IT Support for Geronimo J2EE Heats Up
Covalent Technologies' CEO Mark Brewer spoke with IDN about the trends his is seeing in Geronimo adoption and use among larger corporate IT shops. To date, Covalent has some 400 commercial clients using Apache, Tomcat and AXIS throughout their enterprise. It turns out, Geronimo is not just less expensive than commercial J2EE solutions, it is also less complicated. And, users like both.
An Integration Developer News
Mark Brewer, Covalent CEO
IDN: Can you tell us what trends you are seeing among early Geronimo users?
Brewer: So far, what we saw with Tomcat over the years looks to be the same [thing] we are seeing, or will see, with Geronimo. The customers are familiar with Java, and have Java programmers. But they realize the requirements for IBM and BEA were too much. And, on top of the complexity there were heavy license fees. And, most of all, they find that most of the applications they were deploying on IBM or BEA just don't need the whole package, they could use just a JSP or a servlet.
IDN: So, in your view, what is the early appeal of Geronimo?
Brewer: Geronimo is fairly light and much easier to deploy and I even wrote a little app and I don't know [much] about Java. The banks are looking at it, and their first apps will be back offiice apps. One is written in WebLogic and the other in Tomcat, and one [customer] is moving from TC because it needs an EJB. There are apps that people have written in EJBs that people will want to take advantage of, and if they need an app server but don't want another WL license.
IDN: What about programming skills?Is there a big ramp-up to get from existing J2EE app servers to Geronimo>
Brewer: Skills portability is a big feature, especially for Java programmers. Most people who know Java the transition is a no-brainer. But, for those that don't Java, it can be the hardest part. .
IDN: And what about JBoss?
Are there IT organizations looking at using Geronimo as a replacements for JBoss already?
Brewer: Yes, but that doesn't imply anything bad against JBoss. Geronimo comes out of a community not a company. And, I think over the past few years there has been a great realization that Apache [Software Foundation] can deliver robust tech for the enterprise.
IDN: Aside from the politics of the matter, are there operational and complexity issues with JBoss you are seeing? And, do those issues compel JBoss users to look at Geronimo?
Brewer: I would say there are difficulty in complexity with JBoss, just as there are with IBM's WebSphere and BEA WebLogic. To be fair, if a customer uses the JBoss App Server pure and simple -- without all the other add-ons, it is easy to deploy. But, we find that once customers start adding messaging, or different management add-ons, it can get a lot more complex.
IDN: Can you give us a flavor of what a migration from Tomcat to Geronimo might look like for your customers, or any company interested in Geronimo?
Brewer: It will have to go through an approval process, back office app that does processing of mortgage rates. It's not a customer facing apps, but the same group expects they will change the WL stuff. And, on the front end this is a mortgage site, that will also be Geronimo. Start off with back office components, and they have a fairly conservative model as far as adopting new tech.
IDN: Is Covalent becoming an evangelist for Geronimo, or are you finding customers or prospects already convinced they'd like to learn more about Geronimo?
Brewer: Traditionally, we are not evangelists. The customer calls us and says, "We want Tomcat, or Apache or AXISâ€¦" With Geronimo, we actually are finding ourselves doing more evangelism. With our current enterprise customer base, we are in a unique position to talk to corporations about Geronimo. So, we get a lot of questions. And, many of our customers ask us about what they would be giving up if they would give up WebSphere or JBoss. In fact, I think Covalent offers a Geronimo a great advantage as we have 400 recurring customers, and they trust us so when we say take a look at this project and if they have the time they will.
Inside Covalent's Added Geronimo Offerings
Last month, Covalent Technologies unveiled expanded support offerings for the Apache Geronimo J2EE 1.4-compliant app server.
Covalent first supported Geronimo right after its January release, and is now adding to that with real-time monitoring for Geronimo from Hyperic and more in-depth professional support thanks to a strategic partnership with Chariot Solutions, the Java and Open Source consultancy led by Geronimo Committee Aaron Mulder.
As to Covelent's expanded Geronimo support, there are two key items: