Red Hat Plans to Open Up JBoss Middleware

Java is a pervasive language across the enterprise application landscape and Java application servers often delivering applications. Howver, in some of those cases, according to Red Hat (NYSE:RHT), a full Java application server is overkill.

For users who may not need all the features of Java Enterprise Edition (JavaEE), Red Hat’s JBoss division today announced a new platform release revolving around JBoss Enterprise Application Platform version 5.0. The new platform will now include a smaller Web platform and Web server release that Red Hat executives said will provide a way for users to future-proof their Java deployments. The new releases are part of the JBoss OpenChoice initiative, which Red Hat is rolling out when the JavaOne conference kicks off tomorrow.

“Sometimes a full-blown JavaEE application server can be overkill for certain use cases,” Mark Little, senior director of engineering middleware at Red Hat, said during a Webcast press conference. “What we’re saying here is, in the past, you may have taken an application server and from that you may have only been using a small number of services. That model doesn’t scale, what we’ve got now is more flexible and lets you take the bits you want and completely ignore the bits you don’t want.”

Craig Muzilla, vice president of Red Hat’s middleware business, said that while Java has been extremely successful it has become monolithic and doesn’t address all needs.

Muzilla added that JavaEE can, in some cases, be too heavy and too complex for certain types of Java deployments. On the other hand, Muzilla said that some of the newer Java container technologies do not include what he considers to be a full set of enterprise services for mission critical deployments.

The new JBoss platforms will support some of the other lightweight approaches to Java including Spring, Struts, OSGI and Ruby, but, according to Muzilla, JBoss will also provide a common platform so users can benefit from full JavaEE capabilities if and when they need to.

“JBoss Web platform 5.0 does not carry some of the baggage of a complete JavaEE implementation, but is has enterprise features such as clustering, caching, persistence and security that are required in an application deployment setting,” Muzilla said.

Muzilla added that the new JBoss Enterprise Web Server is also being announced to deliver the most basic types of Java applications.

Basic Java deployments today are often handled with Apache Tomcat servers. Tomcat usage comes from as open source solutions as well those with commercial support through vendors like SpringSource. Red Hat, however, sees a need for more than what Tomcat can do -– even at a basic level.

“The biggest difference versus Apache Tomcat is that Apache won’t be using our underlying infrastructure and our micro-container technology and it won’t give you a full set of enterprise services,” Muzilla said.

Muzilla added that what happens in some cases is developers start off with Tomcat but then add on extra capabilities like persistence and caching with external tool that aren’t always consistent. He commented that the JBoss is approach is to have a common platform so users that start off with basic needs and can grow capabilities with the same core platform.

“We really believe this is helping to future proof Java deployments,” Muzilla said.

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