WebLogic has been one of the premier enterprise-class Java application servers on the market for several years now. However, the product is facing more competition as corporations become increasingly comfortable with open-source alternatives. WebLogic Server 9.0 pricing starts at $495 per CPU, which may not make sense for sites with application server management needs that dont extend much beyond editing the web.xml file. However, in an enterprise environment where high availability, excellent scalability and robust administration options are necessities, WebLogic Server 9.0 can be worth every penny.Administration options have been greatly extended in WebLogic Server 9.0. The most obvious change is that, like AquaLogic, the browser-based administration is now very portallike, even down to the underlying technologies. This new intuitive interface helped us a great deal when dealing with the many new administration options in the application server.In addition, we could make almost any configuration change to the server and have it take place dynamically, with no need to restart the server to enable the changes. Overall, WebLogic Server does a much better job recognizing the many different states that an application server can be in. Typically, an application server is either off or on, but with the new Admin state, we could access all the administrative features of WebLogic Server without having to make the external interfaces live. This proved very helpful when deploying or troubleshooting a server instance. From the administration console, WebLogic Server 9.0 provides very detailed diagnostics and analytics for server administrators. From here, we had access to a wide variety of tools that provided insight into server and application performance and helped us track problems and the causes of server and application failures. A new command-line scripting tool based on the Jython Java scripting interpreter let us carry out a wide variety of automated configuration changes and tweaks. Click here to read a related review of AquaLogic Service Bus 2.0. WebLogic Servers features for ensuring high availability for servers, applications and services include a new automated server migration feature that makes it possible to move an entire server instance to another machine if a failure occurs. On the SOA side of things, WebLogic Server 9.0 is more service-friendly than prior versions. Its JMS capabilities include support for the JMS 1.1 specification. WebLogic Server 9.0 treats JMS more like Java, with a modular approach that eases deployment and management of messages. Standards support in WebLogic Server 9.0 is very good, with key support being J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition.) 1.4 and its new Web Services for J2EE specification. However, as an enterprise-focused product, it is in some ways less cutting-edge than some other application servers and lacks support for unfinished standards such as Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0. Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.