JBoss Enterprise Middleware

State-of-the-art Enterprise Application Server

The annual 2009 Gartner report lists open source product JBoss in the leader’s corner of its Magic Quadrant, together with the much more expensive solutions IBM WebSphere, Microsoft .NET/IIS and Oracle WebLogic Server. No wonder that many Qualogy customers regard JBoss as a very interesting alternative.

Hosting application software modules

An application server is platform middleware; system software acting as a container for applications’ business logic. Its key function is to host application software modules developed using the application server’s programming model. In the case of JBoss, that is the widely used multi-vendor platform Java EE. An application server provides developer tools to encode the application business logic, and runtime tools to interpret and execute the encoded application.

Taking advantage of centralization

There are many reasons to consider using an application server, but most of them are grouped around the central nature of the solution. End users can benefit from system-wide standard behavior, from reduced time to develop and from reduced costs. As the server does a lot of the tedious code-generation, developers can focus on business logic.

Changes to the application configuration, like system settings or a different database server, are easier to handle. Updating applications with new business logic can be done in a controlled manner for all users, without the risk of old versions accessing the data. And a central point of security to manage access to data takes authentication away from the client layer. In the end, all these benefits may result in a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

Open source for enterprises

JBoss community projects are Java EE 5-compliant cutting-edge open source products, which means that they are available for free download (without support). For enterprise use they are packaged by JBoss owner Red Hat as JBoss Enterprise Middleware , which integrates and hardens the latest enterprise-ready features from JBoss community projects into stable, enterprise-class middleware distributions with a paid support subscription. Companies like AVIS, Union Bank, KPN and Verizon rely on JBoss every day. The available JBoss Enterprise platforms for JBoss Enterprise Application Server are:

  • Application Platform
    : the leading open source platform, enhancing JBoss Application Server with enterprise features and leading open source frameworks to provide a complete solution to deploy and host enterprise Java applications and services.

  • Web Platform
    : a lightweight platform for building light & rich Java applications, enhancing the Java EE Web Profile with enterprise features for clustering, caching, failover and support for REST and basic web services.

  • Web Server
    : a complete solution for simple Java applications, combining enterprise capabilities with marketing leading open source technologies like Apache Tomcat and Apache Web Server to provide a single solution for large scale websites and servlet-based, web-facing applications.

  • Portal Platform
    : a platform designed to build and deploy portals for personalized user interaction, integrating a portal framework, CMS workflow functionality and the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform.

  • SOA Platform
    : integrates applications, a rules engine, workflow capabilities and the JBoss Enterprise Application Platform to automate business processes in a service-oriented architecture.

  • BRMS
    : an open source business rules development, management and repository system, allowing businesses to reduce development time for updating applications, SOA deployments and business processes with the latest business rules and policies.
  • Data Services Platform: bridges the gap between diverse existing enterprise data sources and the new forms of data required by new projects, applications, and architectures.

JBoss Enterprise Middleware

Besides the platforms, JBoss also offers several tools and frameworks on the development side, and JBoss Operations Network on the management and monitoring side. All JBoss software, free or with a subscription — is offered under the LGPL 2.x license or Apache Software License, and is available in both source and object forms.

Business Process Management

A particularly interesting JBoss product (part of JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform) is jBPM, a user friendly web based solution for Business Process Management, which enables companies to optimize their processes. BPM is about coordinating people, applications and services using embedded workflows and graphical process definitions. Tasks can be distributed automatically and handled more quickly. It offers extensive reports and real-time status overviews, making it possible to adjust processes immediately if needed. In turn, this will increase both company performance and customer satisfaction.

One of the main advantages is flexibility. New policies, organizational changes and market movements can all be easily reflected in process definition modifications, which can subsequently be distributed across the entire enterprise at the press of a button. It is extensible, integratable, pluggable and customizable at every level, the scalability prevents ‘growing pains’, and the open source structure avoids vendor lock-in and ensures state-of-the-art software which has proven its reliability in the field.

Serious savings

Yearly cost savings for open source can be spectacular compared with commercial products. One of our clients ran IBM WebSphere, paying a yearly license fee of EUR 800,000 for 200 sockets. After migration to JBoss, which also included a hardware consolidation, they could easily manage with 32 sockets, paying less then EUR 32,000. That’s 84% less sockets at a 75% lower cost per socket, resulting in a license fee reduction of 96%.

ROI within a year

In times like these, the return on ICT project investments needs to be less than a year. That is almost impossible with commercial products because of the high purchase costs and software license fees, but it can easily be done with an open source product like JBoss, for which you pay only a support subscription. Even that could be temporary, as your own ICT specialists should be able to master the software very quickly. And if necessary, local Qualogy Suriname consultants are readily available to assist you.

Magic Quadrant Leader

Out of some 25 EAS vendors, Gartner selected only four to be ‘leaders’ (JBoss, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle), as opposed to visionaries, challengers and niche players. Leaders “deliver on their vision and support their customers through periods of stability, as well as periods of change or economic hardships”. There are several reasons for Gartner’s high praise:

  • clear leadership in the open source EAS market, with the largest installed base and largest partner following
  • excellent technical reputation of the core technology
  • a wide portfolio of open source offerings, positioned to compete with application infrastructure portfolios of the leading closed source vendors

Gartner Magic Quadrant Enterprise Application Servers 2009

Gartner is not the only one to acknowledge the JBoss achievements. The editors and reviewers of InfoWorld decorated the product in four consecutive years (2006-2009) as Best Open Source Software in their annual BOSSIE Awards.


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