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.“
In addition to Java EE 6 preview features and production support for lightweight Web tier applications, the new GlassFish v3 Prelude provides dynamic language support with reliable performance, an easy-to-use administration console and rapid deployment technology. Hinz said the new GlassFish allows users to run development languages like Java, Groovy on Grails and JRuby on Rails at the same time without sacrificing performance. Also, JRuby applications can run without the Java servlet container, improving productivity by eliminating the need to bundle and deploy JRuby applications as a Java Web archive.
Meanwhile, Clingan said developers can expect to be more productive when GlassFish Enterprise Server v3 Prelude is combined with the upcoming release of NetBeans integrated development environment (IDE) 6.5.
Jonathan Eunice, an analyst with Illuminata, said GlassFish v3 Prelude has several things that stand out, including a great development cycle. He said it also has strong tie-ins with development tools: NetBeans and Eclipse, and “v3 Prelude is an excellent drop-in replacement for Apache Tomcat. Not a Java EE server (either EE 5 or 6), but for code that doesn’t need full EE support, good stuff.”
“GlassFish Enterprise Server v3 Prelude is a great example of the innovations that a dynamic, open-source community can create as well as an interesting view into the future of Web application development and production environments,” said Karen Tegan Padir, vice president of engineering, Software Infrastructure, Sun Microsystems. “This release, which is fully supported by Sun and targeted at Web-tier production environments, will be the basis for the GlassFish Enterprise Server v3 — a complete application server based on the OSGi standard and the upcoming Java EE 6 platform.”
Sun said more than 100 companies have joined the Sun Partner Advantage Program, which connects GlassFish solution providers to the GlassFish user and developer community. New additions to the community include companies such as CloudAPPy Drag and Drop Cloud Hosting, ehCache, Imixs, JasperSoft, Nuxeo, and planConnect.
“GlassFish is showing extraordinary feature and performance maturity in the very competitive application server space and is growing to become a major new force in the market,” said Jose Morales, vice president, Business Development, Jaspersoft, in a statement. “Jaspersoft is pleased to add GlassFish Enterprise Server support to our family of supported Sun products, including the Solaris Operating System, NetBeans IDE and MySQL database.”
“We have been impressed by the GlassFish v3 architecture,” Eric Barroca, executive vice president, Operations, Nuxeo. “We have selected it to power Nuxeo WebEngine standalone server, our content-centric Web framework for building Web 2.0 applications, thanks to its OSGi support and its great ability to be embedded. We are looking forward to the full Java EE 6 support and plan to use it as our main application server for the open source ECM platform: Nuxeo EP.”
To download and sign up for an annual subscription of the GlassFish Enterprise Server v3 Prelude, visit: http://www.sun.com/GlassFishv3. To find out more about the Sun Partner Advantage Program for GlassFish, visit: http://www.sun.com/software/products/appsrvr/gf-isv.jsp.