The number of employees who have both IONA and Progress on their LinkedIn page is probably a couple dozen or even more. We have been neighbors in the Boston area for a long time and there has been a lot of cross-pollination.
Although we have been competing in the ESB and SOA space, we have had a common vision and very similar positioning in the market. It’s a bit like two former rivals of the basketball court, each with different strengths and skills, finally getting put on the same team. And it’s actually this aspect that’s the most interesting – putting together two strong teams with complementary expertise.
First, it’s interesting to note that both companies have been moving away from a “pure” ESB positioning toward a “suite” or “family” of products for SOA. So the question is actually a bit broader: how can we sensibly combine multiple product components and create the best independent and comprehensive “anti-stack” SOA offering?
Some of the specific details are yet to be worked out, but we have always known that even while we were promoting Artix as a unique, configurable microkernel aimed at endpoint integration requirements, the Sonic family’s approach, based on leading JMS technology, is something that meets a lot of different and equally important SOA requirements. The Artix suite’s focus on distributed service enablement actually adds a lot to the Sonic family, and even as we positioned ourselves competitively in the past I think we each always knew this somehow.
One of the more interesting aspects is the future of the FUSE product line and the view of the combined company toward the open source projects with which we’ve been involved. We have already seen this commment on the Server Side. As one of the folks who champoined getting involved in open source I am glad to say the Progress folks I’ve spoken with are very interested and enthusiastic supporters, and see a lot of value in the announced acquisition in helping to get more involved in open source.
We have also worked together as partners. A few years ago we were resellers of the Progress Sonic MQ product, and Artix still offers native integration with Sonic MQ, as does the recently released WCF Connect product. And more recently we had begun integrating the Actional SOA Management product line with the Artix suite and selling them jointly.
A couple of years ago I had the unusual situation of being asked to share a half-day SOA tutorial with someone from Progress. For the first couple of hours we took turns saying exactly the same things about SOA, application architecture, and the unnecessary complexity of Java EE application servers. Then we each took a turn describing how our respective products met the same requirements, and served exactly the same segment of the industry (i.e. SOA infrastructure) with different approaches. Instead of arguing over that, we can now agree 100% and are part of the same team.