Sun Releases New GlassFish Preview

Sun releases GlassFish Enterprise Server version 3 Prelude, a lightweight Web application server that is based on a modular Open Services Gateway Initiative architecture. The new open source GlassFish release also provides a preview of Java Platform Enterprise Edition 6.

Sun Microsystems has announced the preview version of the next major release of its GlassFish application server, which, among other things, provides a preview of Java Platform Enterprise Edition 6.

The new version of GlassFish, GlassFish Enterprise Server version 3 Prelude, is a lightweight Web application server that is based on a modular OSGi (Open Services Gateway Initiative) architecture, said Paul Hinz, director of Java Enterprise System at Sun. Hinz noted that Sun also is providing a preview of features that will be available in the upcoming Java EE 6 release. Java EE 6 is slated for release around the time of JavaOne 2009, which will be in early June, said John Clingan, Group Product Manager, Application Server at Sun.

"The goal after version 2 was to, with version 3, build a modular architecture," Hinz said. "We wanted to build an application container so you could do everything from the Web tier to mission critical" applications, he said. Hinz said the v3 prelude could be used in production.

Sun's GlassFish open-source application server has more than 14 million downloads since its first release in May 2005, more than 225,000 registrations in 2008 and hundreds of production deployments around the globe , Sun officials said. And Hinz said features such as ease of installation and management, modularity and extensibility and enhanced JRuby support enable GlassFish Enterprise Server v3 Prelude empower developers to easily scale their projects from small Web-tier deployments to large-scale mission critical architectures.

"GlassFish is doing surprisingly well. It's picking up some solid reviews from ISVs, and Sun continues to invest in performance and usability," said James Governor, an analyst with RedMonk LLC. "Downloads are certainly nicely on the up tick," he added. "For me it's also a big deal that GlassFish v3 prelude is now clearly on the OSGi train, which improves system modularity and standards-support."

Ari Zilka, chief technology officer at Terracotta, said, "While we have always had respect for GlassFish and they have worked with us since the day we open sourced, every release, we are doing more and more with GlassFish. Why is this? Users are telling us that GlassFish is especially easy to manage. It is winning bake-offs, especially against very expensive offerings from Oracle and IBM. One customer in online gaming said that GlassFish is superior to WebLogic, promptly demanded production support for Terracotta underneath GlassFish 2 and now 3, all the way into production. They have not looked back."

Moreover, Zilka added:

"In a market where SpringSource and Terracotta are working together to keep things simpler and save people money, GlassFish's ability to provide a free Java EE-compliant container (as opposed to Java SE) is very important. From our angle, GlassFish's traction in the market will continue to grow and take other containers' market share because existing Java apps are all in the process of retooling onto a lower cost platform."