By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2004-05-17 Print this article Print

When it comes to building Java server applications, a good enterprise messaging system is a core technology for providing stable communications in the application framework. However, because messaging—and Java Message Service, specifically—is a core technology, it is often included with Java application servers.

This means third-party commercial JMS products must provide enough value for companies to make them worth the investment, rather than simply using bundled JMS features. Sonic Software Corp. accomplishes this with SonicMQ 6.0, which provides strong features for adding superior reliability and fault tolerance to most Java application platforms.

A key feature in SonicMQ 6.0, which was released last month, is the Continuous Availability Architecture on which the products failover capabilities are based. This technology makes it possible in a clustered configuration to provide fast failover when a message fails, through an in-process stateful replication rather than much slower transaction rollbacks.

SonicMQ 6.0 has broad support for connectivity options, Web services and XML. The product runs on Linux, Unix and Windows platforms and supports application servers, including BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic, IBMs WebSphere, JBoss Inc.s JBoss and Oracle Corp.s Application Server.

SonicMQ 6.0s $15,000 starting price might seem high when compared with bundled JMS capabilities, but its competitive with third-party messaging platforms from IBM and TIBCO Software Inc.

In this release, Sonic has streamlined the deployment process. Installing messaging systems can be very time-consuming and detail-intensive, but with SonicMQ 6.0, we installed our central management systems and server agents in little time.

To test SonicMQ 6.0s new fault tolerance and load balancing features, we created several simple applications and edited some existing ones. We also made use of the excellent sample applications Sonic provides with the product.

To test fault tolerance features, we selectively brought down brokers to see how messages would be handled. In tests, all worked as advertised.

However, when dealing with more complicated applications, leveraging these fault tolerance features can be a daunting task involving lots of trial and error. Wed like to see better integration with development tools to ease some of this burden.

Most new features in SonicMQ 6.0 deal with stability and performance, so we recommend that prospective customers take advantage of Sonics downloadable 30-day evaluation. This will allow developers to see how well the product works with their applications.

Labs Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at jim_rapoza@ziffdavis.com.

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Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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