WebSphere -- A Java-oriented application server available in standard and advanced editions
June 25, 2002
IBM WebSphere Application Server is a Java-servlet-based application deployment environment for server-side applications and JavaBeans. The popular app server is designed to help enterprises deploy and manage Web-based applications of varying degrees of size and complexity. Two components, the runtime environment and the integrated tools environment, comprise the server, which is available in three flavors: Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise.
The Java-based technology offers support for Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) and Java Server Pages. Servlets provide better integration with the Web and other applications over CGI technology and are supported by other IBM middleware servers. They also facilitate the communication of requests and responses between client and server.
A Java servlet on the server can be compared to an applet on a client browser; an applet runs inside a browser on a client, just as a servlet runs inside a Web server on a host system. This facilitates the sharing of code and Applets between server and client applications as well as maintaining server state information.
The Standard Edition of WebSphere includes the Servlet Engine, Deployment Manager, Connection Manager, Application Services, and Web Server. The servlet engine (which includes a CORBA 2.0 conformant object request broker and object server) provides a portable, Java-servlet-based execution environment that Java-enables Web application servers.
This latest edition of WebSphere enables Web interactions within multiplatform environments using Java Servlets and Java Server Pages. It is most suitable for simple- to-medium-level transaction environments.
The Advanced Edition provides all of the features found in the Standard Edition as well as business-related logic written in EJB, thus offering the developer persistence and transactional semantics. It also includes the EJB engine and database server (for persistent storage). Advanced Edition is intended for medium- to high-level transaction environments.
Enterprise Edition, which is for enterprise e-business application developers and architects, includes all of the features found in the Advanced Edition along with distributed object and business process integration capabilities. It also offers integration with IBM's transactional application environment.
The package also integrates with a larger product line centered around WebSphere. Add-ons include WebSphere Commerce Suite, which adds e-commerce functionality to the application server. Site Analyzer offers visitor analysis and reporting for gauging traffic volume and sources. The WebSphere Portal facilitates construction of a portal to serve the needs of employees, business partners, and customers. WebSphere Studio provides Java development tools for creating Applets, Servlets, and applications.
Installation of WebSphere is fairly quick, and guesswork is minimized the server's extensive help menus. The Deployment Manager and Connection Manager incorporate an intuitive GUI, facilitating usage of a fairly complex package.
WebSphere runs on numerous platforms, including Windows NT/2000, Solaris, and Red Hat Linux. Pricing starts at $795 (for the first server, standard edition) and goes up to $35,000 (for the first CPU, enterprise edition). A trial download is available with free support for 60 days.
Overall, WebSphere is an excellent Java-based application server for enterprise-level users that require the highest performance.
Pros: 7 High-performance application server with support of EJB and JSP, 7 Integrates with other IBM products, 7 Java capability ensures high performance and state-of-the-art application development
Cons: 7 Doesn't work on Windows 9X systems, 7 May be too pricey for some users, 7 Less-expensive, off-the-shelf alternatives may be more suitable for some small-to-medium size businesses that do not need a high-performance, Java-based application server
New in v4.0:
Full Web services (i.e., SOAP, UDDI, WSDL, XML, and J2EE 1.2 certification) that include robust integration and transaction technology;
enhanced connectivity with Java 2 Connectivity, CORBA, and ActiveX interoperability, as well as expanded database support;
Message Beans and JMS listener support;
Enterprise JavaBeans extensions with internationalization, business rules Beans, and business process Beans;
performance enhancements, including dynamic reload of EJBs, dynamic caching, and JNDI caching;
new, single-server configuration with browser-based administration and new versions of Visual Age for Java and WebSphere Studio;
Rapid installation option;