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Is right to select a non-Micorosoft product simply because its not a 'Microsoft' product?

In the UK in the public sector a product called LGOL-Net is being stalked as a BizTalk 2004 replacemnet as it can do everything BizTalk 2004 can. Furthermore its also being billed as free. Now I'm all for open source and I'm all for competion but in this case the challenge is based on two lies. Firstly LGOL does not offer half the features of  BizTalk and secondly the support and TCO for the product are far from free. This menas the customer does not get to compare apples with apples.

LGOL-Net has significant weaknesses which can be summarised as follows:

 

1)      Limited functionality:  workflow services, comprehensive adapter strategy, business analytics and business rules are missing. 

 

2)      Complexity:  LGOL-Net relies heavily on many open source components namely a J2EE application server like Tomcat, a web server like Apache and a database server like MySQL.  All these have to be sourced from different sources increasing the complexity of installation and deployment.

 

3)      Support:  LGOL-Net inherits the usual support issues with Open Source software (accountability, liability, hidden cost) however as it relies on several other core middleware components for its operation, the problem of support is amplified.  Patch, virus hardening and general support operations is potentially more complex in an LGOL-Net environment as several core components, from different sources, must be tracked simultaneously to ensure a safe operating environment.  This essentially leads an organisation to subscribe to expensive support contracts, work with a single vendor like IBM or build significant in-house expertise.

 

For example, if one chose to install LGOL-Net on JBoss with MySQL the following chain of software needs to be installed (not including the OS):

 

·        J2 SDK from Sun.com

·        Apache Web Server from Apache.org

·        Xerces XML Parser from Apache.org (a copy is bundled with the distribution CD)

·        MySQL from MySQL.com

·        JDBC driver from MySQL.com

·        JBOSS Application Server from JBoss.org

·        (Optional) Sun (not supported in this version) or IBM queuing software is recommended for message queuing

 

BizTalk 2004 2004’s requirements are:

 

·        SQL Server

·        (Optional) Team Site Services (bundled with Windows 2003)

·        (Optional) Directory services are part of the Windows offering

 

The complexity of a LGOL-Net installation is further increased if the components are distributed across several systems (eg database is located on another system) as each component’s scalability and security model will differ (for example, distributing the MQSeries queuing system needs an MQSeries Server installed as well).

 

Distributing BizTalk 2004 2004 components is simplified because BizTalk 2004 and SQL Server and a common security model

 

So why are some local councils headng down this route? Well its Java and by rote not Microsoft and for some councils this is the main reason.Democracy at its worst.

 

Councils that have considered this route and have set-up proper and full analysis have all decided not to go this way. In fact one council is so strong in its opposition it went public in support of Microsoft.

 

Posted on Sunday, October 24, 2004 2:09 PM BizTalk 2009 , .Net | Back to top


Comments on this post: 'Free' software - the challenge

# RE: 'Free' software - the challenge
Requesting Gravatar...
Hi Andy,

Not heard from you in a while!

In your expereince are you still coming up against people that are looking to LGOL-NET to provide their solutions?

I'm hearing a lot less about it. Many of our customers are sold on the new benefits that are found in BTS 2004, and the fact that they dont have to get folk from Canada to implement!!

C.
Left by me@campbellmcneill.com (Campbell on Oct 25, 2004 1:53 AM

# re: 'Free' software - the challenge
Requesting Gravatar...
Yrs, only last week we had a council still undecided!
Left by Andy James on Oct 29, 2004 6:42 AM

# re: 'Free' software - the challenge
Requesting Gravatar...
Hi Andy,

I'm not familiar with LGOL-NET or it's installation, but I think your comments about the simplicity of BTS2004 installation are misrepresentative. There is a long list of pre-requisite software components such as SQLXML, MSXML3/4 and numerous patches that must be installed. Not to mention that admin options are relatively limited without VS.NET on your server!

Add to that the fact that a dev edition installation on WinXP fails obscurely when you have either .NET framework 1.1 sp1, .NET beta 2.0 framework or WinXP sp2 installed. (And I gather the latter two issues also affect Win2K3.) So the picture is not quite as simple as you paint it. I've just spent two days of pre-requisite installation, frustration and a lot of googling to get BTS2004 Dev Ed up and running. Compared with all that the LGOL-NET pre-reqs don't look so bad...

Regards,
BJ
Left by Ben Johnston on Dec 01, 2004 3:09 PM

# re: 'Free' software - the challenge
Requesting Gravatar...
John,

What are you on my friend? I am a little suprised at the 'most racist comments' comment! I have not mentioned Canadians or Canada either positively or negatively ( I have some great contacts in Canada by the way and am visiting them in Feb). The comment from Mr McNeil merely stressed his experience of needing resource from Canada to support LGOL in a humerous manner not anything of a racist nature. The other respondents have merely followed the line in a humerous manner - IE they are not resources from Canada.

So John, I except your position over LGOL but disagree. You are correct that LGOL now has rudimentary workflow - it was still unusable in a real sense when I first posted. It does not have a rules engine and this is important in my eyes but not yours so no issue.

Adapters - I have lots of experience here with both the 'LGOL' offerings and what has been achieved with BTS - no contest here mate! BTS by a long margin.

I have intalled BizTalk 2004 many, many times with few issues since the days of Beta. If you ever venture there again there are some very simple instructions supplied with the package that make the whole thing a doddle.

Judging form your comment on TCO I think you are missing some valuable commercial experience there - have a look at Newhams report on this and gain a little understanding.

I am first and foremost a technologist therefore who makes the software I use is not important, what is is the result and its commercial viability.

LGOL will do well in some councils - the ODPM has a vested intrest in making it so and it is ideal for Councils with a Java/Linux/Sun bent. For me its about 4-6 years back from where BizTalk 2004 is now but thats just my opinion and the guys I work with.


Left by Andrew James on Jan 09, 2005 12:40 AM

# re: 'Free' software - the challenge
Requesting Gravatar...
How Bizarre!! All this talk of LGOL Net as a product! It is nothing more than a hotch-potch of OS software thrown together in the style of the great Rolf Harris ("can yer tell what it is yet?" www.rolfharris.com). The actions of UK public sector developers in embracing the open source community is laudable (it's about time talented local government developers dragged themselves out of their silos and trenches and did something for the greater good, instead of sitting around on their hands basking in the glory of copy paste RAD development) but the level of functionality within LGOL Net, LGOL-Flow and LGOL-X is, to be frank, laughable. The problem being commercial understanding or rather the complete lack of it and real world business drivers , a situation all too common in UK local Government. You only have to go to the website www.lgolnet.org to understand what I mean.

As far as configuring LGOL Net or for that matter BizTalk 2004 goes; well, as far as I'm concerned DON'T call yourself technical if you can't RTFM.
Left by Mark on May 06, 2005 12:37 PM

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