App Engines Revved

WebSphere, WebLogic servers push the Web development envelope.

The increasing sophistication in the application server market is easy to see in the latest releases of IBMs WebSphere 4.0 Advanced Edition and BEA Systems Inc.s Web-Logic Server Premium Edition 6.1.

WebSphere 4.0, which started shipping in August, and WebLogic 6.1, which started shipping at the end of June, both provide sophisticated engines for building dynamic Web sites and Web-based applications, although WebSphere focuses more on manageability and WebLogic more on raw power.

WebSphere and WebLogic are focused on the enterprise and are good candidates for developing large-scale, mission-critical applications.

They are also fairly expensive. WebSphere 4.0 Advanced Edition Full Configuration (the version we tested) costs $12,000 per CPU. A Single Server Configuration version (which doesnt support clustering) costs $8,000 per CPU. IBMs matching WebSphere Studio 4 Advanced Edition Web application development tool and its VisualAge for Java 4.0 Enterprise Edition are $1,999 and $2,999 per developer, respectively.

WebLogic is roughly the same price: WebLogic Server Advanced Edition costs $10,000 per CPU, and WebLogic Server Premium Edition (which includes in-memory state replication, a high-end clustering feature that WebSphere lacks, plus a few other advanced features) costs $17,000 per CPU (we tested this version). A non-EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) version, WebLogic Express Edition, costs $3,000 per CPU.

Both WebSphere and WebLogic run on Windows, several Unix operating systems and mainframes, and both support all major Web servers.