dimanche sept. 14, 2008

GlassFish ESB, enfin un support commercial pour OpenESB

Il a toujours été clair que la stratégie Open Source Sun autour de GlassFish ne se limiterait pas à un serveur d'application, aussi bon soit-il devenu.

JavaCAPS 6, l'offre SOA de Sun (et suite logique de l'offre SeeBeyond) intègre GlassFish v2, OpenESB, nombre de Binding Components (connecteurs) et Services Engines (BPEL entre autre), des briques de MDM, ETL, BAM, des outils de développement et du monitoring. De quoi paraître impressionnant pour qui veut simplement un ESB open source.

Il faudra désormais compter sur GlassFish ESB, une offre 100% open source, standard, outillée (cf. cette Video), documenté et surtout supporté.

GlassFish ESB est en réalité une distribution binaire supportée d'OpenESB (que j'ai présenté à Solutions Linux au début de l'année). Cette page propose une matrice comparant GlassFish ESB aux offres existantes en terme de services (support, ...) et fonctionnalités. Pour ceux qui veulent aller plus loin, il y a ce cours de 60 minutes ou encore les quatre "tutorials" très détaillés de Tom Barrett.

Enfin, disponible dès aujourd'hui: GlassFish ESB Milestone 1.

Prochain étape: le 5 décembre 2008 pour la version finale de GlassFish ESB.

jeudi juil. 31, 2008

Why should I buy a subscription when community support is good enough?

Sun's fiscal year recently came to an end and I can tell you that GlassFish subscriptions are doing well. I can't really say more other than it includes many new customers. Winning new customers is hard, so we're pretty happy. I've previously commented on the value of support but in the meantime, I've heard other concerns which I'd like to adress here.

There is no one good true model for open source monetization and I don't pretend ours is perfect, but here's what you get when you buy a GlassFish subscription. Feedback welcome.

Hotline for Bug fixing
Of course you could say that community support (email, forum, blogs) is really good and maybe good enough. Fair enough. When you file issues (remember, we love bug reports, we're even about to give away $50,000 to bug submitters), it is considered as community support and thus best effort on Sun's side. As a side note, we probably have progress to make in bug triage but that's a different topic. The only reliable way to escalate an issue and have it fixed is the GlassFish subscription. This is what will get your bug fixed and delivered to you under an SLA.

Access to patches
sunsolve.sun.com is where patches (incremental add-ons to a production system vs. reinstall of an unknown quality build from glassfish.org's trunk) are made available to customers with GlassFish subscriptions. Eduardo is maintaining a high-quality blog about everything released via that mechanism at blogs.sun.com/GlassFishForBusiness. Take a look and see what you're missing out on. GlassFish v2ur2 Patch 2 should be out day now.

It seems that the value of indemnification heavily depends on the part of the world you're from, ranging from "absolute must-have" to "indemnifi-what?". In a nutshell, Sun takes extreme care in managing is source code which includes things like the Sun Contributor Agreement (SCA) which enable us to provide the protect you from patent claims people expect.

Questions? Suggestions? Fire!

mercredi oct. 24, 2007

Support for GlassFish - What's in it for me?

The short answer is access to the support team, access to sustaining builds and indemnification. Read on for the longer answer.

Before I go on, there isn't such a thing as support for GlassFish per say. Support is for Sun Java System Application Server 9.1 which is the same exact set of jar files (different installer though). Details here and here. As Eduardo has previously explained, we productize in public (similar to the Ubuntu model as I understand it). His post also describes the sustaining model, but I'd like to cover this more here and answer the question of "why should I care about support?".

Some may ask "but how could anyone go into production without support??". It is likely that the higher you go up the management chain, the less chances you have to hear this. The reality is that support from the community is pretty good and that a good chunk of people have been getting help in very effective ways directly from the engineers building the product and with no "where's your support contract?" upfront question ;). The important thing to consider here is that GlassFish developers are active on the forum because they care about the product they actively work on and its adoption - this will not last as they move along to newer stuff.

Now, let's try to answer the initial question "Support - What's in it for me?". First, you do get the hotline/calling support with an associated SLA (Service Level Agreement for response times), escalation process and access to a knowledge database. Second, and often not well understood, you have access to the sustaining branch. A sustaining branch is created when a product is released (this is when GlassFish v2 becomes SJS Application Server 9.1 if you will). See schema on the right.

A sustaining branch is something that only integrates highly tested bug fixes with a strict process. Releases go out on a regular basis every 6 weeks. Fixes also go into the main branch (the trunk), but is it very hard given the activity there to identify them one by one, let alone to create patches. That's the reason for having a sustaining branch in the first place. Promoted public builds just do not undergo the same amount of testing as they are mainly focused on Java EE compliance vs. quality and performance. With access to the sustaining branch, a fixed bug simply requires installing the latest patch.

If you hit a bug, you should report it using the issue tracker or your support channel. Once the fix is available, supported customers escalating the problem get a FVB (Fix Verification Binary) from the sustaining team to verify that the bug is indeed fixed. While a FVB undergoes a 24-hour set of regression tests before it is sent to the customer, a sustaining build is going through a longevity test of 4 weeks, which is what is applied to final releases. Patches releases are then made available via SunSolve. If needed, the customer can be supported on this build until it is integrated in a sustaining release (again, they ship every 6 weeks). Note that we offer various levels of support. With a premium support contract, a P1 bug gets a live transfer to a support engineer for example.

Yet another benefit of buying a support contract is access to indemnification. IANAL but Sun indemnifies you against any legal action associated with open source software distributed by Sun. This is often times way enough to justify by itself the support contract and this Kodak thing usually helps drives the point home.

High risk applications where user perception of your web property is important or money is at stake should have you think of the risk up front and if the support price is right (and starting at $4,500 for 4 socket, we think it is), there really shouldn't be any reason to not buy support. Otherwise, let us know.

mercredi juil. 04, 2007

I don't mind when software fails

I wrote this post about the Roller upgrade to blogs.sun.com thinking all would be as painless as previous upgrades (blogs.sun.com has been running all versions of Roller starting with pre-1.0). But I actually had a hard time pushing it out because of some timezone bug which I couldn't really understand. Hours (minutes?) after the upgrade I noticed this and pinged the engineering team who responded really quickly with a fix. Unfortunately, the patch didn't fix all the problems I was seeing, so I had to do some more testing to provide a better test case. Eventually, less than 48 hours later (and much other things done) the service was fixed.

Granted I was talking to the people that both operate the service and write the code (blogs.sun.com serves as a beta tester). It's certainly not like having full support starting from level 0 and walking you through the entire process. You do have to go through due diligence before you ask (which is actually good - how many times did you find the answer yourself because you actually spent the time writing the question in plain text?). Looking back on this I'm really not upset with the whole issue (although I use the service to carry out my daily job) because it was solved in a timely and professional manner.

I could have looked at the source code (I've done that previously) but I couldn't seriously afford to spend possibly a day diving into unknown code (last I looked at it is must have been version 1.0). Having someone who knows the codebase just helps you solve the issue in a fraction of the time. Of course if I had no one to turn to, I would have been glad I had the source.

So it's not about having software that never fails, it's really about what you've planned you could do when it does. And with Open Source just like with any other software, support matters.

dimanche juin 10, 2007

Avec l'open source on vend de tout

Oui, Sun compte bien vendre un maximum de produits grâce à l'open source, y compris du matériel (SPARC, x86 AMD ou Intel, blades ou racks, stockages, etc...). Mais il y a aussi (et d'abord) un modèle de support, de formation et d'expertise autour de Solaris, NetBeans, OpenOffice et maintenant GlassFish.

Solaris n'a jamais réellement été payant quand livré avec une machine Sun à tel point qu'on pouvait considérer obtenir gratuitement une machine en payant le système d'exploitation...


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