Gluecode Software has rolled out Gluecode Enterprise Server 3.5, which is designed to provide an open-source business automation server chassis that can be custom-configured to meet customer requirements.
Pricing starts at $4,000 per month per deployment, regardless of the number of servers or users.
The Gluecode Enterprise Server combines business process management, security management and an enterprise portal in an integrated suite that uses open-source applications from the nonprofit Apache Software Foundation as its starting point.
Gluecode takes Apache open-source applications and "glues" its own code on top of them depending on customer requirements.
Chief executive officer Winston Damarillo said his company's strategy follows an industry trend toward rapid software standardisation on languages and protocols that make it easier for applications to work together. Gluecode takes the base Apache applications, creates connecting code to customise it for the users and sells it in a package that includes support and a software warranty.
Apache open-source projects include the popular Apache Web server, the Jetspeed Enterprise Information Portal, the component-based web development framework Cocoon and the Java-based build tool Ant. There are also open-source Apache projects under way for web services, component programming and enterprise mail and news servers.
Greg Stein, chairman of the Apache Software Foundation, said his group encourages companies such as Gluecode to take open-source applications and use them to create their own products.
Analysts offered varying opinions on Gluecode's model.
Nathaniel Palmer, an analyst at The Delphi Group in Boston, called the company's strategy "a disruptive trend".
"Right now, the rate of adoption is fairly low, but the impact of the ripples, I think, is fairly significant," he added.
Palmer said he did not know whether the idea will be embraced by IT departments, although he admitted he did see the recognition that this is something that's fundamentally changing software," he added.
"What is going to move open-source to the next level [in corporate IT] is having the value of something that's been tested and delivered with some level of warranty and commercial assurances."
Robert Lerner, an analyst at Current Analysis, was not so sure. He believed something as complicated and expensive as a full-fledged corporate portal may not be workable using a customised open-source application because companies want suppliers that will be available when they need them.
"This product will appeal probably to smaller customers who can't afford the major vendors," Lerner said. "It may be able to carve out a niche for itself, and I'm all in favour of open-source portals. The problem is there's no real record of success for open source in the portal market. Small suppliers are at a major disadvantage.
"I don't see them changing the market dynamics, at least not anytime soon."
Atlanta-based JBoss also offers an open-source application server that it customises for users and offers with support and services.
Todd R Weiss writes for Computerworld