Leveraging MyEclipse as a migration tool away from WebSphere and WebLogic

With the enterprise IDE market evenly-split between MyEclipse and RAD, it was a logical decision for Genuitec to target the WebSphere install base and offer MyEclipse Blue Edition as a feature-rich and economic replacement for RAD. That was a no-brainer. After all, customers requested that we help them, as they were/are under pressure to reduce costs, to support emerging technologies and to move toward open standards. No surprises so far.

As a result of this customer demand, Blue Edition has enjoyed considerable success since its introduction one year ago. Genuitec's historical trend of incremental adoption is translating into higher downloads, increased orders and inquiries - but more importantly precise customer feedback on how to make the Blue Edition better with every release. Again, no surprise here – just logic. Give someone a better choice at a lower cost while minimizing their risk, and they are likely to choose you over the alternative. Our mantra to support customers: help companies get back in the black by using Blue.

But, it appears that current market conditions are forcing companies to make some even bolder decisions. Here's the surprise,  a number of these household-name companies approached Genuitec with a common theme: “MyEclipse Blue Edition is getting us away from IBM technologies entirely – not just RAD, but even away from WebSphere.”

Huh?

A company's choice of application server technologies is not usually up for debate. Often, a decision regarding enterprise mission-critical middleware was painfully made long ago, and most company processes, tooling and deployment tasks are necessarily tied to that choice. MyEclipse was always intended to compete directly with IBM Rational tooling and has enjoyed great success. But using Blue Edition to get away from WebSphere?

To illustrate; I was recently at a large IBM-centric conference where I met an intriguing gentleman who became a microcosm of this movement . His company had been a loyal IBM shop for 20 years, but the current economic situation was forcing him to revisit past decisions with IBM – of course painful decisions, but based solidly on dollars and cents.

He found the removal of his RAD licenses was number one on his “hit list,” and Genuitec technologies had solved that problem for him by replacing his tools at a cheaper price. No surprises there. But I was shocked to learn that WebSphere itself was also up for debate in his shop. When an IBM salesmen recently came calling to continue WebSphere support, my new friend told him that he was willing to shut the door on IBM and use MyEclipse Blue Edition to migrate to a different, more open application server technology. The salesmen didn’t even offer a discount and instead started pitching a new, more expensive group of technologies under the banner of something called “Smart Planet.” The conversation apparently ended there.

I hadn't really anticipated his decision to abandon WebSphere, to be honest. But it made sense. MyEclipse Blue Edition has support for 35-plus different application servers right out of the box. So my friend was ripping out RAD and then using MyEclipse Blue as an enablement tool to move to a different application server – a cheaper, open option. We soon came to realize that we had a dog in a fight we had not anticipated being part of, but began to get excited that we could, in new ways not foreseen, help our customers' balance sheets get back in the black by using Blue tools in creative ways.

But what would drive this kind of bold customer decision? After all, changing enterprise middleware is painful and expensive.

Could price-hikes be an answer? About this time last year, Oracle hiked prices from 15-47 percent on server and database tools. Then Genuitec customers started seeing the same behavior from IBM, with price increases into the mid-double digits. Really, it’s no wonder IBM is able to beat sales forecasts by selling less. SAP has upped fees considerably in recent months as well.

So what is an enterprise to do? There's the pain of change on one hand, but crazy prices on the other.

To ease the burden, some of today's most advanced tools, like MyEclipse Blue Edition, are enabling this switch while minimizing the pain of the process. No extensive infrastructure changes, no price-hike behavior and very low risk. And major companies are doing it right now using the power and simplicity of Blue Edition.

Our take away: it appears in this economic climate anything and everything involving the software development process is on the table for discussion. That includes tools, servers, jobs, and everything in between. We’ve learned there are no “sacred cows” anymore when it comes to development choices, and all tools, even Blue Edition, are being used in ways we didn't anticipate to move away from high-priced infrastructures.

That's scarily disruptive indeed – especially if you peddle expensive wares. Thankfully, some of today's most agile, value-driven companies are leading the charge. Cost of middleware is one thing. Being able to challenge the big boy's process: priceless.

But seriously, it would great to hear from IT leaders on this subject. Are we seeing a real push for a major change? Are companies indeed moving in droves away from entrenched middleware into low-cost and open standard alternatives? Or is this a new incarnation of the typical evaluation process normally used as a bargaining chip to force price or service compromises?

The economy is certainly on the forefront of everyone's mind. The need to cut cost, streamline activities and to do more with less is painfully clear. But gutting out the “beating heart” of mission-critical applications is not a trivial matter by any means.

What do you think?

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Posted on Jul 23rd 2009