Its 25 past 6 on a Friday afternoon and very much beer o’clock, but I wanted to note one of the most exciting acquisitions I have seen in a while. After all its not every day that an enterprise player like VMware SpringSource buys a technology that my hacker friends like to use on a daily basis. All the folks I know building energy management and home automation with web technologies – what I like to think of as the HomeCamp cluster (folks like Pachube and Current Cost) see Rabbit as one of the most useful tools in their box.
RabbitMQ is an open source message queue system. Think WebSphere MQ for the Web generation. Message queuing without any barriers to entry. You may be wondering who the hell cares about this “enterprisey” technology. Message queue technology may be common in the enterprise, but less so in the cloud. That is perhaps until Twitter came along. Twitter is made of messages – that much was made abundantly clear at the company’s inaugural developer conference Chirp this week.
One of the smartest developers I know is Matt Biddulph, who architected the dopplr web service for frequent travelers: designed to to make it more more likely you would meet others on your social network when you are jetting around the place to conferences and so on. He is an absurdly smart guy and when I shared a lot of time with him discussing the idea of a Web that was messaging enabled. Why couldn’t dopplr for example notify me when my favourite airline had a good price for the trip I had coming up? Because web messaging wasn’t mature enough.
Matt is way smarter than me, and this is his presentation on the topic from 2008:
RabbitMQ was built to fill that gap. Web developers tend to scoff at transaction management, but messaging has a really broad applicability – particularly in the cloud world. How are we going to deliver cloud interoperability? If you think the answer is Web Standards think again- remember WS-*? Messaging however offers the opportunity to tie disparate systems together with point to point interactions or indeed other integration patterns.
Here is a use case that may better explain why SpringSource acquired Rabbit: Mark Masterson, a thought leader at CSC and all round top man, this week documented his idea for a Redundant Array Of Inexpensive Clouds. Its a great post and well worth reading. Just try and imagine the topology without a managed messaging system.
The CEO of Rabbit Alexis Richardson is another good friend of mine, and he raises the crucial point – that Rabbit wants to fill all the niches that High end technologies like IBM’s WebSphereMQ just don’t. Laudable goal – and his team made it easy for developers to do just that -with straightforward APIs. Funnily enough one active end point for RabbitMQ messaging based systems is likely to be another IBM technology from father of HomeCamp Andy Stanford-Clark- MQTT aka mosquito – which is lightweight enough to run in sensors as we build out the Internet of Things. Thing is you can’t have an Internet of Things without an Internet of Messages.
Its great to see another Shoreditch startup acquired, and there is a lot more to say about the deal – but anyone interested by technologies that bridge enteprise and web should be interested in the deal. VMware getting its Web on? Very interesting indeed.
disclosure: SpringSource and IBM are both RedMonk clients.