Red Hat middleware takes a back seat in strategic shuffle

Less middleware plus more AI equals … fewer people?

Exclusive Red Hat is slowing or stopping development of some of its middleware software, a situation which could result in some staff layoffs.

The Register has seen what purports to be an internal email from the IBM subsidiary's vice president of Middleware Engineering, Mark Little, revealing that development and maintenance of several of the company's products will be slowed, stopped, or – using one of everyone's favorite bits of corporate euphemism – "rightsized."

Apparently the changes are part of the company's "strategic realignment," which is assessing the Hat's products and services "to identify those that no longer aligned with our long-term strategy." The goal is double-digit growth, but it's possible it is a new, but masked, round of layoffs. We are sure this has nothing whatsoever to do with Red Hat retaining McKinsey & Company a couple of months ago.

Work on two products will stop altogether: Red Hat's build of Optaplanner, which was only announced in January of last year. The company announced the end of life of Optaplanner 8 in March, along with the information that it wasn't continuing with Optaplanner 9. The code is still around as an Apache project, and some of the team already forked it as Timefold.

Red Hat Spring Boot is also for the chop. This is the Hat's version of the Spring Boot tool for building standalone enterprise Java apps with the Spring framework.

Tools that will survive but with a slower pace of development and release are the Red Hat Data Grid, Red Hat 3scale API Management, and the Red Hat Process Automation Manager. These will still get maintenance and bug fixes, but don't expect new versions.

The biggest batch of projects are those to be "rightsized," which means the company will "reduce the number of associates working on the product to align to current business needs." Sounds ominous.

Products on which fewer Hatters will be working include the following half dozen of Red Hat's own builds of existing projects:

Also getting a snip are Red Hat AMQ Streams, based on Apache ActiveMQ, Apache Kafka and Strimzi, and the oddly non-specific "Application Service Delivery Platform."

Meanwhile, the company seems to be throwing money in the direction of AI, including new initiatives targeting OpenShift, a new RHEL-based AI tool using IBM Research's Granite LLM, a new Image Mode for RHEL, and improved support for Intel AI acceleration tech.

The Reg FOSS desk hopes that perhaps some of his former colleagues in Big Purple's Java teams are able to find new roles associated with the now far more cool and trendy AI instead – either inside the company, or outside it.

We have, naturally, asked the company if it has any comment to make, so far with no reply. We will update this story if there is any further news. ®

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