Why did Red Hat decide to purchase FuseSource?

Original author: Sean Kerner
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Last month, Red Hat announced the acquisition of Fusesource , a company developing several middleware products. In an interview with InternetNews, Red Hat CEO, Jim Whitehurst talked about why Red Hat decided to buy FuseSource rather than developing its own competing solutions.

When to buy a competitor, and when to develop your own products? This is a difficult question for any company, but it becomes even more difficult when it comes to open source software.

Indeed, in this case, you can get all the achievements of your competitors for free. This is a situation that Red Hat is constantly confronted with, and they have developed their own approach to resolving this issue. “Each company should understand what their strengths are, and it seems to us that we are good at being the catalyst for the OpenSource community.” Says Whitehurst.

The most well-known technology FuseSource is the ESB (Enterprise Service Bus, Enterprise Service Bus ), and this is something that is not very good at Red Hat. When Whitehurst began to study the players in the ESB technology market, he was not looking for a sales company, but the most powerful community. In the case of ESB, it turned out to be an Apache Camel project. In the ESB market, there are Mulesoft and Talent, but according to Whitehurst, none of these companies have the same community as Apache Camel.

When it became completely clear that this was the community to choose, the next step in the issue of “buy or develop” was to collect information about the main developers of this project. “Can we hire enough people to cope with the assigned tasks or is there any company that has key Apache Camel developers working for?” Asked Whitehurst.

“There are ten Camel developers at Fusesource, so our decision was obvious. If you sincerely believe that a strong community is needed, then you need to be very careful not to disrupt the established approaches in the work of this community, ”explains Whitehurst.

But there are times when Red Hat can do it on its own. This is what happened with the OpenStack cloud-based IaaS platform. Over the past year, Red Hat has become one of the main OpenStack development companies and a platinum member of the OpenStack Foundation. “We looked at OpenStack and said we don’t need to buy anyone,” said Whitehurst. “This project has a large number of dispersed contributors, so it’s easier for us to simply hire several OpenStack developers.”

Who will be next on Red Hat's shopping list?
When it comes to deciding which Red Hat company to acquire next, there are criteria that Whitehurst considers important. First, the company needs to fit into the technological space in which Red Hat operates. And secondly, this company should have a good community, because Red Hat needs a team, not just a few people. This is a fundamental point, although at first glance, it is just about hiring developers.

“When you buy an OpenSource company, if people don’t come to you and do not want to stay, then what do you pay money for? After all, developers are the main value of such companies. ” Says Whitehurst.

For example, Red Hat recently acquired Gluster , the product of which is now the basis of the product.Red Hat Storage . The people at Gluster wanted to work at Red Hat, so the takeover was very easy. “With FuseSource, the key question was not the price, but whether employees would like to continue to develop products and become part of Red Hat.” Says Whitehurst.

Looking ahead, Whitehurst’s radar uses technologies such as network management software, big data and analytic software. At the recent Red Hat Sammit 2012, Red Hat employees emphasized working with Nicira (network management), talked about MongoDB plans in the big data market and Jaspersoftin terms of analytics. However, not all companies may be interested in a takeover by Red Hat. Whitehurst noted that some of the bottom may want to maintain their independence and go on an IPO.

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