Why Red Hat acquiring 3scale matters a lot, a developers view


Note: This article is my personal view. I don’t work for Red Hat / Mulesoft / WSO2 , neither they are so keen to hire me.

RedHat acquiring 3Scale – This is really an interesting news for any integration developer who uses open source based integration products / solutions.

I have been working with products like Fuse ESB / Apache Camel, Mule ESB & WSO2 for the past more than 5 years. An interesting time lapse goes on in my mind, when I look back, literally how they have grown in terms of technical capabilities and in business. (Open Source Middleware market – revisited)

It was 2010 I started off with Apache Camel, It was so hard to do a simple file to file transfer, because there were no good documentation (I was annoying many members of the forum multiple times). But after I completed writing code using Apache Camel, literally I had just 2 lines of code to do the job, that moment Camel impressed me.

Also doing the same with Mule was even faster, because for ‘File to File’ its all matter of dragging and dropping icons. (still Camel code looked simpler, I am bit obsessed with Camel, forgive my bias)

Doing the same with Apache Synapse / WSO2 was bit harder, because if you are already a SOA person you will love WSO2 but not as a beginner. The interesting point to mention here is, if you want to do a simple file to file integration you don’t even need a IDE / write any code, you can do everything using WSO2’s web based console. Now I realise, in 2010 itself what WSO2 had as platform features were visionary. I had told my friends & colleagues, ‘ if you want to learn the entire SOA stack easily, just visit WSO2 site and go through their products’

Coming back to the topic, why this news matters a lot. If you had already read my article on open source market trend, you can observe some of the major change in trends. I am sure , this news is going to change the trend again. Why ?

The trend of API Economy is the key reason. Mulesoft is a rockstar so far, because of their API centric middleware capabilities. Nowadays people are less worried about just integrating various systems, Its so easy with all these products. If it is all about only integration, I would always prefer Apache Camel. Its my personal favourite, easily readable & simple. But RedHat’s middleware product suite lacked a good API manager on top of their middleware stack. Thats a key differentiator between RedHat and Mulesoft from Integration perspective.

After working with Apache Camel & other Red Hat’s products for so long time, I recently started working on Mule again. In the present version of Anypoint Platform, It is so easy to build and expose an API. Whether you are exposing it to a external party / whether you need to expose them with high end security, Its so easy to do. You don’t need to be a core programmer really to expose API’s using Mulesoft’s Anypoint platform.

This exact capability is what I wanted on top of Fuse ESB / Apache Camel. I am sure, this particular aspect was a key decision maker for many of the customers who have adopted Mulesoft. Thats why Acquisition of 3scale is a big deal. RedHat’s middleware stack is gonna look more attractive.

With the acquisition of 3scale, RedHat has also announced that its going to open source the code. Well, thats even greater. Why ? Imagine this combination – Open source 3Scale + Apache Camel + Sprint boot + Some necessary knowledge to roll them out into production ! Thats a big attractive stack for any startup company, who don’t even have sufficient funds to buy a production support license. And of course this will be a strategic driver for Red Hat’s sales !

What I foresee ? In next 5 years, Open source based integration technologies will become even more robust and easier to use. Also it wont be a niche competency to develop, It will become as easy as that of developing an application in Salesforce. Also the number of diverse protocols for integration will reduce, if everything becomes API centric. (But number of connectors will keep increasing for applications, even though everything is going to be REST based)

Last but not the least, there will be more annoying HTTP calls and connections. Thats one drawback of this trending API based integration, Well lets hope ISP’s build better networks so that especially API / Cloud based integration works seamlessly. Else we have someone to blame for slow response times :)

Gnanaguru Sattanathan

Gnanaguru Sattanathan

I am a Integration developer and a open source enthusiast. My areas of interest includes Enterprise messaging & SOA. Twitter: @tallguru

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