IBM's WebSphere Application Server 8 Launches at Impact 2011

At its Impact 2011 conference in Las Vegas, IBM delivers the latest version of its WebSphere Application Server, Version 8, which feature improvements in speed, security and control, among other areas.

LAS VEGAS - At the IBM Impact 2011 conference here, IBM will unveil new software that will allow clients to develop, deploy and manage new types of applications spanning all major platforms, from the mainframe to mobile devices.

Key among the offerings is WebSphere Application Server (WAS) 8, new software designed to speed the development of applications and services. The new version of WAS increases users' security and control, and delivers automated enhancements for the installation, maintenance, testing and problem resolution of business applications.

Complementing these capabilities are new features that extend the reach of WAS to support applications from the desktop to mobile devices through support for popular smartphones and tablets such as iPad, iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and others. Support for these devices is critical to businesses as mobile applications constitute one of the today's largest growth areas; one recent report estimates that the global mobile applications market should grow to $25 billion by 2015, up from $6.8 billion in 2010.

As 2011 represents IBM's 100th year in existence and the company plans a major centennial celebration this year, IBM is preparing to celebrate WebSphere as one of the top innovations in its history, as part of the IBM Centennial celebration. WebSphere is IBM's foundation for the layer of software known as middleware that enables Web applications and computer operating systems to interoperate. Initially developed in 1997, WebSphere became one of the key catalysts for IBM's evolution beyond hardware and into software and services. As part of its centennial celebration, IBM has identified WebSphere as one of the key technology drivers that enabled the Web to become a platform for business computing.

Indeed, according IBM, WebSphere:

  • paved the way for virtually all commerce to become electronic and for every dimension of business operations, including customer relations, accounting and HR, to become Web-enabled;
  • transformed IBM from a hardware-centric company to one focused on software and services;
  • helped IBM become the leader of an $18 billion middleware market;
  • became a cornerstone for new enterprise computing paradigm known as Services Oriented Architecture, or SOA; and
  • led IBM's march to become the world's second-largest software company today.

Moreover, there are currently more than 100,000 WebSphere clients worldwide, and one of these-heavy industry giant Caterpillar, has already begun testing how the new software can expand its applications to reach new customers, IBM said.

"Caterpillar signed its first contract with IBM in 1928, meaning that we have been an IBM customer and partner for much of IBM's first century," John Heller, Chief Information Officer at Caterpillar, said in a statement. "As one of the early WebSphere adopters, we anticipate that the latest version of WebSphere will help us to develop new types of applications serving our customers in all businesses and markets."

And with the April 11 announcement, IBM is introducing a series of products and services to its WebSphere portfolio. These products provide the backbone for tens of thousands of IT infrastructures worldwide and include the following.

  • Workload Deployer allows companies to assemble customized cloud services with templates based on IBM best practices, and features a wide range of IBM software, services and management capabilities.
  • WebSphere Virtual Enterprise provides the ability to consolidate servers and enhance the use of existing infrastructure.
  • WebSphere DataPower XC10 Appliance improves response time and lowers the risk of data loss via automatic replication, delivering high availability.
  • CICS Transaction Server for z/OS delivers a reliable environment for high-value/high-volume business transactions.
  • WebSphere Extended Deployment Compute Grid collaboratively shares resources between batch and online transactions, lowering IT costs.
  • WebSphere Application Accelerator gives global reach for critical application by using the Internet to speed applications to customers anywhere/anytime, and provides application optimization service at the "edge of the network."

"We are seeing sea changes in the way people demand access to their information and applications," Marie Wieck, general manager, application and integration middleware at IBM, said in a statement. "With today's announcement, IBM is prepared to help our clients efficiently reuse existing IT to expand their business footprint to new applications, services and markets through mobile, social, cloud and other new users beyond their traditional customer base."

Moreover, for more than a decade, IBM has been named the No. 1 shareholder in the worldwide application infrastructure and middleware software market according to industry analysts. According to Gartner, in a worldwide application infrastructure and middleware software market worth $17.6 billion, IBM in 2010 was once again the top software vendor with 32.6 percent market share, extending its lead to nearly double that of its closest competitor.

IBM said the Impact 2011 conference features more than 8,000 attendees and hundreds of client testimonials, presentations, workshops and product demos, making Impact 2011 the largest worldwide conference created to meet the growing demand for an educational forum around business agility, IBM said.