A lot has happened since 1998. That year marks the heyday of the independent software vendors who supported the notion of an operating system for the Internet. First, it was Netscape. NSCP engineered a complete solution of buy and sell side applications built around the now infamous troika of Web Server-Application Server-Directory Server. BuyerXpert and SellerXpert were later joined by ECXpert for EBI-integration. But it took three start-ups to truly transform the middlware space: Kiva, NetDynamics, and WebLogic. Some credit should be thrown to ATG, SilverStream (later acquired by Novell), and Bluestone (later acquired by HP). But it was Kiva's acquisition by Netscape, NetDynamic's acquisition by Sun, and WebLogic's acquisition by BEA that made developers take notice. Then came the acquisition of Netscape by AOL in Nov. 1998, which would soon form the Sun-Netscape Alliance in March 1999, and Sun's Stuart Wells was offered the opportunity to decide whether to build around NAS or ND.
Much to the chagrin of the NetDynamics team, including my friends Christian Cheline and Peter Yared, Stuart chose Netscape middleware to use in the formation of iPlanet, a Sun-Netscpae Alliance. But this would turn out to be the opening that would allow BEA to cash in with WebLogic. For as we were launching J2EE 1.2 in June 2000, WebLogic was quick to follow iPlanet Application Server with a developer-focused product. Something that ND could have done, but wouldn't have the opportunity to as we phased out ND with version 5.2. WebLogic exploded and was the self-proclaimed quickest asoftware company to hit $1 B in sales in software history. Contrary to the belief of Eric Stahl, Sun orchestrated the growth of WebLogic through GSO sales opportunitites, where a proven app server was needed. I mentioned that alot has changed since 1998, but in reality very little has changed since 2000. BEA still relies on WebLogic sales and maintenance on top of Solaris for the great majority of its revenue.
We grinded out iAS 6.0, and then iAS 6.5, and then launched Sun ONE Application Server 7, followed by Sun Java System AS 8 and 8.1. In that time, very little damage has been inflicted on this foreign Java OS we call WebLogic which has through guerrilla tactics penetrated the Sun apparatus. It is time for that to change. In my most recent previous post, I outlined what Sun's Java Web Services marketing organization needs to do to promote Glassfish, and this is exactly aimed at WebLogic, for several reasons. No least among them is that Sun fans have never lost the hope that it would turn out a Java OS that would match WebLogic. That moment has arrived. Glassfish, in the form of SJSAS 9.0, has superceded BEA's efforts around WebLogic. It is now time for Sun's Global Sales Organization to recognize the gigantic migration opportunity available, which will in turn lead to sales of Galaxy and Niagara.
It is time for a reemergence of a Sun that offers a competitive solution to WebSphere, but that is for another post. Right now, right here, Sun needs to institutionalize the concept of a WebLogic replacement campaign, and once and for all eliminate the possibility that anything but Glassfish is the program going forward. There is no excuse for delay from CEO down to software executives and decision makers. Take the one step that will rejuvenate the Sun installed base, and generate immediate revenue from services and new hardware sales. It is time to take out WebLogic from the GSO price book...