Analysts and Competitors Weigh

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2004-10-06 Print this article Print

In on the new WebSphere"> "Id say on the whole that Version 6.0 represents an improvement release more so than a revolutionary, new-feature-release one," said Ronald Schmelzer, an analyst with ZapThink LLC, of Waltham, Mass. "This version has significant improvements in performance, usability, and integration with developer tools, not to mention a renaming of one of the products to the Rational brand. So, while I wouldnt be looking for earth-shattering new features in this release, what the world needs now are products that work, not lots of new half-implemented features that dont. So this release furthers the solidification of the features IBM has been building as part of their ever-increasing WebSphere product brand," Schmelzer said.
IBM also announced that IBM WebSphere Extended Deployment Version 5.1, which will automatically optimize the performance of companies software and hardware is expected to ship on Oct. 22. Other new software offerings expected before the end of the year include new WebSphere Portal software and new host access, speech and mobile middleware, the company said.
A recent study says that Microsoft Corp.s Visual Studio .Net tops WebSphere for development. Click here to read more. Meanwhile, IBM competitors weighed in saying IBM is late to the game. Both Oracle Corp. and BEA Systems Inc. said IBM is at least one to two versions behind them in the application server functionality race. "IBM continues to play catch-up," said Rob Cheng, product director of Oracle Application Server and Tools, adding that IBM was two generations behind Oracle. "Oracle 9i [application server] had all these features and with 10g were not just talking about failover but provisioning, automated monitoring and management and grid. IBM is still dealing with problems of the past. Manageability and reducing complexity are key to Oracle and IBM is not providing it." Read an eWEEK Labs review of Oracle 10g here. Eric Stahl, senior director of product management at BEA, said, "We believe we are two years ahead in the application server and platform space over IBM." Stahl added that while "this big announcement about making their system highly available and integrating the product line is good and necessary for IBM, these are things weve had before." Stahl said not only does BEA provide failover support, but in the upcoming version of BEA WebLogic due in beta by the end of January, the application server will enable users to upgrade the server or add applications and do adjustments without taking the system down. Click here to read an interview with BEA chief architect Adam Bosworth. Tim Dempsey, vice president at Sonic Software Corp., which has been touting its ESB technology for some time, said "because IBM felt it was necessary to aggressively position capabilities around SOA and the Enterprise Service Bus, that ratifies the vision we had a couple of years ago when we released an ESB." "The app server guys are needing to expand their capabilities as that part of the market becomes commoditized," Dempsey said. "Were seeing lots of success where customers see ESBs as a way to move away from those kinds of architectures." At the same time, Dempsey pointed out that IBM does not itself offer an ESB product, but that several IBM products taken together would constitute an ESB. Check out eWEEK.coms Developer & Web Services Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

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Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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