Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Future of Mobicents, from Sunset to Sunrise

October 2010, I wrote here how good was the 2010 Mobicents Team Meeting, how it was the best Mobicents event ever, how the event was morphing itself by including customers and community for the first time, etc.

December 2011, I started traveling to Sochi (Russia), the venue for 2011 Mobicents Team Meeting, and I was a bit nervous, expectations for the event were huge, the number of participants doubled again (like I predicted it was now much more than just a team meeting), so to me it was clear that the event would be even better this year, no matter what...

But a month before Red Hat decided to sunset JBoss Communications Platform, the product built from Mobicents, and then part of the team, including Ivelin Ivanov, the lead of the platform, left Red Hat to start a new company, Telestax, with the goal of taking over Red Hat on the role of leading development and support of Mobicents. I decided to stay at Red Hat for (at least) the next 6 months, taking the responsibility to lead JBCP till sunset, that is, ensure that all support contract SLAs will not breach till the end. Alex and Bartosz also decided to stay, which means that the whole Mobicents SLEE and Diameter core developers did not move to Telestax. On top of that, and as expected, Red Hat has no interest in continuing to work on Mobicents, a scenario that could obviously put in danger the roadmap of Mobicents SLEE and Diameter, this was truly bothering me.

But then the event was truly great, fulfilled all my best expectations, it started with a full day of 3rd parties presentations, including Twilio and Voxeo on the new cloud battle front, and went through all the usual Mobicents project reviews and roadmap presentation/discussion. Personally I'm very grateful to meet so much new talent face to face, everyone that was there for the first time was a standout!  Obviously I was also very happy to hear that Mobicents SLEE was truly rocking the world, comments like "A Mobicents SLEE node never goes down" or "Mobicents SLEE is running for about an year, with 0 failures, it just works" made me truly blush.

The meeting schedule included an 1 hour slot for Mobicents SLEE, where it was expected my presentation of the achievements and shortcomings for 2011, including a detailed overview on the new features developed, and the introduction of the 2012 roadmap. A day before I organized a meeting with the people present that was somehow involved in Mobicents SLEE development, to explain to everyone the whole Red Hat/Telestax situation, and agree on a roadmap for only the first half of 2012, since that's when the transition process must be completed, no matter what. We ended up freezing development of the 3.x branch, postponing also the developments around new management interfaces, and the XMPP Server RA, but the latter mostly due to not much interest shown by the Apache Vysper team to work on that.

With respect to my presentation (click here to download the slides), it was a pleasure to do it, the audience was great, and 2011 was a great year for Mobicents SLEE, with lots of releases, lots of new features, lots of binary release downloads (~7000, a 40% increase). The standout of the shortcomings was again the lack of code development done by community members, which I sincerely hope that changes in 2012, due to the special circumstances. On the new roadmap, and the reasoning behind it, I felt it was understood, and this was very important.

I sincerely believe that the project transition to a startup like Telestax is a good move, and I trust that the new company succeeds gathering enough interest and human resources to make Mobicents the comercial success that it truly deserves to be. I can't guarantee that I will be on board soon or ever, I really love working at Red Hat, and I will also have to consider any great 3rd party opportunities, but whatever happens in the next 6 months, and whoever leads the project after that, Mobicents SLEE is now too big to depend on me or someone else, and that is a great accomplishment.

A few words on the event organization, thank you Oleg, for all your work and commitment, the meeting hotel was not that great, and we did not have the expected ski fun, but I felt that everything in the schedule went smooth, and I think that everyone who participated was truly involved and happy, and that is what really matters...

A "few" 2011 Mobicents Meeting participants at Sochi
See you all next year... hopefully :-)