Sun Microsystems Inc is announcing this week the beta of the next version of its open source GlassFish Java application server.
According to Sun, on this go round, GlassFish should be enterprise ready. Version 2 is supposed to bring the offering closer to parity with Sun’s commercial Java Enterprise System.
That means adding capabilities such as clustering, centralized administration, load balancing, caching, and something called Web Services Interoperability Technology (WSIT) that has come as one of the first fruits of Sun’s joint work with Microsoft.
And it also brings native implementation of Java Business Integration, the web services deployment framework that has been embraced by all major Java players except the two biggest: IBM and BEA.
Furthermore, said Paul Hinz, director of product management for Sun’s Java Enterprise System, GlassFish version 2 comes in a smaller footprint. At 63MB, it becomes much easier to download. Also, the new version occupies a smaller memory footprint, making it more portable and useful for developers.
GlassFish was first announced a couple years ago as the open source reference implementation of the Java Enterprise Edition 5 (Java EE 5). But for the most part, GlassFish was really a development and proof of concept platform, with few if any commercial products based on it. With the new release, Sun is responding to the success of Red Hat’s JBoss, which has made its mark in commercial deployments.
It’s also obviously a contrast in strategy to IBM, whose open source WebSphere Community Editions appserver is and will remain a different creature from the WebSphere mother ship.
Alongside the new GlassFish release, Sun is also spotlighting community previews (not its terminology) of several other projects related to Ajax development frameworks for Java developers that it is incubating.
Sun is testing, or shall we say, waddling in the waters to see where WADL ultimately should reside, because it’s not Java-specific.