Adam Bien's Weblog

Oracle And IBM Are Moving In Opposite Directions

Oracle positioned OC4J, than WebLogic as the "strategic" application server. With the acquisition of Sun, Oracle also acquired GlassFish. GlassFish is well adopted, open source and came with commercial support. The open source and commercially supported GlassFish products were effectively identical. GlassFish was and is a reference implementation for Java EE. The combination of Reference Implementation (and so well documented cutting edge technology) and commercial support made GlassFish the "Killer Application Server".

GlassFish was popular among developers and was used in most Java EE 5 and Java EE 6 green field projects. Also many projects migrated from flagship application servers directly to GlassFish.

In fact many startups and projects used GlassFish as their main server. Surprisingly, GlassFish commercial support was not very well advertised (and pushed by the presales) and so unsurprisingly the commercial support was also not widely requested by the customers.

In 2013 year Oracle cancelled the commercial support for GlassFish, but GlassFish still remains at the same time reference implementation and is going to be actively developed.

IBM focussed on WebSphere as the strategic server and the lesser known Community Edition (effectively Geronimo) was meant as an entry level "developer" edition.

Interestingly IBM also withdraw recently the commercial support for WebSphere CE and Geronimo, but at the same time introduced commercially supported WLP.

WLP is a "lightweight" version of IBM WebSphere--the WebSphere Liberty Profile. WLP boots extremely fast, is easy and uncomplicated to install, and the deployments are quick. WLP compares to WebSphere, as GlassFish compared to WebLogic. WLP is neither opensource nor Reference Implementation for Java EE, however it is commercially supported by IBM. In fact you can either choose the fully loaded WebSphere, or WLP. WLP already partially supports Java EE 7.

Seems like Oracle and IBM swapped their strategies. Oracle focusses on WLS, and IBM offers both solutions at the same time, as Oracle did before.

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Comments:

In my personal opinion WLP is created because they are getting afraid of losing customers in the future to other key players in the AS market.

They are more and more faced to the fast changing and agile world and need to come up with a leaner application server architecture which does not handle all the old stuff in parallel (e.g. EJB2.x, WorkManagers, …).

Anyway, they earn a lot of money with existing Websphere Licenses bound to the full profile servers. I guess (I hope) we will see a new full profile server based on the technologies tried out with WLP in the upcoming years. Then, they can smoothly fade out the old application server without losing customers. But this needs time in the enterprise world. Even because a lot of products are based on the WebSphere AS (Portal server, …).

Currently,(as a start-up company) I would not choose WebSphere full profile. But these customers are not in focus of IBM at the moment (I think).

RedHat/JBoss walks the same way but is a little bit ahead at the moment.

Posted by Karsten on February 13, 2015 at 11:38 AM CET #

IBM does not want to lose customers to other key players in the AS market. In my opinion RedHat/JBoss walks the same way but is a little bit ahead at the moment.

I guess (I hope) we will see a new full profile server based on the technologies tried out with WLP in the upcoming years. Then, they can smoothly fade out the old application server without losing customers. But this needs time in the enterprise world. Even because a lot of products are based on the WebSphere AS (Portal server, …).

I do not understand the Oracle strategy.

Posted by Karsten on February 13, 2015 at 11:56 AM CET #

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