IBM Boosts WebSphere with SOAP, Autonomics

IBM enhances WebSphere Application Server with new enterprise features.

IBM this week will ship WebSphere Application Server Version 5.0, with new enterprise features including autonomic capabilities, additional Web services support and enhanced integration.

WebSphere Version 5.0 will serve as the underlying platform for all of IBMs On Demand software and will tightly integrate with the DB2 database, Tivoli network management applications and Lotus collaboration software, said John Swainson, general manager of IBMs Application Integration Middleware unit, in Somers, N.Y.

"WebSphere 5.0 is the base upon which we build the whole WebSphere family," Swainson said. "It takes things like performance and scalability and reliability and ease of maintenance and ease of operations to a new level."

Swainson said the application development tools that are tightly integrated with the environment allow developers to build J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) applications better and faster than ever.

"We have a relatively new product, the so-called Express product, that allows us to now extend the value proposition down to smaller ISVs and smaller customers who need a full J2EE environment but who also need a simpler application development paradigm to go with it," Swainson said.

Loren Abdulezer, CEO of Evolving Technologies Corp., of Brooklyn, N.Y., said his company has beta tested WebSphere 5.0 and has been using the latest version of the WebSphere Studio tools to build applications in preparation for migrating from WebSphere 4.0.

Abdulezer said the new tools make it easy for the company to start working in Web services development. WebSpheres tools "automate the process of developing Web services ... to the point that developers dont have to hand code any services," Abdulezer said. In addition, the products wizards facilitate development, while WebSphere Studio "gives you the opportunity to inspect the code" before executing, he said.

"WebSphere 5.0 is a better overall tool than its predecessor, particularly when you look at software as a service," said David Moskowitz, president and CEO of Productivity Solutions Inc., in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., and a WebSphere 5.0 beta tester.

Moskowitz added that WebSphere 5.0 is a good integration platform "because it has full support for JCA [J2EE Connector Architecture] 1.0."

On the support front, IBM officials said the company has added support for the Web Services Invocation Framework, a technology for invoking and developing Web services across a variety of network and transport protocols, and Axis 3.0, a new high-speed Web services system to speed processing of Simple Object Access Protocol requests, which are key transport protocols for Web services.

WebSphere 5.0 also features IBMs Web Services Gateway for managing and securing Web services, a private Universal Description, Discovery and Integration repository, and Web services workflow technology based on the IBM-supported Business Process Execution Language for Web Services.

WebSpheres autonomic capabilities will help facilitate IBMs On Demand e-business strategy as well as lay the groundwork for the companys grid computing strategy, Swainson said. In addition to delivering self-healing features, WebSphere 5.0 delivers self- configuring, self-optimizing and self-protecting features.

WebSphere Application Server Version 5.0 is available for download this week at prices starting at $8,000 for a single-server configuration or $12,000 for a networked configuration. The product runs on Windows, Linux, IBMs eServer zSeries and iSeries, AIX, Solaris, and HP-UX.