One the biggest arguments against purchasing the traditional proprietary EAI toolsets such as webMethods, Tibco etc, is vendor lock-in. The argument being that the underlying enabling technology cannot be ported or used other than on the vendors own platform. Ie my webMethods generated flow service is not going to run on Tibco. Of course there are techniques for exposing the services in a standards based way, but the underlying technology is still proprietary.
webMethods recent announcement regarding their Mainframe adapter is a case in point for the problems with vendor lock-in. Here is the announcement - http://www.webmethods.com/meta/default/folder/0000005139?pressReleaseDetails%5Fparam0=6652
Here is the story in a nutshell. webMethods is stopping product development with their current mainframe adapter. They will continue to support their mainframe adapter with current and future releases, but will not enhance it. Their new solution is a partnership with Neon to provide a mainframe based solution using web services, soap etc. I have seen a demo of the product and it looks pretty good, but…
Here is the problem. There is no transition path from the current mainframe adapter to the third party adapter. You services would have to be ported to the new environment ie rewritten. The new adapter is also very expensive. For customers who have invested heavily in the current mainframe architecture this would represent a significant expense in both license and man hours to rewrite existing applications.
webMethods is continuing to support the old adapter but no new development or enhancements. One can only wonder how long it will be until that adapter is sunsetted because they can no longer keep up with ever evolving webMethods platform. And for customers who purchased the existing adapter and want to see additional functionality, well not a lot of choice there either.
I am curious as to what other customers think about this. Is it a big deal to you? I certainly understand the business decision for them making this call, but the lack of a transition path for existing customers is a bad move.