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Red Hat Heads for the JON 2.0

How do you manage an open source middleware stack?

If you're open source vendor Red Hat, the solution is straightforward. You develop an open source management product. That's what Red Hat is doing with its JBoss Operations Network (JON) 2.0 product, which is officially out today. The only issue is that JON isn't itself fully available under an open source license, at least not yet.

Red Hat's middleware management entry comes as the open source vendor ramps up its JBoss division in a bid for a bigger slice of the multi-billion dollar middleware market. JON 2.0 also in a small way elevates Red Hat into the management realm where HP's OpenView and IBM Tivoli dominate.

"It's a best of breed approach that takes the depth that we know about JBoss all the way down to the operating system layer and correlating that so that you have a holistic view of the JBoss environment," Katrinka McCallum, Red Hat's VP of management solutions, told InternetNews.com.

"That's really valuable information that the Tivoli's and OpenView's cannot capture at this moment. As a company we're focused on building the management solutions that drive our middleware and operating system platforms."

McCallum noted that JON 2 is not trying to be all things to all people or trying to be the next Tivoli or OpenView. As such, Red Hat is also working on extending plug-in strategies to plug into Tivoli and OpenView frameworks.

JON 2 helps with consistent application deployment. This way, an administrator can remotely deploy a certified and tested application stack across a number of servers. It also allows configuration to be more secure as administrators roll out a consistent configuration for compliance requirements.

Additionally JON 2.0 can be extended to monitor the health status of Web and application servers so administrators can identify problems proactively. McCallum explained that JON 2 includes an agent-based technology that provides users with visibility into what is happening in an environment. Data is stored for trending purposes, and it can also be used to create an alert if a specific metric is out of bounds.

The JON 2 product itself is not entirely born of Red Hat's efforts alone. In fact, JON is the offshoot for the RHQ open middleware management project between Red Hat and open source vendor Hyperic.

The RHQ effort came out of Red Hat's JBoss acceleration effort, intended to drive adoption of the middleware platform.

McCallum explained that what Red Hat has done is take Hyperic source code and added depth around deployment management and provisioning.

"The nice thing about the Hyperic relationship is that we're both open source companies," McCallum said. "Over time as the use of JON increases and we have specific needs for plugins, Hyperic may be able to provide plugins that we as a company would never actually put on our roadmap."

One key item that is on Red Hat's roadmap, however, is actually making all of the JON 2 source code available under an open source license.

"We're in the process of completing some of the legal steps of getting it into the open source community with the right GPL formats that we need," McCallum commented. "It is our intent over the next several months to get it completely out there so people can download the binaries, manipulate it and help us drive innovation forward."