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IBM today announced that Websphere 6, the long awaited-update to its application server software, will be available by the end of the year.

It has been two years since the last rollout, and IBM has used the time to stuff this next version full of new features. Websphere 6 has been designed to detect problems - like power supply issues or network glitches - and respond to them automatically. IBM says a downed server will now be available again within seconds, not minutes.

The system should also be faster to restore. For example, if a server goes down, Websphere 6 will transfer any applications running to a fail-over server so that the transaction is not lost. Websphere 5 requires that the server be rebooted before the application can resume.

If there is a bigger problem - like a blanket power outage, the software can move data via the internet to a totally different location. As well as protecting applications against downtime, Websphere 6 will provide better scaling, allowing more users to access an application at any one time.

A drag-and-drop approach to automating laborious stages of application development will shorten development time, and should ease deployment, IBM said. ®

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