and great live music and lots of dance!

Of course this celebration is nothing but a simple yet important milestone in our journey! WSO2 is really just begun .. and to use Shakira’s Waka Waka words:

You're on the frontline
Everyone's watching
You know it's serious
We're getting closer
This isn’t over

And to the WSO2 team, my message is:

The pressure is on
You feel it
But you've got it all
Believe it

Looking forward to an amazing, memorable week; followed by the next amazing 5 years!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Its not just standalone BPM that is dead!

There was a thread recently on InfoQ asking whether standalone BPMS is dead.

Yes it is dead.

But, that's not the only standalone thing that is dead! Standalone Business Rules Systems is dead. Standalone Application Servers are dead. Standalone ETL products are dead. Standalone Messaging products are dead. Standalone ESBs are dead. Standalone Enterprise Content Management systems are dead. Standalone Security products are dead. Yes, they're all dead.

They're all dead because customers are tired of being integration companies. What happens when a customer buys one of these standalone BPMS/BRS/ETL/etc. products is that the customer has to figure out how to integrate it to the other standalone products they've bought from other vendors. How does that help the customer's IT shop deliver business value to their organization?

Enterprise problems don't come neatly packaged into BPM problems or Business Rules problems or Data Transformation problems or any one such well defined category. Instead, enterprise problems are complex problems that require an entire repertoire of tools which can be combined nicely to solve the problem at hand. Attempting to build solutions to these complex problems with a single sledgehammer approach is one of the reasons why many IT projects take so long to complete and end up being so expensive.

The customer's IT shop is like the place which maintains the vehicle that the enterprise's IT is. What happens after a few years of taking standalone products and trying to live by their rules (not to mention their expensive consultants) and creating hodge-podge solutions is that the car ends up looking like this:
That's why enterprise middleware needs to be 100% internally self-consistent and fully integrated. Without that, every turn may drive the IT shop into a wall. Behind every dark spot on the road could be a pot hole. Or, at best, the IT shop is not able to drive the car down the freeway with cruise control turned on .. instead its constantly hitting speedbumps.

Don't like that? Well then you need middleware that can scale up and offer exactly the features that you need to solve the problem cleanly. Your IBM/Oracle/Tibco/JBoss middleware can't do that? Well then you have to try WSO2 Carbon based products .. and your car will end up looking like this :-).
The best part of course is that all of our products are 100% open source under Apache license and free for you to use. If you want absolutely world class enterprise support, call us and we'll sell it to you at $8000/server. All very simple.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What is an "open source business"?

Paul recently wrote a great article on what it really means to be an "open source business." Its now posted on SDTimes! Read it and you'll be able to tell the fakes apart :-).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

10 years of SOAP!

This is a historic week for SOAP .. it was on April 26, 2000 that the SOAP v1.1 specification was published. Then, it was 10 years to the date today that we published IBM SOAP4J, the first ever SOAP implementation!

Wow time flies when you're having fun.

This is a good time for me to remember some of the various milestones that I've been part of in the last 10 years related to SOAP and WS-*, which of course lead me to where I'm now in WSO2. This is a rambling post that I'm writing down to remember some fun things that happened in the last 10 years. If I missed acknowledging anyone that was not intentional! If I misquoted or misrepresented anyone again please accept my apologies.

Matt Duftler, Paco Curbera and I wrote IBM SOAP4J. When Microsoft released SOAP 0.9 back in Nov/Dec 1999, I ended up getting involved with the IBM team that was formulating a "response". That was basically because I was an "XML expert" at the time in IBM as I was one of the representatives on the XSLT Working Group and had done BML (Bean Markup Language, very similar to Spring but several years before Spring) and other various XML things. In other words, I got involved with SOAP pretty randomly :).

Early in 2000 IBM decided to join with Microsoft to help push SOAP. IBM was already working (secretly) with Microsoft on what would eventually become UDDI, so it was a natural thing to do. Before the v1.1 spec came out, I helped refine the drafts and at that time my group in IBM Research started the Java implementation.

(On a side note, before IBM decided to join SOAP, we created an internal alternative .. called SCUM ;-). It (luckily) never saw the light of day!!!)

I was also dead keen to release the source code for it. We worked hard to convince the IBM software group management that IBM would gain a lot by open sourcing the thing .. basically it was a chance to get an implementation out quickly which would allow people to play with it freely without fear. IBM had a process for approving open source contributions (of course). In an incredible chain of events, we managed to start and finish the process (including getting legal & IP clearance) in 3 days .. the code was ready on around April 25th and we took it thru the system and had it ready to go on April 28th! (Matt and I wrote most of the original bits and Paco came on board a bit later .. we had many late nights getting it done on time.)

So on April 28th, exactly 2 days after the spec was released, IBM announced the availability of IBM SOAP4J via alphaWorks, with full source code! I think the code was then under the IBM Public License but I can't remember for sure.

In May 2000, Matt & I attended WWW 9 in Amsterdam. That's where I first met Glen Daniels and also the ever-so-colorful Dave Winer. We also went for an interesting dinner, including a visit to an infamous "coffee shop" as well as stroll down the interesting parts of town! Later Glen was one of the first people to join the Apache SOAP project and became a major contributor very soon. Later of course he would lead Apache Axis, which was the first re-write of the Java SOAP stack.

While the source code was available, the project was still an IBM project - that is, it was not really open source. So then, with a lot of help from Sam Ruby, we ended up donating IBM SOAP4J to form the Apache SOAP project, then under the XML project. That was in June 2000 if I recall correctly.

In the meantime, Matt, Paco & I also came up with an interface description language for SOAP services. The original version was called XIDL and the later version (which was very much like WSDL but even more powerful) was called NASSL (Network Application Service Specification Language). The creation of NASSL had a huge impact on the direction of several Web services specs and the mindset IBM (in particular Don Ferguson, then chief architect of IBM middleware, now CTO of CA) drove into the specs: that the world of SOA was not just about SOAP. In fact Don was our God father .. he was the main guiding hand behind what we were doing.

Microsoft in the meantime published something called SDL (Service Description Language). Then we worked (secretly) with Microsoft to combine SDL with NASSL to form WSDL 1.0 and released it in September 2000. That was my first experience with inter-company techno-political negotiation! Quite fun :). Every time we hit a wall we'd escalate to Don and they'd escalate to Andrew Layman .. and Don & Andrew would have a "parental" meeting and resolve the conflict and the kids would be off playing again. A few months later IBM & Microsoft jointly contributed WSDL 1.1 to the W3C and set it off on the standards path. WSDL 2.0 (of which I was one of the editors and Jonathan Marsh, now VP Bizdev in WSO2, was chair of the working group) would come out much much later .. and unfortunately too late for wide adoption as WSDL 1.1 is with us (forever :-().

In January 2001, the W3C held their infamous Workshop on Web Services. IBM's position paper (written primarily by Don Ferguson) became a roadmap of what we ended up driving towards for the next 5+ years. I was a lowly Research Staff Member in IBM Research at the time, but Don (who was God of IBM Software Group) was an incredible mentor and he gave me opportunities that I can't imagine anyone giving a young kid (yeah I even had some hair). I now try to do that for other people .. probably not as well as Don. Rod Smith, who was then VP of Emerging Technologies in IBM, and an absolute STAR of IBM's executive family, became the spokesperson for IBM's Web services & SOA strategy. Rod is an amazing presenter and can articulate business value in incredible ways. The presentation that IBM gave at that workshop is here. As I made many of the slides (which is evidenced by how boring the slides are) I got my name put on it along with Don & Rod :-). If you read thru the paper and the presentation, you can see much of the WS-* vision laid out there!

In that presentation we had WSEL and WSFL. I was sitting next to Andrew while Rod was presenting and I remember his leaning over me and asking whether these were specs or placeholder names. I think I gave a mixed answer .. and that set us up to working on parallel specs and having to merge them. That's how WSFL and XLANG came separately and got combined into BPEL4WS.

It was during this time that I met Dr. Frank Leymann, Distinguished Engineer in IBM and head of IBM workflow technologies. Frank taught me how to spell workflow and gave Paco and me the opportunity to work with himself, Mark Thomas-Schmidt and others on WSFL. Paco and I got involved because we had in the meantime expanded BML work to add recursive composition and we convinced Frank that in addition to being a flow language, WSFL needed to define a service itself .. that is, it had to be a recursive composition language. WSFL didn't quite get that right but we got it right in BPEL4WS. Working on that spec was an absolute joy and a learning experience for me. Frank, Dieter Roller (now retired from IBM), Satish Thatte (Microsoft) and Jo Klein (Microsoft), Paco and I met a bunch of times to work out issues and merge XLANG and WSFL. Oh yes we needed parently supervision multiple times in that process too :-). Eventually we published the spec and my group of course did an immediate implementation (IBM BPWS4J, first impl of BPEL4WS) and had it ready on alphaWorks.

WSEL eventually got done as WS-Policy and then of course various policy domains (WS-SecurityPolicy etc.) got defined.

On the Apache front, there was incredible progress too. Apache SOAP was really a quick hack type thing. It used DOM, had a relatively constrained type mapping model and really had no support for SOAP headers. Glen lead the thinking about how to re-do it resulting in a large f2f meeting in Washington DC somewhere in December 2001 (I think). After that Glen and a few others started hacking hard on Axis which shipped sometime in 2002 and instantly became the #1 SOAP implementation in Java. Axis had its issues but it was dramatically more powerful than Apache SOAP and quite a bit more performant too.

I had run into Paul Fremantle in 1998 or so when he wrote an IBM Redbook on XML and XSL processing. I had also done BSF (Bean Scripting Framework, which is now part of the JDK as JSR 223 and is an Apache project). Sometime in 98/99 and Matt Duftler and I integrated BSF into the IBM JSP engine to make JSP pages multi-lingual. One of the languages we integrated to BSF was XSLT (via then LotusXSLT which became Apache Xalan) and Paul ran into this while talking about how to do XML and XSLT in JSP pages. He was either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid to even try that stuff at the time (!!!) but we started working together as he kept calling saying "the shit don't work"!

After Paul returned to UK, Paul took BML and made an EJB version of it called EJBML. I think we released the spec and code as part of BML but I can't find it any more. EJBML basically was inversion of control for EJB applications .. without us knowing that's what it was! Concepts from EJBML and BSC (Bean Scripting Components, which we even filed a patent for .. before I realized what patents were and stopped filing them) all went into SCUM (the SOAP competitor which never saw the light of day).

Paul then created Generalized Services Framework (GSF) which eventually got morphed and came out as WSIF - Web Services Invocation Framework, which later became another Apache project. WSIF was a runtime cousin of WSDL - had a pluggable binding model and standard API to interact with services, no matter how the wire interaction looked like. In fact, Paul and I wrote a CACM article in 2002 where we talked about taking COBOL stuff and making it into services thru WSIF. Interestingly, IBM actually shipped support for that in the early Process Server versions (which used WSIF for all invocations).

WSIF later became major input to JSR 109.

I also remember getting a request in early 2002 (approximately) saying "write up a JSR to standardize everything around WSDL and Java" (IBM and Sun were fighting at the time and the way the Java Community Process was set up, he who lead the expert group controlled all). That's what lead to JSR 110 - Java API for WSDL. Unfortunately, we didn't include language binding into that JSR .. and later Sun took control of that and went onto defining JAX-RPC JSR 101, lead by my friend Roberto Chinnici.

I moved back to Sri Lanka in August 2001, while still keeping my IBM Research job in New York. Around that time, I had convinced myself that implementing WS-* by layering it in front of J2EE as IBM was doing was the wrong way to do it. So in December 2002 (2001?) I remember giving a presentation to Rod Smith and David Bolokker suggesting a total rewrite of the entire WebSphere platform around XML and SOAP. Rod always thought WebSphere was too bloated and wanted to redo it but never could get resources to do it. Hey we were in research .. so no one could tell us what not to do :). So we started a project called the "Colombo Project" (because I was living in Colombo) which was to build a service execution platform from scratch.

In the meantime, I had helped start the Lanka Software Foundation in Sri Lanka to help Sri Lanka developers contribute to open source (not use FOSS but manufacture it). As I was working in Web services heavily, I knew where there were opportunities to write code. Axis/C++ was the first project done by LSF - 4 developers (donated by JKCS and Virtusa), 4 Pentium3 machines with 512MB RAM and a lab at Univ of Colombo due to the vision of (late) Prof. V.K. Samaranayake)).

In 2003 (I think) LSF took 4 Univ of Moratuwa interns to do a project. The task I assigned them was to take Apache Axis and rewrite it using a pull architecture (using Alek Slominski's XmlPull library) and make it run 10x faster. The team consisted of Srinath Perera (now Dr. & an architect in WSO2), Dimuthu Leelaratne (now a senior member of WSO2's security team Jeykumaran Chandrasegaram (now in UK) and Vairamuthu Thayapavan (working in Sri Lanka).
They delivered and the resulting effort, AxisMora, was contributed in 2003 to Apache Axis to form the seed for the Axis2 effort.

LSF applied for a grant from the Swedish International Development Agency and got $100k for a 1year effort. That's what funded the original Apache Axis2 team in Sri Lanka. We started the Axis2 effort with a f2f meeting in Colombo where Glen, Paul, Dims and various other people came to help do the initial design of Axis2. Srinath (who had just graduated) lead the effort along with several others (all of who are now doing PhDs in the US!). Axis2 too has been an incredible success with it now being the most popular Web services platform in Java.

So going back to the Colombo project, we got a working system done sometime in 2004. Paul was the software group supporter for that project and was actively involved with us. In September 2004 I took Colombo thru the entire software group hierarchy trying to get it out as a new product direction. Unfortunately it was too threatening to WebSphere (I even made a business plan for IBM!) and so it was to be killed and "knowledge transferred" to various work going on in IBM. In fact that was probably the right business decision for IBM!

That's when I decided to quit from IBM. Paul, myself and another person (who didn't end up joining WSO2 (yet)) had a secret meeting at his mother's place in London on December 21, 2004 to figure out plans to start a company to take the Colombo idea forward. We had expanded vision by then - our initial plan was for 3 products: an app server, an integration server and a process server.

Then of course 5 days after that the massive Boxing Day Tsunami struck Sri Lanka and Asia in general. 40,000 people died in Sri Lanka within a couple of hours. That's how Sahana was born .. now the world's leading disaster management system. I was very involved with that stuff for a few months so my company plans got delayed.

I finally quit IBM (with a lot of sad feelings) on April 15th, 2005. WSO2 was eventually formed in August 2005 and started on a journey which its still on ..

IBM went onto re-do their internal SOAP stuff taking various ideas from Colombo etc.. 6 months after I left however, we were able to convince IBM to kill that and join Apache Axis2. A bunch of us (6 people including Paul and myself IIRC) went to Austin and gave IBM a week of deep deep Axis2, Neethi etc. training to get them started. IBM is of course now a major contributor to Axis2 and ships it in WebSphere and a ton of IBM products.

So going back to SOAP for a second, I've had the luck and privilege to be deeply involved with 3 generations of SOAP implementations (IBM SOAP4J / Apache SOAP, Apache Axis and Apache Axis2). While each iteration has done major improvements, I still don't think we got it right! Axis is pretty much the front line of SOAP implementation architecture (yes I know there are many impls now and their differences) but there's room for a significant new rewrite :-). [I have recently started to supervise an MSc thesis which is going to do some PoC work in Erlang to do just that .. let's see where it goes!]

I would be remiss if I didn't specifically acknowledge the incredible role the Apache Software Foundation (of which I'm a proud member) has had in furthering the SOAP, WS-* and SOA agenda. If not for Apache SOAP there would not have been such rapid adoption of SOAP. Apache Axis made sure that the open source impls would continue to lead. Apache Axis2 made sure that that happened again. A ton of supporting projects (Sandesha, Kandula, Neethi, WSS4J, Rampart etc. etc.) all exist in Apache to give full coverage of WS-*. Now there's also Apache CXF which provides another (independent) implementation. Going beyond SOAP, Apache also hosts Woden, the only impl of J-WSDL and a ton of other projects like Tuscany, Ode, Synapse etc. which totally round out the SOA platform.

In short, if not for Apache's major support, Web services & SOA would not be where it is today. Thank you.

Update: Corrected typo in SOAP 0.9 date.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

On innovation by Indian IT firms - comment to TechCrunch

There was a TechCrunch post about workforce education where the author claimed that India does it better. I posted a long comment which is posted below. The main point is that India has a lot to learn from America on playing in the right part of the value chain. Training people to be better cogs in a wheel will get India nowhere (fast or slow).

You need to read the original post first.

Here's my comment:


IMO there’s a huge fundamental flaw in your analysis. Firstly, I do agree that companies train less now and expect people to produce immediately. That’s simply reality globally – and the reason Indian companies train a lot up front is often because most new hires are unable to produce much (any?) without such training.

But that’s not the main issue I have with your analysis. You write:

“Additionally, the Indian R&D industry has been moving into the higher realms of innovation. In the aerospace industry, Indian companies are designing the interiors of luxury jets, in-flight entertainment systems, collision-control / navigation-control systems, fuel-inverting controls, and other key components of jetliners for American and European corporations.”

Well the R&D industry may be moving into “higher realms of innovation” but *whose* problems are they solving? Did they think of those problems and say they’re going to find a solution? As you yourself said they’re doing it “for American and European corporations.”

Therein lies the rub. All they’re offering is low cost paid labor. They are not scratching an itch they have. They are not innovating – they are simply delivering value to someone else in raw form so that they can refine it and make the real money.

That is what we in old colonial countries do so well – take our raw material and export it so that someone else can refine it and send it back as value added products for us (and the rest of the world to consume). I don’t need to tell you where the real value lies in that chain.

All you’ve described is that Indian now not only answer phones and transcribe documents (essentially low skill labor) but that they also solve hard analytical problems and do lab research for “American and European corporations”.

That is not innovation – that is just slave labor. Yes that’s right – to me that is simply selling bodies at whatever margin the Indian bosses can make something at.

Of the areas you mentioned, how many Indian brands exist in the world? How many products have Indians thought of and take it all the way to market in the west? Until India starts doing that, there’s nothing for America to learn from India. Right now, there’s TONS for India to learn from America.

India needs to stop selling its people and start finding problems and opportunities and start addressing them and competing globally with innovative products and services. That is the beauty of the US – that there are always new entrepreneurs who pop up with brilliant new ideas who go on to challenge & change the world. With every 100 of those there is one winner. If you don’t have hundreds popping up every year, the winners won’t be there. Of course there are a few exceptions in India but those numbers won’t be enough to really become a global player in the innovation driven IT world. (I know nothing about other industries so I am not going to comment.)

The real problem is that the Indian bosses are happy with their 30% margin. They’re happy because they can make billions more by hiring a few million more Indians to scale up. Ah but have you done a study of per-employee revenue generated by Indian BPO & services companies vs. major IT companies? My understanding is that its in the range of $30k/year. IBM does about $250k/year ($100B by 400k employees), Microsoft about $500k/year ($60b by about 120k employees) and Google about $1m/year ($20B by 20k employees). Do you think that doing R&D for “American & European corporations” will ever get Indian companies to the Google levels? Not a chance.

I’m a Sri Lankan who lived in the US for 16 years and returned home 8 years ago. In WSO2, the company I started with Paul Fremantle, we don’t treat our Sri Lankan team as “cheap labor”. They are part and parcel of the innovation engine we have created. In fact, they *are* the innovation engine we have created. We are now the only truly 100% open source alternative enterprise middleware platform to IBM, Oracle & Tibco. And a lot of the innovation came from young kids in Sri Lanka. We’re about to launch our entire middleware platform as a “Platform as a Service” offering – totally out innovating and going ahead of everyone.

Pretty much the only difference between us and a bunch of Indians in some Indian company is the mindset we bring to the table. We don’t view anything as “someone else will define the problem and we have to solve it”. Rather we look at it as “how do we do MUCH better than IBM/Oracle/Tibco and all the little guys out there”. We encourage and support people in thinking disruptively. We teach each other. We listen to the world. We reward risk taking. We give the freedom to work and think in a way that enables innovation.

With all due respect Vivek, you and other business school types are doing Indians a huge disservice when you tell them “bat on” with what’s going on. If India wakes up and starts challenging the world with innovation that originates from India then there will be something to talk about. Telling the world that India has cheap labor from low skills to PhDs is something I’d personally be ashamed to talk about rather than be proud of.

Sanjiva Weerawarana, Ph.D.
Founder, Chairman & CEO; WSO2, Inc.
Founder, Director & Chief Scientist; Lanka Software Foundation
Member; Apache Software Foundation
Director; Sahana Software Foundation
Visiting Lecturer; University of Moratuwa

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WSO2 launches Cloud Identity service

Today we announced our second cloud service: Cloud Identity. See: and you can use it right now at

(We have a principle of not announcing vaporware!)

This is basically our WSO2 Identity Server product converted into a multi-tenant identity management system and hosted on Amazon EC2 for scalable and reliable deployment. Basically, within about 5 minutes you can register your domain, add your users and then have your own OpenID, Cardspace, SAML 2.0, WS-Trust STS for authentication and XACML and (very soon) OAuth for authorization. Translated to English, that means you can get  a single place to manage your users and give them access to Drupal, Liferay, Google Apps and a whole lot more. We will soon be adding LDAP to this list as well, which means you can even tie Windows, Unix login to it as well as other services like SVN.

Nothing like giving it a try to see how it works!

[UPDATE] Here are some additional references for you to get started with:

Happy identitying!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The myth of rogue states

The February 8th issue of the Newsweek (International) magazine has an absolutely great article titled “End of the Rogue”. The article is about how the concept of a “rogue state” (apparently created the cold war days) is no longer valid and how the US needs to get past it.

Not surprisingly many comments on the online edition don’t agree that the US approach needs to change. Living in Sri Lanka, however, and having observed the wrath of the US (and UK and EU) for the way the anti-LTTE war was conducted and ended, I can see what must be going on in “rogue” countries!

The most interesting quote I found in the article is this:

We don’t have the right to think other people should think like us.

If we all could live by that the entire world would be a better place!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WSO2 platform overview

We recently posted a slide deck that gives an updated overview of the WSO2 platform. This covers both our downloadable products as well as our cloud offerings. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Delivering a complete middleware platform under the Apache license

Let me start by wishing everyone a wonderful 2010!

Right from the get-go, WSO2 was designed to be a company that built a complete middleware platform. We set out to target the big guys who have a complete story, except with two key fundamental differences: our technical approach and our business model.

Our technical approach is of course based on Web services and SOA. For the first time in the history of computing, Web services have offered a lingua franca for how systems interact with each other. There were of course many previous attempts, but one camp or the other of the technology industry didn't agree and so there was no "English" of the computer world. Web services has changed that with every major and minor vendor supporting interoperability via Web services (XML, HTTP, SOAP and the rest of WS-*).

SOA, despite the much ballyhooed story of its demise at the beginning of 2009, is not only alive and well, but is in fact kicking butt. SOA is fundamentally an approach for how to build large scale composite systems. As an approach, it mimics the real world's service-oriented economy. As such, SOA is a fundamental concept, not some vendor-driven theory. That said, SOA, like any other technology, has had to live through the Gartner Hype Curve. If at all instead of 2009 being the year SOA died, it became the year it came out of the trough and started climbing up towards the plateau of productivity.

Of course the fall into the trough was not without reason for SOA and Web services. Much of it was driven by middleware vendors not delivering anything new, anything valuable in the form of SOA middleware. Many of them simply took their existing middleware and rebranded it the shiny new SOA gimmick. Well that of course doesn't work and the cracks in the story will force you down to the trough .. and it did.

WSO2 is unique in having started from nothing and set off on a path to build a complete middleware platform with Web services and SOA in its heart. The result is simply orders of magnitude less complexity, much better performance and overall greater productivity and lower TCO. These are not random claims from me - these have all come from our users and customers.

We now call it Lean Enterprise Middleware. Try it and see - you'll be shocked at how lean it us, how productive it is and how much money you can save by replacing your legacy or pretend open source middleware stack with ours.

Now let's talk about the business model. Right from the beginning, we made a strong commitment to releasing all of our software under the Apache license and to not attempt any bait-n-switch type acts. Believe me, that took a lot of hard work to keep going .. investors for example have a major issue with the Apache license. Why? Well because you can take any of our software and do whatever you want with it and never ever pay us. We have no legal recourse to making you pay (as dual license business models do) nor any way to force you to pay for the good stuff (as many "commercial open source" companies do). Instead, we rely on delivering real, measurable value to our customers without forcing them to pay us. Our customers love us because they pay for the value we deliver to them, not because we are using the law to force them to pay for the software they use.
When I say you can do whatever, I mean whatever - recently one of our competitors sold a support contract for one of our own pieces of software! Yes, that is possible. In this case the people who will pay the eventual price is the customer who did the stupid thing of buying support from someone who has nothing to do with the software! Remember Oracle's Unbreakable Linux? Well that didn't break Redhat and neither will this act - it just shows how low some people will go to make a buck.
So today you can download an entire enterprise middleware platform from us without registering, without paying, without any risk of bait-n-switch for absolutely no cost. How can we afford to do that and become a successful business? We have many many customers who happily pay us to provide maintenance, provide help and in general to be their technology partner. So having thousands and thousands of free non-paying users is not a problem for us - that's free marketing and helps us save the world from the ugliness that is IBM, Oracle, etc. middleware.

WSO2 is delivering on the promise to build lean enterprise middleware and deliver 100% of it as open source under the Apache license. Oh yes, we also offer it as various cloud offerings - virtual machines, or online services.

We are the ONLY vendor offering a complete enterprise middleware platform 100% open source under the Apache license.

That was all wrapped up in 2009, a tremendous year for us. In an environment of economic uncertainty, not only did we meet our targets but we beat them. We have been doubling revenue each year and this year was no different. We are on a roll :-).

Looking towards 2010, we have more work to do to make our enterprise middleware platform simply untouchable by anyone else. We're already far ahead of our competitors with our WSO2 Carbon powered platform, but we have several things planned to further leave our competitors in the dust. As I wrote in an earlier blog, we practice open development - so if you want to be part of it come on over and join us on!