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Want a support contract for GlassFish 4.0? Tough luck, says Oracle

For Java EE it's now WebLogic or nothing

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Oracle will no longer provide commercial support for the GlassFish Java Enterprise Edition application server, effective as of the current version.

The database giant shipped GlassFish Server Open Source Edition 4.0 in June as part of the official launch of Java EE 7, but it has yet to offer it in a commercial distribution.

In an update to Oracle's GlassFish server roadmap issued on Monday, Oracle's John Clingan said that while version 4.1 of the server is scheduled to ship in 2014, no commercially supported version of the 4.0 product will be released in the meantime, and no future versions of GlassFish will be offered with commercial support.

GlassFish is the open source software project that forms the basis of the Java EE reference implementation. For those customers who want to use it for production applications, however, Oracle has offered commercial support contracts since GlassFish 2.0.

Now that this option has been eliminated, your only option if you want a supported Java EE application server from Oracle will be to go with the company's flagship WebLogic Server, licenses for which start at twice the per-CPU cost of a GlassFish commercial license.

Enterprise users of earlier versions of GlassFish do have the option of sticking with their current releases. But according to Oracle's Lifetime Support Policy, Premier Support for GlassFish 2.x and 3.x ends next year, and Extended Support ends in 2017. Oracle's so-called Sustaining Support level is available indefinitely, but that, too, comes with a hefty price tag.

Naturally, Oracle's suggestion is for customers to just get used to thinking of GlassFish as WebLogic's free baby brother.

"Oracle recommends that existing commercial Oracle GlassFish Server customers begin planning to move to Oracle WebLogic Server, which is a natural technical and license migration path forward," Clingan wrote.

He added that applications written to Java EE standards should run on GlassFish and WebLogic interchangeably, and because the two products share a fair amount of code, there is even some overlap in their extended features and configuration methods.

Following the release of GlassFish 4.1 in 2014, Clingan said, the development team will begin work on GlassFish 5.0. That version will eventually be used to produce the reference implementation of Java EE 8, but it won't be released as a commercial product, either.

"Going forward, Oracle WebLogic Server will be the single strategic commercially supported application server from Oracle," Clingan wrote. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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