Management software has typically fallen into one of two categories: big, integrated, and expensive or small, disjoint, and unconnected. Neither of these models are sufficient to meet the needs of all communities. On top of that, there hasn’t been an easy-to-use open source infrastructure to provide an integrated solution to monitoring, administration, and configuration, operational control, and software management.

Before JBoss AS came around, people bought one of the expensive, closed-source solutions. With its introduction, JBoss AS changed the landscape by providing a robust, open source alternative that was embraced to a great extent in the community. You no longer had to have the choice of building your own application server (as used to be the norm) or spend large sums of money on a complex and difficult-to-install product.

Similarly, RHQ is the answer to the same problem from a management perspective. RHQ is management middleware. It is the toolkit to deliver management, not the management itself.

The RHQ project includes everything you need to develop some rich management capabilities. It delivers a plugin and server architecture that is ready to write for today and will give you quick and powerful functionality. It supports management of arbitrary resource types, auto-discovery, cross-platform, multi-database, large scale inventory management, fine-grained security, recursive and dynamic grouping, monitoring with alerting and historical storage, audited configuration, audited and group application operation and control, content discovery, content feeds, content installation and auditing and an events-tracking solution. By simply developing a small plugin with some management metadata and a couple components, you can access the power of the platform and get the benefit of the other plugins written for the platform.

Having an open agent with a powerful plugin model is the first step. We hope to demonstrate that there can be a lot of power in this higher-order management and making this a collaborative and community effort will show the value of bringing it all together.

The project is live today and you can build from source and quickly be up and running. Get involved to help build the next-generation open management platform, or just to provide us feedback on what we have and what you’d like to see us create.