The servlet engine supports a number of tools intended to make application deployment easier. Tools cover functionality such as deployment descriptors, class loading rules, deployment using WAR files, and automatic compiling and deployment. Stateful failover and clustering is supported and simple to implement. Dynamic EJB stub generation and EAR files make EJB deployment easy. CORBA interoperability is also available to build EJBs and access them as CORBA services.
Oracle 9iAS supports WSDL and can automatically generate the WSDL for deployed applications. A UDDI server registers Web services using the WSDL, and clients can then access the applications through auto-discovery. HTML and XML streams and SOAP are supported for process communication.
Aside from application availability through load balancing of the application server a number of high-availability features are carried through the entire suite. Applications can be deployed to an app server that is running, started, or stopped on one or all nodes of a cluster, allowing for hot upgrades, updates, or reconfiguration. Nodes can be upgraded one at a time, so rolling upgrades can maintain application availability during the upgrade. If one instance of an application fails, requests are re-routed to others, so it isn’t necessary to wait for all users of an application to log off before continuing with an upgrade. In addition to the application server itself, 9iAS allows clusters that include Web servers, Web cache servers, and J2EE containers.
The Oracle Web Cache is optimized for dynamic content with content-aware technology, and even for personalized dynamic content, using a partial page caching language called edge side includes (ESI). This is an XML-like specification that enables partial pages to be cached while the personalized content is filled in as necessary. The cache server can also compress files depending on the type of file. Further, Web cache servers can be clustered for high availability and failover.
The portal framework provides a starting point for creating an enterprisewide or B2B portal, though considerable additional development work will be necessary: There isn’t quite a sample Web site, like one might find with a simple Web server, that can be used as a starting point and modified. And, given the relative complexity of most enterprise portals, such an example would be very basic.
Oracle 9iAS Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition are not be for all organizations. Enterprises with an existing investment in Oracle technology, and those that need an entire suite and are looking for a well-integrated set of applications will find 9iAS a good buy. On the other hand, developers looking for a stand-alone application server, or one that supports anything other than Java, will probably be more satisfied elsewhere.
Industry-standard application server and tools;
An extensive collection of tools that enables development of large-scale enterprise portals, knowledge management systems, or other enterprise applications;
Management of clustered app servers is simple and straightforward, and Web-based access to management tools simplifies management
Isn’t completely J2EE 1.3 compatible — it doesn’t support all EJB 2.0 features;
Supports development under J2EE only — doesn’t support development in C/C++, although C++ applications that support XML and Web services can be used;
Load balancing is round-robin only, a relatively unsophisticated method
Reviewed By: Logan Harbaugh
Original Review Date: 10/25/2002
A list of Oracle 9iAS’ new features can be found on the page that follows.