Friday, February 15, 2008

MetaMatrix Presentation

If you are new to MetaMatrix, there is a good presentation here by Erica Langhi, a solution architect at Red Hat and former MetaMatrix employee in Europe.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Announcements at JBoss World

I'm having a great time this week at JBoss World, and not just because Florida=warm while St. Louis=cold. The event is the largest to date - some 750 attendees. It's a very professional show with great sessions and sponsors. I don't know any real statistics, but I've met and heard questions from many corporate architect or CIO types looking for insight on migrating to JBoss products or eager for the next release. The week has really exceeded my expectations.

There have been several announcements by Red Hat co-incident with JBoss World, one of which will be particularly interesting to fans of MetaMatrix. This afternoon, Red Hat announced a series of open source projects around SOA Governance. And the first project is something named DNA.

JBoss DNA is an open source repository whose foundation is the Java Content Repository spec. DNA is also the next version of the MetaMatrix metadata repository, designed in close cooperation with other JBoss projects that use or need a repository to store artifacts like files or messages.

DNA is not a port of the existing MetaMatrix metadata repository, but a similar design built around the JCR API. Lots of projects already use a JCR, and DNA will too. The uniqueness of the DNA project will be to build out from the basic JCR storage/retrieval/versioning functionality into a pluggable framework with components for artifact shredding, entity relationship analysis, federation, and reporting.

I won't go into any more detail on the project, as there is lots to read on the project page and wiki. Randall Hauch, the DNA project lead, will be adding even more design details on soon (maybe when he finishes his margarita at the pool-side bar), probably blogging about it too.

Another thing about this week's announcements - they've broken down all the "strategic" barriers, and I can get back to writing about what this blog was supposed to be about: taking our code from proprietary to open source. More on that tomorrow.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Geez, has it really been this long?

Wow, that is pathetic. Sorry to set y'all up on a great posting topic and then abandon it for months. Well, the wait is over.

Next week is JBoss World Orlando where we will be making several announcements that involve the future of MetaMatrix products and intellectual property going open. At that point I will be able to post all kinds of news and information about what we've been up to and where we are headed next.

Until then, hang on one more week. If you're coming to Orlando, look me up and say hi.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The end of the world as we knew it

April 24, 2007 was the day the world changed for MetaMatrix.

For about eight years, MetaMatrix was an exciting startup company that, like all startup companies do, set out to change the world as we knew it. In fact, in one little corner of the world, we did. The phrase Enterprise Information Integration didn't exist before we created it, and technology consultants like Gartner jumped on board. Soon we had some sales, which was good. Later we had competition, which was inevitable. Eventually our investors put our company on the market -- which, for a company of our small size trying to cut it in the enterprise software market, was pretty much also inevitable.

On April 24th, Red Hat, who had purchased JBoss the previous year, announced the pending acquisition of MetaMatrix to provide a data services layer to the JBoss application server and bolster the JBoss service-oriented architecture story. As the key paragraph from the press release explained it,
While SOA offers a cost-effective opportunity to modernize legacy infrastructures and provide true interoperability across applications and software components, it alone does not resolve data access challenges and the physical and semantic differences among disparate, physical data sources. MetaMatrix eliminates these challenges with a data services layer that decouples applications from their data sources and makes valuable data assets available as services in an SOA, freeing data from single application silos. It does this while simultaneously providing mechanisms for data consistency, security and compliance.

One of the Gartner analysts had a more pithy encapsulation of those "data access challenges" that MetaMatrix used to quote all the time:
A service-oriented architecture does not solve your data problems, it exposes them.

Red Hat clearly agrees and has invested in a proven data services solution by acquiring the technologies developed by MetaMatrix.

So there is the value proposition for Red Hat. Keep reading further down the press release, however, and we get to the following statement:
Following the close of the MetaMatrix acquisition, its data management software will be prepared for release under an open source license at

I lead the MetaMatrix development team, now of JBoss, now of Red Hat. For me and my team of Java developers and testers, that sentence is the most exciting part of the announcement. We have been watching the open-source community from the outside for years. Like most software companies, we have been leveraging open-source tools and components to develop proprietary closed-source software. Now the plans are to push our code base out into the open and build communities around the key technologies.

During this process I will be blogging my development team's experiences as we move from proprietary to open-source. I already know some of the challenges ahead, like the sheer volume of code, the accessibility of the design, the interests of existing enterprise customers who may or may not care about open-source software, and the need to show a return on Red Hat's investment. I also know there are lots of challenges I don't know yet. But I am sold on going open. So blogging the experience as we go and asking for comments from the community along the way seems completely appropriate. Let's go.