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IONA acquires LogicBlaze, supporters of ActiveMQ and ServiceMix ESB

by Floyd Marinescu & Stefan Tilkov on Apr 10, 2007 |

LogicBlazeLogicBlaze, the first company funded/created by open source VC Simulalabs has been acquired by IONA, who also acquired C24 recently. IONA, a veteran player in the CORBA space, currently offers Artix enterprise ESB as well as Celtix, an open source ESB platform.

LogicBlaze offered subscription support and training (as well as the development) behind the ActiveMQ project as well as ServiceMix ESB. According to an InfoQ briefing with IONA execs, LogicBlaze has been in operation for 18 months, their average deal size is 40K, and are bringing along 25 customers and 9 full time employees to IONA, including James Strachan (LogicBlaze Chief Architect and co-creator of dom4j, jelly, Groovy and Geronimo) who will join IONA post acquisition.

IONA CTO Eric Newcomer explained to InfoQ:

The biggest thing about the acquisition is really the people we're getting. The LogicBlaze guys can really help us with our open source business because of the experience they have, their active participation in the Apache community, and their successful relationship with their existing customers. We think they will be able to immediately help us accelerate our open source line of business.

On a press briefing IONA representatives also said that the personnel were the "major driving force behind the acquisition." IONA will continue marketing and selling the service subscription offerings for the ActiveMQ and ServiceMix projects for which LogicBlaze is known and respected, but the LogicBlaze brand will be eventually phased out. Given IONA's background in the CORBA world, they will also be looking into providing CORBA bindings for ServiceMix.

Eric explained what the acquisition means for IONA's Celtix open source ESB offerings:

Through our previous partnership, the Celtix distribution already includes the ActiveMQ JMS and ServiceMix JBI container. We have always viewed these technologies as complementary, with the CXF derived part of Celtix delivering JAX-WS and JAXB support for service creation and a pluggable lightweight endpoint oriented container, and we will build this out going forward. This discussion is in the very early stages, but we see a lot of opportunity for synergies going forward. One thing we're going to look at is a closer combination of AMQP/Qpid with ActiveMQ/JMS, for example.


In terms of what the acquisition means for the recently announced IONA registry:

The Artix registry/repository is really a kind of departure for us, more so than the LogicBlaze acquisition. Meaning that the registry/repository is charting somewhat new territory in the SOA infrastructure market through its focus on active governance. As I mentioned before, we've been working together with the LogicBlaze folks for quite a while now, and incorporating ActiveMQ into Artix and Celtix distributions. The registry/repository is designed so that it will be capable of working with heterogeneous SOA infrastructure, including open source and commercial runtimes, so we will be incorporating support into the Artix registry/repository over the next year or so for the open source runtimes, definitely. We see it all as very synergistic - the runtimes such as Artix, Celtix, and ServiceMix/ActiveMQ are going to get deployed, and as they do the need for active governance will grow. And when it does, we will be there with the Artix registry/repository.

ZapThink's Ron Schmelzer told InfoQ that "all in all, the acquisition might fill a few gaps, but it was an opportunistic move to acquire the assets of a struggling business (probably for not much dollars)." No financial details were disclosed in the transaction.

Ron also cautioned about the need for IONA to position itself effectively, considering its dual commerical/open source offerings:

For IONA, this does a few things. First, it increases their own momentum in the Open Source arena (and their Celtix offering), and second it allows them to compete for mindshare in a market that is consolidating at an ever-increasing pace. It still begs the question about how IONA will separate its commercial offerings (Artix) from its open source offerings, and they will have a challenge in the marketplace with their positioning. Do they want to be seen as Open Source SOA or commercial? If they want to be seen as both, this is quite challenging, and we have not seen an infrastructure company successfully pull off the combination. The company needs to come out with an aggressive positioning on how it plans to accomplish both a successful open source as well as commercial offering.

Congrats to the LogicBlaze team!

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We have a saying in England.... by Paul Fremantle

You wait ages for a bus, and then three turn up at once....

Artix, C24 and ServiceMix

Paul

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