Discussions

News: A Look at IBM and its Open Source Strategies

  1. A new article on Business 2.0 takes a close look at IBM and how it has changed over the years, including coverage of how it won the contract to have Websphere run all of eBay - rival bids from BEA and Microsoft, and reasons behind IBM's shift in strategy towards open standards including Java and Linux.

    An interesting paragraph from the article:

    "IBM has shifted toward software and services just as competition on the hardware side of the industry has smashed margins to almost nothing. At the same time, the complexity of running a networked business is driving chief information officers everywhere to seek the comforting hand of IT services providers such as IBM. Big Blue's strategy boils down to this: Instead of trying to lock in customers with proprietary technology, it now tries to lock them in with irreplaceable IT services. Open-source technologies are the fountain that feeds that strategy..."

    Read This Is Your Father's IBM, Only Smarter.

    In contrast to this article, ZDNet has run an article about how IBM has shocked the industry in a recent disclosure about how it has patents on some of the underlying technology behind ebXML, which could open the door to royalties.

    Threaded Messages (17)


  2. Also on ZDNet: Open source: IBM's deadly weapon

    They make a lot of mileage in developing software that they later donate to open-source. They get good internal training (no better training that actually doing it) and they create a generous, open image.

    However, while IBM's products are not as closed as Microsofts (or as closed as they perhaps once were), they are still not *that* open.

    ++ WSAD (eclipse) only works with Websphere and DB2 (ok, and tomcat for servlet/jsp)
    ++ Websphere only integrates with MQSeries to give a non-standard MDB-like functionality
    ++ Websphere runs predominantly only on the IBM JVM
    ++ Websphere favours DB2 for CMP

    There is no doubt that their services arm are strategic to IBM. And what a better way to generate work for your services arm but to ship some very difficult-to-use products. Most IBM customers I have spoken with have permanent IBM consultants on site to just to manage their deployments. I never hear the same story (at least not the same numbers of on-site consultants) for Sun, BEA, ATG, SilverStream, etc etc - not even Microsoft.


  3. I'll tell you Nick, I get tired of having to correct your constant misinformation. What ever your beef is with IBM, I wish you'd get over it.

    WSAD 4.0 allows any EJB 1.1 server to be supported. The integrated unit test environment is for WAS only but WSAD can be and IS used to develop J2EE applications for use with WebLogic among others also. You can build an EJB 1.1 EAR inside WSAD, then deploy it using your favorite app servers tools and then attach WSAD to the external app server and debug away happily.

    WSAD is built on Eclipse and on this very site only a couple of weeks ago, a third party plugin was announced for Eclipse making it trivial to start/stop/attach a debugger to WebLogic,Oracle 9i,Orion,WebSphere etc. I fully expect this to continue with people writing plugins for editing descriptors, hot deploy etc.

    WSAD allows you to create CMPs that deploy to any supported WAS database, DB2 included.

    WSAD 5.0 will allow EJB 2.0 development in the same style. It's also build on the Eclipse 2.0 base and is way faster and smaller than the 4.0 (which used Eclipse 1.0) incidently. So, I don't know where you get your information from but I'd switch sources if I were you.

    WebSphere 3.5/4.0 integrates using XA with MQ only but integrates without XA with any JMS provider, I know of people using SonicMQ among others with even WebSphere 3.5. WAS 5.0 will allow any JMS provider to be easily plugged in, SonicMQ, FioranoMQ, full MQ, our internal JMS provider, SwiftMQ etc and it supports XA with those also so long as the JMS provider can also. I'm currently testing a third party JMS vendor (SwiftMQ V3.1) with my 5.0 builds and it's working just peachy, thank you very much, XA included (after a small bug fix in SwiftMQ which will be in the next SwiftMQ build, couple of weeks).

    Now, which JMS products will be supported on WAS 5.0 is simply a matter of what we put through our full testing. Not supported does not mean doesn't work. If the JMS product you want to use follows the spec then it'll work.

    WebSphere runs on the IBM JDK on platforms we have a JDK for. This is usually an advantage from a performance point of view as people may have gathered from our head to heads on w2K ECPerf runs. On Solaris, we run on the Sun JDK.

    That we run on our JDK is an advantage for the server in that our JVM performs better than most and for the full client we support Sun's JDK on Solaris and IBM's on Linux, W2K and AIX. If you want/need to use a different JDK for a variety of perfectly valid reasons, then use the thin client support and you can.

    WAS supports Oracle just as well as we support DB2 for CMP. We also support sybase, Informix and Cloudscape, SQL Server, etc. They all get the same level of testing and are equally supported. Don't think that just because we've published ECPerf on UDB that we only run on UDB. We did this because it's an IBM product and as it turned out, the numbers weren't bad either.

    Now, I'm fully expecting some wild response but frankly, don't bother. The facts have been stated, no spin, no marketing, take it or leave it.

    Regards,
    Billy (works for IBM).


  4. Hmmmm....maybe this is how they plan to support their open source efforts:

    http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1106-884681.html
  5. <quote>
    Now, which JMS products will be supported on WAS 5.0 is simply a matter of what we put through our full testing. Not supported does not mean doesn't work. If the JMS product you want to use follows the spec then it'll work.
    </quote>

    If it's unsupported then it does not matter wheather it works or not. No one, in the right mind, will use upsupported product in production.

    <quote>
    WebSphere runs on the IBM JDK on platforms we have a JDK for.
    </quote>

    Sounds like WebSphere is not supported with other JDKs on platforms where IBM JDK is available.
  6. IBMs JVM has more bugs fixed in it than Suns. Have a think about it first then reply !!!


  7. I didnt mean for this to be so provocative - but I guess I didnt qualify my points too well.

    I am sorry this is interpreted as "some beef" with IBM and that you have taken it personally.

    However, concentrating for the moment on what products we can actually buy *today* from IBM, I think my facts are reasonably correct. To my knowlege, we cannot buy WSAD5 or Websphere 5 and put it into production today - only v4.0. For this reason, I didnt factor in WAS5 when making my comments.

    In terms of my source of information - it includes IBM consultants (we are quite a large IBM customer), people I work with, other IBM customers, or my own personal experience.

    We were given a WSAD4 (not Eclipse) demo by one of IBM's consultants about 3-4 weeks ago. I had explored it a bit beforehand. In the demo - *they* were the ones that confirmed that the SQL query building support only worked with DB2 (for the moment) and that Appserver support was limited to Websphere (for the moment) and that only EJB1.1 was supported. I fully realise that because it is based on Eclipse any plugin can be developed for any appserver. However, I was referring to the "out of the box" WSAD product that you buy from IBM - the one we paid for. Perhaps my comment was too general.
    From what you say, it seems this is improved in WSAD5, but I havent seen it yet. Is a beta available?

    Websphere 3.5/4.0 does NOT support message driven beans. Instead a "message bean" (stateless session bean with onMessage method) is supported with MQSeries only.
    (I can see that the way I wrote it could have been interpreted as JMS support in general, but I was purely referring to MDB's.) In any case, lack of XA support in messaging is quite significant.

    As for database support, does Websphere CMP support Oracle's BLOB's/CLOB's? Perhaps my criticism is based on old information.

    As for JVM's:
    On NT, Websphere is only supported on the IBM JVM. On Linux, Websphere is only supported on the IBM JVM. (On IBM hardware, there is only the IBM JVM).
    The developer edition of Websphere is only available for Windows and Linux (consequently, Websphere predominantly supports the IBM JVM).

    Now, if you are using the IBM JVM on the server, you also need to use the IBM JVM on the client (for Swing, rmi-iiop clients) (at least, this was true 4 months ago). The reason is due to ORB interoperability problem with the Sun JVM. Now there is a work-around for this, but again, as of 4 months ago, this wasnt supported by IBM. If this is no longer the case, then I will be very happy.

    As for my snip at ease-of use of products, this comes from conversations I have had with other current (mostly unhappy) IBM customers and an ex-IBM (global services) employee. Also, from my own perspective: to support some Websphere web applications on 10 production boxes, and 15 development servers, we have 2 permanent IBM consultants on site. In contrast to this, we have around 100 IIS web applications (and IIS can be very ropey) and we have zero Microsoft people on site. We have also taken a development team newish to J2EE, and in the last 9 months, using Weblogic, Borland Appserver (and JBoss and Jonas) and we have required next-to-zero consultancy/support from either BEA or Borland to develop a number of applications.
    (We have also had some quite intelligent people take MQJMS and they struggled for a few days getting the simplest things to run. In contrast, they picked up Sonic and had some simple stuff running inside a day)

    Like you, I too am only interested in the facts... I have nothing to sell.

  8. And what a better way to generate work for your services arm but to ship some very difficult-to-use products.

    > ...
    > Like you, I too am only interested in the facts... I have nothing to sell.

    Reading the above, you did sound like you were selling sth. :)

    My projects involved no IBM consultants, not even temporary ones - yes, there was challenge just like with any other products but we've been doing fine. :) By the way, our project involved both DB2 and Oracle and I found no problem with CMP (VAJ/WebSphere 3.5). On the other hand, I found problem with Oracle - "ORA-08177: can't serialize access for this transaction", sound familiar to any Oracle developers? I remember seeing this problem addressed in WebLogic documentation. That added to my trust for DB2.

    Let me try your logic - "most J2EE projects I saw have consultants. I don't see a lot of ASP projects hire Microsoft consultants. Therefore, J2EE is hard-to-use?"

    I acknowledge IBM was slow in endorsing J2EE but you need to change your tone when IBM changes theirs starting from WebSphere 4.0 (already quite well with 3.5). Otherwise, it's not fair.

    Also, it's impossible to satisfy customers (I'm among them). When you have integrated solutions - they complain you are fat and want to lock'em in. But when you go disparate and requires integration - they feel you are too small, not complete and insecure. One day you complain product-coupling leads to vendor's advantage, but another day you might wish for product-coupling to buy you efficiency. Who's right? :)

    Also, one of many other things to IBM's credit. I found their open-ness does not come from the product alone. The developer resources (RedBook, DeveloperWorks, resources watching this site...) are also thing I can appreciate.

    I have much more to add. But I think I've made my point. By the way, dicussion/exchange like this goes on forever. Just watch every thread IBM gets involved. That's a good thing through - it keeps them checked and makes them roll. :)

    I look forward to 5.0.

    --Hao
  9. We were given a WSAD4 (not Eclipse) demo by one of IBM's

    >consultants about 3-4 weeks ago. I had explored it a bit
    >beforehand. In the demo - *they* were the ones that
    >confirmed that the SQL query building support only worked
    >with DB2 (for the moment)

    I can confirm that WSAD 4.0 supports multiple databases, including DB2, Oracle, Informix & Sybase. This includes EJB/CMP deployment, the query builder, and the "Relational Schema Center" tool, which allows import, editing & export of schemas.

    >that Appserver support was limited to Websphere (for the
    >moment) and that only EJB1.1 was supported.

    The test environment supports both WebSphere & Tomcat out of the box. We don't provide explicit code that exploits any other app server extensions, but I know of several customers who are using WSAD and (using the basic J2EE export structure) targeting non-WebSphere servers.

    Tim Francis
    (IBM pays me, but my opinions are my own)
  10. I have tried using iiop client to call ejbs deployed on websphere, but sorry to say it fails.
    If not, like to have more details.

  11. <Nick Minutello>
    Now, if you are using the IBM JVM on the server, you also need to use the IBM JVM on the client (for Swing, rmi-iiop clients) (at least, this was true 4 months ago). The reason is due to ORB interoperability problem with the Sun JVM. Now there is a work-around for this, but again, as of 4 months ago, this wasnt supported by IBM. If this is no longer the case, then I will be very happy.
    </Nick Minutello>

    Be happy Nick. You can use pluggable client for Sun's JDK:
    http://www7b.boulder.ibm.com/wsdd/downloads/pluggableclient.html

    But, anyway because of configuration management issues you'd better not use it and not use RMI/IIOP at all from remote clients. We use SOAP.

    PS: I agree with you :-) WAS is the worst thing when it comes to ease of development, even with WSAD. Funny, it's still easier to develop with Ant/Xdoclet/IDEA/Textpad than use feature-rich WSAD imho. And in production, be ready for unpredictable behaviors, unbeleivable bug ;-)

    Cheers,
    Ara.
  12. <Ara>
    Be happy Nick. You can use pluggable client for Sun's JDK:
    http://www7b.boulder.ibm.com/wsdd/downloads/pluggableclient.html
    </Ara>

    From that site:
    "Because the Pluggable Application Client runs on non-IBM JREs, it is not supported by IBM."


    Hmm.....


  13. I realize this might be just a little off topic but just to test my luck, since so many wsad experts voiced their appreciation for THE TOOL :-) :

    does anyone have a complex source configuration with multiple wsad projects and multiple CVS branches (ooops sorry, I ment STREAMS) that works?

    I'm evaluating WSAD's integration with CVS and what I found is: If your workspace contains a single project and you put it in CVS, it works beautifully. you can tag, branch and merge as you as you see fit. I can import tags (versions) and branches I created with command line CVS and command line CVS sees what I did in WSAD. This is THE BEST cvs integration I've ever seen, and I mean it.

    however, when I added a second project to the repository, IT WENT CRAZY!!!!!! it did create a new module for the project (as expected) but also did replicate the module in all the branches (ooops, sorry, streams) I created for the first project (CVS module). Now I cannot create new streams any more (actually, I can but I cannot add versions to it - the equivalent of tagging the branch head in CVS).

    so much for perfect integration. did anyone get past a simillar situation already? Billy, you seem to be an insider, do you have any advise?

    Thanks.

    Cheers,
    e.
  14. WSAD only works with WebSphere ?

    Nick, its high time you get your facts right.
  15. Nick, regarding the point about:

    "...And what a better way to generate work for your services arm but to ship some very difficult-to-use products. "

    you might want to check out a tutorial I just published that demonstrates just how easy it is to develop, test, run EJBs in WSAD -- even exposed as Web services -- and even connect them .Net clients. An objective reader would have to conclude that WSAD goes a long way to moving AWAY from "some very difficult-to-use products".

    Developing Microsoft .NET Web Service Clients for EJB Web Services

    Cheers,
    Sheldon (who also works for IBM if it is not apparent :-)

  16. Thanks Sheldon, I will check it out.

    I agree that WSAD is quite nice to use. Some of our guys are gagging to leave VAJ for WSAD. I also agree that the EJB development support is quite good in WSAD - its perhaps a minor point to some, but I am really happy with the way DD's are handled in WSAD. It doesnt "hide" the deployment descriptors in javadoc tags or proprietary files.

    Cheers.

  17. I hate IBM products, Eclipse is an exception!
  18. As an antidote to that, try Robert Cringley's article 'Fixing IBM - Big Blue has big problems'.

    http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20020418.html

    But then, almost all of his articles are worth a read...

      /david