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What are the special features of iPlanet Application Server

Shashi Kanta
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Joined: May 08, 2002
Posts: 89
Hi there,
Could somebody tell what are the unique features of this server? What are the advantages of using it over the popular application servers like IBM WebSphere, BEA's WebLogic, Borland Enterprise Server... etc.?
Does it support redployment of the already deployed applications without packaging again, i.e. can we modify the .war, .ear files or the application files like the servlets, JSPs or EJBs after the application has been deployed? Are the changes reflected in the deployed application?
Shashi
[ September 04, 2002: Message edited by: Shashi Kanta ]
David Ogren
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Joined: Jul 19, 2002
Posts: 66
Could somebody tell what are the unique features of this server? What are the advantages of using it over the popular application servers like IBM WebSphere, BEA's WebLogic, Borland Enterprise Server...
Firstly, I don't know much about Borland Enterprise Server. (That's the first time that I've ever heard Borland Enterprise Server called popular. :-) )
Secondly, I'll answer from the point of view of S1AS 7.0. Atlhough there might be some reasons why I would recommend 6.x, I think that 7.0 will be the release that most people are interested in.
That said, some of the big "bullet point" reasons for using S1AS would be:
1. Performance. Especially on web path and for web services.
2. Price. Free for the base platform. This generally means development, testing, and for production where you don't need to do any remote monitoring or clustering. And even if you upgrade to the Standard Edition (adding additional management functionality) or the Enterprise Edition (adding clustering), you are looking at a price point about half of the competition.
3. Standards support. S1AS brings Sun's appserver back to the forefront of standards support. J2EE 1.3, JDK 1.4.x, and all of the technologies that that implies. As far as I know, S1AS is the first appserver shipping with JDK 1.4.x. And, personally, I love the new JDK features with 1.4.
4. It's from Sun. This has lots of little side benefits. It means that its part of the Solaris install. It means that the application server developers are tightly integrated with the JDK developers. It means that you have a single support desk. It means SVR4 packaging. It probably means that you will be able to buy boxes preconfigured as S1AS application servers. Lots of little things.
There's lots of other cool things that don't necessarily apply to everyone. For example, someone else mentioned Process Manager, a workflow product that runs on S1AS. (Which is amazingly cool.) The JMS implementation in S1AS is also top notch. Others might be interested in the application framework (S1AF) that ships with S1AS. (Also amazingly cool.)
In answer to your direct question about whether you can "redeploy existing applications without packaging again?, i.e. can we modify the WAR EAR or application files after the application has been deployed?", the answer is yes you can. There is a lot of debate about whether this is a good practice. If you go out to your production application server and update a single .class file or servlet, then you raise a whole managementability spectre about tracking exactly what versions of code are deployed where. The whole point of EARs/WARs was to create single repeatable deployment mechanism.
During development the ability to drop update files without redeploying is pretty useful. I even built an Ant target that does exactly that. But in production servers I personally believe that it creates more problems than it solves.


David F. Ogren
Author of iAS : Designing and Building J2EE Solutions
raj sekhar
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Joined: Oct 16, 2001
Posts: 117
David
You mentioned about Process Manger and JMS implementation on S1AS. Though you are not the right one to speak on Process Manager ,I'd like to know little more about it and if it comes bundled together with S1AS7.0 license. About JMS, does it mean that there is an inbuild JMS server(like Fiorano and other products) too or just support to JMS ?
Thanks
Raj
David Ogren
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Joined: Jul 19, 2002
Posts: 66
Actually I have a good bit of experience with Process Manager. I don't cover it in the book, but go ahead and ask away with iPM questions.
Process Manager is bundled with the Enterprise Pro versions of iAS 6.x. It will eventually be ported to run on S1AS 7.x, but there is no release date as of yet. Process Manager some proprietary features in 6.x that went away in 7.x, so there is a reasonable amount of porting to be done.
Yes, there is a JMS provider built-in to S1AS 7.x. Sun ONE message queue to be specific. You can also buy (or evaluate the JMS product) seperately. Its one of the major Java MQ products out there, so you've probably heard of it. (Of course it keeps changing names, like all of our products ;-). It used to be iPlanet Message Queue, and before that Java Message Queue.)
iMQ is not included with the iAS 6.x licence, but it has been tested and certified for use with iAS 6.x.
 
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