Liferay and Red Hat are collaborating on an open source portal that combines Liferay Portal and Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (JBoss EAP).

The product is targeting a growing cadre of companies that want more open-source, enterprise grade portal options, the companies maintain.

To that end, there is the potential of additional integration with other Red Hat JBoss Middleware products in the near future.

In Real Life

The collaborated product is the offspring of real-world deployments of a Liferay/Red Hat combo.

Toyota, for example, used these two products to power its Toyota Owners site. Ditto Digital Insight, which leveraged the two products to provide online banking solutions for clients.

Toyota and Digital Insight and their respective needs fit the corporate demographic at which Liferay and Red Hat are aiming.

"A company can have many solutions that address different business problems," said Brian Kim, chief operating officer at Liferay. "But they want to standardize their enterprise architecture," and be assured their applications can scale. 

From a company perspective the deal is an interesting one in that Red Hat stopped offering new subscriptions to JBoss Portal in February 2015. Red Hat is continuing support for JBoss Portal through the current release stream, which is scheduled to end in March 2018. This new venture represents, one could conclude, Red Hat's ongoing commitment to the portal market.

In addition Liferay is doing the quality assurance on the combo product to ensure they work well together -- an investment that points to further collaboration across Red Hat's middleware portfolio.

For Liferay, in particular, such collaboration could shore up what Gartner recently identified as a weak spot in its portal approach. According to Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals, the Liferay Portal "has succeeded where other more complex and costly portals have failed."

However, Gartner continued, "Despite the recent and rapid growth, it remains a small company that is competing with the largest vendors in the enterprise software market. Its open source ethos is also posing problems for some vendors, while other users cite difficulties finding adequate skills and professional services to support their efforts."

Learning Opportunities

Additional ties with Red Hat could be one answer to this issue.

"Liferay Portal is a natural fit with our middleware portfolio, and we are pleased to work with their team," said Mike Piech, vice president of Middleware at Red Hat. "Both companies have a strong commitment to open source and approach the market in similar ways."

Growing Enterprise Portal Market

The deal is also timely in light of the global portal market's predicted growth surge.

While enterprises have been deploying this tech product on a hit or miss basis over the years, depending on their tech profile and budget constraints, significant pickup is ahead, according to global market research company Infoholic Research.

It predicts the enterprise portal market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23.3 percent between 2015 and 2020.

A Red Hat Liferay combo would well suited to pick up additional market growth in such as sales-rich environment.

As Gartner noted in general in its magic quadrant, forward-looking vendors "need to be able to demonstrate that they can manage all kinds of portal scenarios, including employee-facing, customer facing and partner facing, and this needs to be backed-up by customer references to this effect."

Seems to me the combo checked off more than a few of those boxes.