FuseSource is now operationally independent
- and has been spun out as a separate legal entity from the Progress Software Corporation - to emerge as the world leader in open source integration and messaging solutions for the Enterprise. Although FuseSource will remain a 100% owned subsidiary of Progress Software, it does mean we are bucking the current trend of consolidation in the open source industry and been given the freedom to concentrate on our own destiny.
FuseSource provides enterprise support for its open source core products, Apache ServiceMix, ActiveMQ, Camel and CXF, as well as providing products to better enable production deployment and management around those projects.
We actually started off over 5 years ago, as LogicBlaze - a start-up intent on providing the best open source integration solutions for developers. We had already been working on ActiveMQ and had just started on ServiceMix. We moved both of these projects to Apache, because we wanted to provide truly open solutions for our users and customers. Open source development should never be about simply the src code - its the community that matters, and the Apache Software Foundation simply brings about the best environment for open source. The Apache licence ensures that anyone can use their projects without fear (in contrast to copyleft licences) and the diversity in the community of Apache developers ensures that an Apache project will never be held hostage to the fortune of any single company or individual.
As a VC funded start up LogicBlaze came to the point in 2007 when it needed a new round of funding to grow the business, and at that time, although we had lots of customers, to gain a foot hold into providing enterprise integration for large organisations we really needed to partner with a larger organisation who had the enterprise pedigree to back us up. We had a lot of enterprises looking at our solutions, but they all wanted the assurance that we were still going to be around in 5-10 years before committing to a subscription. This was at a point in time just before open source was seen as a viable option for anything other than operating systems or project based databases for large organisations. A lot has happened in the last few years to change that view, but this was back in the day. This convinced me of two things: The Apache Software foundation was the right place to home open source integration solutions; and we really needed to be part of a larger organisation to start making inroads into large enterprises. Ideally for us, we wanted to be a subsidiary, to be independent, to be able to decide our own sales and marketing strategy, but have the financial clout and backing of a plc.
Actually at that time there weren't many companies we would have been happy to join, and we pretty much convinced that we would have to continue as a venture backed start-up - but we just happened to meet the folks at IONA Technologies - and there was an instant cultural fit. IONA had its own open source story, which ended up being Apache CXF which they were using to supplement their own licence based integration solution. We realised there would be potentially a good technical fit as well as a cultural one - and we were acquired in April 2007
.We were looking at the potential of what we could grow together - and with IONA's CXF added to the project portfolio, we created a new way to glue everything together called Apache Camel - which is probably now the most widely used integration glue anywhere - and we were renamed as the Fuse group.
What we didn't realise was the extent of the financial storm that was about to hit the economy, and it 2008 become a very hard time for a lot software corporations, including IONA, and they were acquired by Progress Software in September 2008. I think its fair to say that Progress weren't entirely sure what to do with FUSE and how to market it effectively along side their own products - and Progress owned a lot of products! Progress have been going through a lot of changes in the last 2 years, as they have re-invented themselves away from being the owner of lots of disparate application and data integration solutions, into a cohesive solution for operational responsiveness. I think its fair to say that Progress wasn't sure where Fuse should fit in, and we weren't sure if we should try and fit into the Progress story.
However, some hard facts shone through about the Fuse business. Fuse has managed over 100% growth year on year, has more than 200 large enterprise customers world wide (3 in the top Global 10) and more than 1million downloads of our software a year. Progress realised that Fuse should be seen as a strategic asset, especially with the big inroads we have made into large enterprises in past couple of years - its just that our business and culture is somewhat orthogonal to Progress Software.
I give much kudos to the Progress executive team for deciding the best way forward is for Fuse to become a separate legal entity, but wholly owned subsidiary - known as FuseSource. We have a great management team, exceptionally talented technical team and superb and supportive customers - and we have the full backing and financial support of Progress to continue to grow our business. We have a really innovative roadmap, not just for the Apache projects we contribute to, but also for our Fuse based products - which we will start rolling out through 2011!