Ten Bleeding-Edge Open Source Companies: Page 2

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2. MuleSource

Location: San Francisco, CA

Founded: 2006

Product or Service: MuleSource’s CTO, Ross Mason, started the Mule project in 2003 because he was “frustrated by integration donkey work.” Mule is a java-based Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) platform through which enterprise developers can perform a number of integration tasks. Developers can use Mule to create new applications, bring legacy apps and platforms up to date, and enable a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).

ESB is a relatively new class of software. Traditional message systems, such as IBM’s MQ or Microsoft’s MQ, are limited in their reach, connecting one application to another. It’s basically a one-to-one messaging model.

As the need to share data in the enterprise increases, something better is needed in order to reuse and leverage data, in a standardized way, regardless of its source. With ESB as a middleware layer for message transport systems, a one-to-many model is enabled and enterprises have the ability to flexibly share data among a greater number of applications and services. Another advantage of ESB is that it enables real-time access to business information. As data changes, it is updated across the enterprise, so data should never be stale.

Designed for multi-protocol transactions, Mule can be used in a number of ways: for system-to-system messaging, as transactional middleware, or as the integration component of an application server. Mule contends that its modular, reusable programming approach results in much faster integration than with proprietary solutions, at a much lower cost.

In February 2007, Mule released a beta version of a connector for Salesforce.com, which would allow customers to use Mule as middleware to share Salesforce.com data with a variety of enterprise applications and with other SaaS offerings.

In January 2007, Mule reached the 500,000 download milestone, and by mid-April the number had topped 650,000. Customers include H&R Block, MLB.com, and HealthTrio.

Funding: Raised $4 million in 2006 from Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and Morgenthaler Ventures.

Competitive Landscape: This is a relatively new market segment, but analysts are bullish on the space. According to Gartner, the market for application integration and messaging software is about $8.5 billion, while the market for the support and services of these products is also highly lucrative.

Much of this growth will be driven by the adoption of SOA and SaaS. If service-based apps are to catch on, users will need tools they can use to share and repurpose information. They won’t own the apps, so they’ll need tools that ensure they’ll own their data.

On the proprietary side of the fence, competitors include Progress Software, Cape Clear, Fiorano, Tibco, Vitria, SeeBeyond and BizTalk.

There is plenty of competition among other open-source ESB providers as well. After its acquisition of JBoss, Red Hat can now count the JBoss ESB platform as part of its open-source portfolio. Iona Technologies’ Celtix product competes in this space, and after the company’s April 2007 acquisition of LogicBlaze and its ServiceMix ESB product, Iona is a well-positioned contender. Additional open-source ESB providers include the Apache Software Foundation and WSO2 (see below).

Management Team: Dave Rosenberg, CEO, previously served as CIO for Glass Lewis & Co., an investment research and proxy advisory firm, and was a principal analyst for the Open Source Development Labs; Ross Mason, CTO, was formerly CEO of SymphonySoft; Ron Park, VP of engineering, previously served as group director of engineering for Oracle’s CRM applications division; Mike Lewis, VP of sales, was formerly an account director at TIBCO. Damian Raffell, VP of EMEA sales and operations, was formerly with Sun Microsystems in the UK, where he was responsible for driving Sun’s business integration and enterprise Java business.

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