JBoss Open Choice, Part 1 – JBoss Enterprise Web Server

It’s July 4th and we have an extended weekend in the US which is a good enough excuse to catch up on some blogging; at least until the Strawberry Margaritas start flowing. At Java One this year we announced an initiative called Open Choice which I blogged about previously. Fundamentally Open Choice is about broadening our footprint and giving customers what they want and moves us closer to supporting the whole applications infrastructure tier rather than just parts.

Open Choice isn’t some big, far-into-the-future vision thing it’s something we’re doing now. This year. Product-wise it consists of four offerings (where previously there was only one) and as we release them I’ll give you my perspective on why they’re important. Unfortunately I’m already a little behind – we’ve already delivered two products out of four and the third is in Alpha moving quickly towards Beta.

So let me use this post to talk about JBoss EWS 1.0 (Enterprise Web Server). EWS is basically a packaged, certified and tested bundle of Tomcat and Apache HTTP – the industry’s dominant Java web-container and Web Server respectively. We round out the bundle with mod_jk, APR and most importantly a management agent for JBoss ON. We currently support and certify on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Solaris with Windows coming next.

Providing JBoss ON management support is pretty important – it gives customer the ability to manage the application and web stacks easily and consistently using the same toolset. If you want to learn more – there is a free Webinar on July 14th at 2pm Eastern – more here.

The rationale for supporting Tomcat is that it is absolutely the dominant Java web-container and has become an important part of the corporate IT fabric. Tomcat has been popular for years but in the last two or three  I’ve seen it evolve into a much more strategic platform for IT. Many customer I speak with have defined two distinct tiers of functionality – essentially a full Java EE stack and a lighter-weight Tomcat platform. By supporting both the dominant Java EE implementation (JBoss EAP) and Tomcat, combined with the ability to manage from a single tool – I think we can do a much better job of satisfying a much broader customer base than our competition. Here’s an (albeit unscientific) chart from a recent survey that demonstrates this well :

Most often use Java EE containers

It’s also interesting to note that from this survey JBoss’ deployment share is more than Websphere and Weblogic combined.

OK, so JBoss EWS 1.0 is out and we have customers deployed or deploying some pretty large, strategic apps. but I’m already thinking about the next version (code named Cavalier). Some initial ideas for Cavalier are :

  • increasing platform support to include AIX, HP-UX and maybe other Linux flavours;
  • alternative Connection Pool implementations for Tomcat;
  • looking at a more recent version of Apache HTTPD;
  • possibly supporting mod_cluster.
  • soft-appliances to better support virtualized hosts.

Any other thoughts are always welcome – leave a comment or get in touch directly.