Red Hat Acquires FeedHenry to Gain BaaS Platform

With mobile application development reaching a frenzy in the enterprise, Red Hat today became the latest vendor to get into the category via the acquisition of FeedHenry, a provider of a back-end-as-a-service (BaaS) platform.

Mike Piech, general manager of Red Hat's middleware business, says FeedHenry will be integrated with both Red Hat JBoss middleware and the Red Hat OpenShift platform-as-a-service environment to extend the reach of Red Hat’s application development ambitions into the realm of mobile computing. As part of that effort, Red Hat will create a set of federated services that developers will be able to invoke via a variety of APIs and SDKs as they see fit to access back-end services.

In addition, Piech says all the elements of FeedHenry will become open source software in compliance with Red Hat’s overall software strategy. While FeedHenry makes available a framework for developing client-side applications, Piech says Red Hat will also give developers the option to use the FeedHenry framework or any other toolkit they prefer to access back-end services running on premises or in the cloud.

Via the acquisition of FeedHenry, Red Hat is moving to become a more significant player in the race to deliver mobile application development platforms (MADPs) in the enterprise. Until recently, the majority of IT organizations were developing mobile applications in isolation. But as they gain experience, it becomes apparent that an MADP makes it possible to reuse code and services across multiple mobile application development projects.

Unlike many of its MADP rivals, Red Hat has not yet embedded any enterprise mobile management (EMM) capabilities into its platform. Piech says FeedHenry has integrated its MBaaS platform with a number of third-party EMM platforms. Red Hat, says Piech, will continue to pursue that strategy. But at the same time, Piech would not rule out embedding EMM capabilities inside OpenShift sometime in the future.

EMMs have become a significant issue because the development and management of mobile applications is starting to converge. The team that develops a mobile application is also often responsible for continuously updating and managing it. That requirement is creating demand for tighter integration between application development and management tools within the context of an MADP.

How the battle for control over MADPs plays out in the months and years ahead remains to be seen. It may very well turn out that MADPs will simply be folded into more comprehensive application development frameworks. The one thing that is certain is that given all the interest in mobile application development, the average IT organization is already making mobile application development a top priority across the enterprise.

Michael Vizard