Middleware is the product of some 25 years of development, and many people have come to assume that middleware is very expensive and heavy to use. However, when you start from scratch, Sanjiva says, you can do a better job because you can see the whole picture and take advantage of new technologies.
In 2005, the idea led Sanjiva to say, “Let’s erase everything. Let’s start again.” The founding WSO2 team started by looking at enterprise developers’ challenges, and they saw an opportunity to address these demands with middleware built like a set of Lego blocks that would let developers build what they want.
The resulting WSO2 products—more than 15 to date—are markedly different from those of traditional middleware providers, such as IBM, Oracle, Tibco, and JBoss. Sanjiva presented the Oracle Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) as one example. The Oracle product is physically 20 times larger than the WSO2 ESB to download, Sanjiva noted, “But ours is 20 times faster, 20 times cheaper to acquire, and 20 times faster to adopt and use.”
Nothing in Technology is Permanent
Sanjiva went on to note that Oracle had very good reasons for the way its ESB is designed, given its history, and he noted that WSO2 had the advantage of being able to start from scratch. At the same time, he highlighted the need to keep an eye on the future and to continually look at how each piece of middleware can be made better. “In five years, if we don’t evolve, there will be a WSO3,” Sanjiva observed. “We don’t want that to happen, so we’re constantly reinventing.”
Software for Free – Really
WSO2 is committed to a true open source licensing model. By contrast, other open source vendors offer two middleware versions: a free version and a non-free version that has extra features. “We don’t have two versions,” Sanjiva said. Every product the company produces is enterprise-class and available for free.
WSO2 makes its money from selling services and support. Large enterprises with mission-critical deployments—like eBay, which runs $2,000 worth of transactions per second through WSO2 middleware—want to purchase WSO2 support. These companies could provide fixes themselves, Sanjiva noted, but they recognize that no one understands the software better than the WSO2 team, which can fix it about 100 times faster.
Companies typically begin with one location and then expand to different regions. However, WSO2 has been global from the start—with developers in the US, UK and Sri Lanka, Sanjiva said. Although a US company, WSO2 has a large team in Sri Lanka, which is globally recognized for the extensive role it plays in open source organizations, such as the Apache Software Foundation. WSO2’s global presence and technology innovation are enabling the company to compete against the biggest middleware providers today and win major customer deals around the world.
In looking at WSO2’s success, Sanjiva turned to a quote by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” Sanjiva noted that WSO2 is lucky to be still ignored, but he is looking forward to the next stage, and the next, and the next.
To learn more about how WSO2 is disrupting the middleware industry, view Sanjiva’s complete keynote here.