Open Source SOA Middleware: WSO2 moves full spead ahead

WSO2 – the open source SOA company with offices located in USA, UK and Sri Lanka  –  earlier this week made three announcements introducing  its new middleware platform for heterogeneous SOAs, now including the Business Activity Monitor and the Gadget Server, all based on the WSO2 Carbon platform. While the Gadget Server simplifies developers’ lives allowing them to write gadgets instead of portlets, the Monitor provides near real-time visibility to performance metrics.

Now that WSO2 offers probably the first complete middleware platform fully open source, I asked  Paul Fremantle, WSO2 CTO and founder,  few questions about how the business is going at WSO2.

Things are going well: revenue doubling each year, around 50 active customers, at least 50% of revenue is “repeatable” support contracts vs one-off projects.

Can you tell more about where your profits come from?

Our business model is to offer training, consultancy, and support. For production support we charge per deployed server. For our production customers we offer 24×7 support as well as patches and service packs.
Because our software is generally used in mission critical situations most customers require significant support.

Is support your primary source of business? Are there any partners around the world?

WSO2customers seek training (both onsite and remote) from WSO2, as well as support at all phases of the implementation, including consulting, production support, development support, and product support.

WSO2 currently does not offer support through any partners. At the earliest stages, WSO2 will come in for 1-2 weeks and help customers develop working pilot versions.

Generating business via partners could be rewarding, maybe WSO2 will manage this at a later stage.

The debate around business strategies based on GPL licensing is hot in Europe. Can you tell why you choose a permissive license?

The first wave of Open Source was about being first to market and using the GPL to protect the “first mover” advantage. However now the fact is that we are past that stage. The reality is that in almost every area there are multiple OSS projects. The permissive ASL has a different approach – it doesn’t try to protect the IP, instead it encourages partnerships. The result is that our customers choose our support because they value it, not because we use licenses to force them to. Many of our customers contribute to our systems and code and partner with us much more closely than they would if we used the GPL or proprietary models.

Do you receive many contributions from outside?

There are only a few external contributors to WSO2’s products. WSO2 uses the feedback received from many other customers who sign up to the WSO2 Oxygen Tank developer portal.
Also, since most WSO2 software includes one or more Apache projects, you have the benefit of all the direct contributors to that software.

Thank you Paul, and happy hacking!