Macromedia Adds Clustering Features to JRun 4 Upgrade

Macromedia Inc. last week rolled out the latest version of the companys Java application server targeting the midmarket with an entry-priced, industry-standard offering.

JRun 4 complies with the Java 2 Enterprise Edition standard and provides a complete package for developing and deploying Java applications, including clustering and Web services integration, all for $899 per processor, according to Macromedia officials.

The San Francisco company said JRun 4 takes a new approach to clustering by using Sun Microsystems Inc.s Jini network technology to enable JRun servers to dynamically locate their peers in a cluster and eliminate the risk inherent to a single point of failure. This simplifies clustered deployment and increases application reliability.

Jim Waldo, a Sun distinguished engineer, in Santa Clara, Calif., said that by using Jini, Macromedia has been successful in creating a peer-based system for services such as EJB (Enterprise JavaBeans) to discover and interact with one another.

Macromedia officials said at its price, JRun 4 competes not only with higher-end applications servers from BEA Systems Inc. and IBM but with open-source application server technology. The last version of JRun, 3.1, came in three flavors: enterprise, advanced and professional. The enterprise version was the most expensive, at more than $4,000. But Macromedia officials said the new version includes all the functionality of the enterprise version in one flavor.

Chanan Braunstein, a senior Web designer at Knovel Inc., in Norwich, N.Y., said his company selected JRun 4 because of its ease of use, good administration interface and "the added clustering features in JRun 4."

"JRun allows you to easily add several JRun servers to work as one unit," said Braunstein, whose company maintains a portal for scientific, technical and engineering information. "Internally we develop with [Macromedia] Dreamweaver and Flash MX."

The administration user interface was a key part of the equation for Knovel.

"When I need to add applications or change variables in the server configuration, I dont want to have to spend the time figuring out how to do it," he said. "My job is to develop applications for our Web sites, not try to figure out cryptic commands in a config file or a command prompt."

Macromedia officials said JRun 4 supports Web services development and publishes and consumes Web services. It also can take existing EJB or Java classes and expose them as Web services.

JRun 4 simplifies and speeds application development and deployment with hot modification, auto-deployment and XDoclet integration, said Macromedia officials. In addition, JRun leverages a service-based architecture to implement core features as Java Management Extensions services that are plugged into the JRun kernel.