Releases / Lifecycles and other Product Management Miscellany

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This week we GA’d JBoss EAP 5.0. As you’d expect from a new release there’s a long list of new features, capabilities and APIs and at some point I’ll talk about those some more. But the intention of this post is to give you an idea of some of the other less visible things that have happened with this release. EAP 5.0 marks a key milestone in the evolution of JBoss and demonstrates where we’re heading with the JBoss Platforms.

Performance

We set some pretty aggressive performance targets for this release. By comparison to JBoss EAP 4.3 we see an increase in peak throughput of about 20%, faster response times and more scalable HTTP connection handling. Performance is an ongoing activity and we’re continuing our investment in improving it in future releases. Performance at any cost is interesting to few outside of Formula 1 and Rocket Science and it isn’t a goal – we’re specifically interested in price / performance using a broad range of typical, real-life workloads.

Quality

Popular Open Source technologies (like JBoss AS – on which EAP is based) have always had the benefit of a large community who actively poke and prod. and push the software in different ways; who peer into the design and code and offer improvements.The result is some pretty decent, efficient and well polished code. But with the JBoss platforms we go one (or several steps) further. For EAP we had a long and active Early Access Program. It started back in April and is only now winding down as FCS customers complete their work. The diagram Below illustrates how we connect the AS and EAP lifecycle, the upstream (AS) GA essentially starts our EAP Early access program. This allows enterprise customers to start using a stable (though incomplete) release with the full backing of Red Hat Global Support.

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Obviously the diagram is a massive oversimplification – EAP is more than AS – it is the integration point for Seam, RESTEasy, the installer, mod_cluster and the Apache Native components.

With every release we also enhance our QE coverage; in the case of this release there was a bigger focus on Performance, Stress and Longevity testing using larger and more complex topologies and a broader range of workloads.

Lifecycle

We’ve also refreshed and restated our product update and support policy for all JBoss platforms – the hope is that it’s more clear, better aligned with other products from Red Hat and puts even more distance between us and our Open Source competitors.

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Ease of Use

A while back we kicked of an Internal initiative called “Andiamo” – I talked a little about it at JBoss World, and Mark wrote about it recently. While much of what we have planned around Operational and Development Ease of Use is planned for release beyond EAP 5.0, EAP 5.0 does lay the foundation for some of the things we need to achieve. The new Microcontainer provides us a very flexible and powerful toolbox that will allow us to build the middleware platform for the next decade. Specifically around ease of use, and as a taste of things to come we did provide a first cut of the new embedded console (it replaces the old JMX and Web Consoles). It has pretty limited functionality right now but I think it achieves the goal of making simple tasks simple to do.

What’s Next ?

The EAP Springtime Release (nominally EAP 5.1) is well underway and we’ll be pushing for even greater performance gains as well as defining the target platform for an upcoming Common Citeria (EAL 4+) certification.

We’re also underway with the EAP Lancer Release (nominally EAP 6.0) which will be the first major output of the Andiamo work as well as supporting the new Java EE 6 platform.

Onwards and Upwards.

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