Liferay Partnering with Red Hat - Implications for the Portals Marketplace

Liferay and Red Hat have entered into a partnership to combine Liferay Portal with Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP). JBoss EAP is Red Hat’s key middleware/application server. As of this writing, the partnership is limited to EAP, but Liferay says it will gradually expand to include integration with other Red Hat middleware products.

What Does this Mean for Liferay and Red Hat?

First, a refresher.

Red Hat has its own portal product called Enterprise Portal Platform (EPP). EPP is based on the GateIn project, which was a joint initiative between Red Hat JBoss and French vendor eXo. Since both JBoss EPP and eXo platform were based on GateIn, functionally, they were quite similar in terms of presentation functionality. However, Red Hat’s differentiator was its middleware expertise; as a result, Red Hat integrated the core GateIn project with other JBoss tools and technologies, and then they tested and certified them.

This announcement puts curtains on EPP. Red Hat has stopped offering new subscriptions to JBoss EPP. Unfortunately for them,  EPP was never very successful. If you subscribe to our Portals research, you know that EPP lacked many key features and its development was rather slow. Incidentally, eXo (Red Hat’s partner in the Portal project) has also moved away from being a horizontal portal product. Going forward, I'd expect Red Hat to focus more on selling middleware licenses to Liferay customers.

For Liferay on the other hand, this announcement pretty much leaves them as the last major open source player standing. The Portals technology marketplace is shrinking, and while IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft still provide plausible offerings in this space, overall it's becoming an oligopoly.

What Does this Mean for Customers?

For Red Hat customers who invested in EPP, this is bad news. Red Hat will support you until March 2018, but effectively, this is a dead product and you should start looking at alternatives. It's a lesson, too, that "open source" does not always mean more stable or durable.

While Liferay will seem like a natural alternative, there are some others as well. You should carefully evaluate whether portal technology is still the best solution for building what you need to build.

For Liferay customers, this won’t have an impact in the short term. Liferay has always supported the JBoss application server (among others), so no big changes there. However, as Liferay and Red Hat gradually improve the integration, their joint customers will see benefits in terms of integration with the JBoss operations network and other Red Hat tools.

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