Busy month for JBoss
Application server frenzy
September has been a busy month for JBoss with three significant announcements. JBoss describes itself as the professional open source company and its core product is JBoss Application Server.
Open source is initially attractive because it is free to download and deploy. However the cost of the software is normally only a small part of the overall cost of a project, when the cost of development, deployment, support, maintenance, hardware and services are included. Open source becomes really attractive when it can be shown that the total cost of ownership is lower than other solutions.
The other major attraction of open source is that it is free to distribute. This means that an OEM solution vendor can ship their application and the underlying software, such as an application server, as one package. The client does not have to negotiate with a third party and separately install the underlying software. This makes the sale easier for the OEM and the installation simpler for their client.
This model only works if the total cost of ownership is really lower, for a large enterprise that is only true if the open source software is enterprise ready. Enterprise-ready means firstly that it has the full range of functions expected, but most importantly that it supports the -ilities reliability, scalability, maintainability etc. that are required for mission critical solutions.
Initial versions of JBoss were applauded and used a great deal for initial testing, design and deployment for specific limited solutions. There was some reluctance to deploy it in mission-critical applications because of lack of experience in these environments and some lack of function and support. Some intrepid users did make major deployment and showed that they worked.
JBoss, with its atest announcements, is saying that it is enterprise- ready and ready to compete directly with the established non-open-source vendors. It has introduced a new Application Server; a new version of JBossCache that provides persistence supports; and membership of the Eclipse Foundation.
JBoss Application Server 4.0 provides the latest functions expected of a Java server including full support of J2EE V1.4 and in some ways more interestingly support for the newer concept of Aspect Orientation (AO). AO is a technique for separating crosscutting concerns such as logging, authentication and transaction integrity from application specific concerns, thereby improving productivity and increasing quality at the same time. It also has made great improvements to the -ilities especially in scalability and performance.
JBossCache provides locking, replication and transaction management of any plain old java object (POJO). The caching can now be persisted with the integration of Berkley DB from Sleepycat. This provides a reliable and well performing environment for java applications. JBossCache is available separately but is also distribute with JBoss AR V4.0.
Lastly, JBoss has now joined the Eclipse foundation and will be providing code to the J2EE Standard Tools Project. Eclipse has grown rapidly in strength since it was set up as a separate organisation. JBoss joining Eclipse makes perfect sense and will enhance its attraction in the enterprise space.
I think that these three announcements put together have made JBoss a really serious contender in the Application Server space.
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