Sounds a little familiar….

We spoke with Alex Fletcher last week and told him what we’ve been up to. He wrote a terrific post about the next wave of open source innovation. Check it out.

James Governor an Analyst from Red Monk commented on the post that SnapLogic sounded a lot like what Grand Central Networks tried to do, and failed.

For those that do not remember Grand Central, they were a company started in 2000 by Halsey Minor. They raised a ton of money to build a ‘Web Services Network’. Their vision was to be come a central hub for application integration using the new Web Services standards. They envisioned being the exchange point for data and messaging across applications and across organizations providing services for application integration, process orchestration, etc.

It was very, very ambitious.

It was also doomed from the start.

You can check out their old website on the Internet Archive, there it goes into detail:

Grand Central created the first Web Service Network to combine open, interoperable Web services standards with the power of shared infrastructure. Grand Central’s Web Service Network acts as an intermediary between applications and Web services behind an enterprise’s firewall and those of their partners and customers. By mediating interaction, the Grand Central Network can provide the encryption, authentication, policy management and transformation capabilities necessary for mission-critical processes without requiring changes to existing applications. Leveraging these capabilities in the Grand Central Network – instead of building them at each endpoint – can dramatically reduce the costs of inter-enterprise projects.

Grand Central was a hosted service that was a messaging intermediary for inter-organization communications and transactions.

SnapLogic on the other hand is open source software that you download and configure anyway you like. Not a lot of similarity there. There is no central hub, just interconnected nodes, just like the web.

However, at a more basic level there are some similarities. The promise of being able to easily connect different applications, no matter where they were located is indeed compelling. One important reason Grand Central failed was because the standards they were relying on never took hold. Here we are 7 years later and they still have not really taken hold. They were just too complex. They tried to provide for transaction services, data services. discovery, security, orchestration, just about everything you could think of.

What SnapLogic provides is a data service that is based on the simple, familiar and proven standards that make the Web work.

Some valuable lessons learned there and we all know that ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’.


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