Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thriving Thru Recession With Head In the Clouds

Despite the gloomy headlines, WaveMaker is having a great year - our revenues continue to grow over 50% a quarter and we launched a partnership with IBM at last week's Lotusphere. InfoWorld continues to sing WaveMaker's praises as well.

The worldwide recession is sort of like a giant avalanche, sweeping startups and industry titans alike before its path. Having a leadership position in a rapidly growing market like cloud computing is a way to not only survive the recession but come out stronger on the other end.

Benjamin Thompkins has a good post on the bmighty blog about cloud computing as the ultimate recession-proof technology. Here are my top 3 recommendations for surviving today's economic avalanche:
  1. Stay ahead of the destruction - with the economy collapsing, the only safe place is in a market that is growing enough to dampen the blow.
  2. Don't waver in your path - survival mode is all about executing - finding ways to bring in as much revenue as possible on the path you are on. Changing course while the avalanche is bearing down on you is corporate suicide.
  3. Have friend who can help dig you out - when the going gets tough, you soon find out what kind of investor support you have. All VCs are easy to work with when times are good - it is the behavior of VCs in the bad times that separates the bankers from the builders

Thursday, January 22, 2009

IBM Gets Seriously Social with WaveMaker

WaveMaker shared the stage this week with LinkedIn, SalesForce and Skype at IBM's launch of their new collaboration platform, LotusLive. Appropriately enough for a new entrant in the Serious Social market, Lotus Live launched at the Disneyworld resort in Orlando.

Clint Boulton of eWeek had a good description of LotusLive:
"LotusLive is the brand name for meeting, messaging and collaboration applications IBM intends to deliver to partners, who will in turn put them in front of their customers as a SAAS (software as a service) platform this year"
Sean Poulley, the Vice President of Collaboration Services, was the emcee for the very entertaining LotusLive launch presentation (it's not often that you see Crocodile Dundee used to promote cloud collaboration).

After producing a great deal of vapor around the somewhat suspect term Web 2.0 and the even more dodgy term Enterprise 2.0, IBM and LotusLive are finally validating the premise that social networking will be as powerful a force in the enterprise as it has been for the consumer world.

WaveMaker's 15 minutes of fame came via a Social Network Integrator application that we built for LotusLive. Social Network Integrator allows LotusLive users to share files with contacts from any of their social networks (LinkedIn, Salesforce, etc).

Underneath the covers, WaveMaker's Social Network Integrator application was hosted on Amazon EC2, using Rightscale for cloud scaling and Kapow to access contact data from LinkedIn.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Adobe Plays Catchup to WaveMaker...Again!

Savio Rodriguez has a nice post on the Infoworld blog, entitled Adobe follows WaveMaker's footsteps into the cloud, describing Adobe's latest cloud announcement as a reaction to the WaveMaker Cloud launch last December.

According to ZDNet's Larry Dignan, Adobe is launching a cloud version of their LiveCycle tools running on Amazon EC/2 as a "sandbox" for developers. In contrast, the WaveMaker Cloud development tools are intended for full application development and deployment - out of the sandbox and onto the beach!

WaveMaker is turning out to have much more of a lead in this space than we expected. When we started development almost 2 years ago, we assumed that there would be a number of open development tools targeting the cloud.

Now that we are well into our beta release, we are finding that WaveMaker is more unique than we had hoped for. All the major players who launched before us -, Coghead, Bungee - have gone down the old fashioned proprietary path.

For customers, this is a lock-in nightmare:
  1. Proprietary languages like Apex force developers to start fresh on yet another language and framework learning curve.

  2. Lack of portability across cloud providers forces companies to pay monopoly pricing to host on a single cloud.

  3. Lack of portability between the cloud and the data center limits the kind of applications companies are willing to put in the cloud.
The result is that any SaaS company that is looking for cloud-based development tools is looking at WaveMaker as a very attractive way to extend their platform. WaveMaker is an open and portable version of the tools that have helped make SalesForce the 500 pound gorilla of the SaaS world.

KANA was the first major software vendor to use WaveMaker as the customer-facing dev tool for their call center platform. Stay tuned for our next big partner announcement in the coming week!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Complexity Kills: SOA = CORBA 2.0 = DOA

Anne Thomas Manes of the Burton Group has declared the death of Service Oriented Architectures (SOA). Like CORBA before it, SOA was a vendor-driven "market" of daunting complexity. Also like CORBA before it, SOA collapsed under the weight of its own learning curve.

I attended the Gartner architecture conference last month, where 1,000 corporate architects gathered to discuss the state of SOA. The conversation was dominated by architects quizzing each other on what SOA really meant and whether any of them had really implemented it yet. That is scary for a technology that is long in the tooth from a buzz cycle perspective.

There was exactly 1 presentation I saw that presented a strong business case for the SOA architecture. That was by the CIO of National City Bank, which was recently bought by PNC and whose SOA architecture may or may not survive the acquisition.

Anne Thomas Manes also points out that while the heavyweight SOA architecture is falling out of favor, lightweight architectures based on SaaS and cloud services are on the rise. WaveMaker and other platform as a service (PaaS) vendors are delivering increased flexibility and productivity without the huge upfront investment of SOA.

Here is why SOA died and how the more flexible cloud services approach is winning:
  1. SOA blew the elevator pitch. Just explaining what SOA is takes longer than the average business manager's attention span. Like spinach, business sponsors are assured that SOA is "good for you." In contrast, the value of building cloud-based apps that work like Facebook and iGoogle is easy to convey, because business sponsors (or their kids) use useful web apps all the time.
  2. SOA was more about vendor enrichment than customer enrichment. I would argue that the SOA market was driven by the need for application server vendors to find add-on products that they could charge for once JBoss and Spring took the money out of the core app server market. In contrast, cloud services are growing organically as companies like SalesForce and WaveMaker make cloud development tools available that enable architects to build business applications based on best practices drawn from successful consumer sites like gmail and facebook.
  3. SOA swims against the tide of IT democratization. In retrospect, many companies that adopted SOA did so as a way for core IT to maintain control over every single computing event that occurs within an enterprise. In contrast, SaaS and cloud computing break the IT monopoly on compute cycles and deliver compelling cost and time to market benefits to the business.
Just as with CORBA, SOA introduced some useful concepts around enterprise integration and service reuse. However, just as Web 1.0 killed CORBA by introducing a much easier way to distribute applications, Web 2.0 has killed SOA with a much easier way to integrate web services.