Wednesday, December 1, 2004

WebSphere Application Server 6: what’s it all mean?


By Bryon Kataoka

On October 6, 2004 IBM announced WebSphere Application Server version 6. To paraphrase, the announcement states that the next version of WebSphere contains support for various Java and Web services standards. Included with this release is the Web services specification, WS-I Basic Profile 1.1, J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) 1.4, as well as the Java API for building Web services and clients using Remote Procedure Calls (RPC) and XML, and JAX-RPC.

Also announced were several other areas of improvement, such as new packaging, improved ease of use, and Enterprise Class Deployment, all delivered to enhance reliability, scalability and interoperability.

My intention here is to help shed some light with respect to the functions and features provided with WebSphere 6, and to show how it surpasses previous releases of WebSphere Application Server.

Areas of improvement

You can basically identify four areas of improvement with this version of WebSphere: packaging and installation of the product, corroboration with standards, simplification of deployment and administration practice, and improvement in Enterprise Class Deployment. Let's learn about the changes and how they provide you with a better environment.

New packaging

WebSphere Application Server version 5 and 5.1 had four flavors. They were Express version, a single server version that supported JDK and a Web Container in addition to some licensing restrictions, WebSphere Application Server Base, which contained everything in Express plus included EJB support and messaging, WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment, which supported clustering and multi-machines as well as edge capabilities, and WebSphere Application Server Enterprise, that added Async beans, application profiles and Workflow.

You can immediately see that each version of the Application Server required customized builds. Only one had the Web Container, and another included EJB. To simplify the packaging, WebSphere 6 Express/Base Single Server CDs now deliver a single set of images that install Express or a Single Base Server, and provides full J2EE 1.4.2 support for both versions.

Now included with the Express/Base product are a number of features that used to only be available in the Enterprise Edition. Most notable are Asynchronous Beans (now called Workmanager), and Application Profiles.