HP-Bluestone’s Total-e-Server release 7.2.2 (formerly Bluestone Sapphire
server) maintains the company’s leadership position in enterprise-level application
servers. Bluestone Software, recently acquired by Hewlett Packard, was a pioneer in
this field. This version, and the recently released 7.3, has been adapted to Sun Microsystems’ J2EE standards to serve any compliant application — from Web sites to pages for mobile devices.
Total-e-Server is similar to SilverStream’s application server in that it combines the development platform and server into a single package. In addition, Total-e-Server supports many standards, such as Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), XML, COBRA, and COM. This release combines the functions of a Java-based application server and Java development
Total-e-Server from HP Bluestone is a powerful, enterprise-level
J2EE-compliant application server and development environment. Its hefty price tag and complexity make it poorly suited for the impatient or the thrifty.
Once system setup is finished (and it should not take more than a couple minutes), you
can serve applications created in any J2EE-compliant development environment using the Application Manager, which is a unified interface for system administration capabilities. Or you can develop your own application with the included “Trail Map”, a fifteen-step development environment that takes the user through the development process. Step 9 of the Trail Map, for example, allows you to write and deploy a JSP (Java Server Page) from EJB applications. Though you have to do the Java coding yourself (or modify Bluestone’s code), within a couple of screens all relevant deployment parameters can be modified.
The following components comprise Total-e-Server:
- Universal Business Server (UBS), which includes the
flexibility of rule- and events-based load-balancing and failover mechanisms
- J2EE Developer, which includes the application builder Trail Map with a Java-based GUI and source code control
- Bluestone Application Manager, for controlling application deployment
Virtually any OS platform (including Linux, Sun Solaris, Windows NT, HP-UZX, Digital Unix, OS/390, and Windows 98/NT) can support Total-e-Server. Numerous commercial database packages are also supported, including those from Oracle, Informix, Sybase, DB2, and Microsoft Access. Total-e-Server also works with any Web server (e.g., the Apache HTTP and Netscape family of Web servers). The security layer supports numerous protocols, including
s-http, SSL, and socket communication. It is also compatible with third-party firewalls and other security tools.
Starting with version 7.2.2, Total-e-Server has foregone the Sapphire Integration Modules (SIMs), which connected the server to outside data applications (e.g., those from SAP or PeopleSoft) and DBMSs. Because SIMs became outdated with each product update, Sun Microsystems proposed a standardized approach to plugs that has been incorporated into version 7.3. Enterprises using prior version can write their own connector middleware, have someone else write it for them, or use database drivers provided. Bluestone is also in the process of integrating its product with HP’s.
As a high-performance application server, Total-e-Server does require some savvy to use. Users without extensive Java experience could require several weeks of training to get up to speed on the developer features, application manager, and Java capabilities, according to HP-Bluestone. Experienced Java programmers, however, probably have 80 percent of the proficiency necessary.
Built-in training materials, like the CD-ROM and Trail Map, are available to assist reasonably knowledgeable users. Training is also available for enterprise willing to pay for distance learning, mentoring services, and consulting services.
Total-e-Server is priced at $30,000 per CPU, or can be paid for based on transaction volume or one-shot embedding arrangements. This price range is for high-end, high-volume users who cannot afford downtime and need extras like “hot versioning” — a feature that allows software to be updated without taking the server offline. The product’s linear scalability ensures that throughput increases in direct proportion to the number of CPUs.
Overall, Total-e-Server maintains Bluestone’s leadership position in enterprise-level application servers. The product comes with scalable pricing that makes it suitable for a wide range of clients requiring higher performance than offered by out-of-box solutions.
Pros: 7 Support for numerous databases, 7 Failover and load balancing features, 7 Hot versioning, 7 Includes functionality to minimize downtime
Cons: 7 No built-in connectors to existing data applications, 7 Not yet
compatible with other HP products, 7 May take users, especially those not Java programmers, a while to become proficient in product use
Version Reviewed: 7.2.2/7.3
Reviewed by: Eric Schayer
Last Updated: 4/19/01
Date of Original Review: 4/19/01