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Introducing Websphere Application Server V7 (or WAS 7 with RAD 7.5)

Today I took part at a workshop/introduction of Websphere Application Server V7 in Stuttgart, held by 2 very nice guys from Nice, France. As a convinced glassfish user I was very curious about the first IBM Product, which is completely JavaEE compatible. Version 6.1 with fix packs for EJB or JAX-WS had still some missing things, such as the administration of web services. As I have been working with Websphere in some projects I had lots of critical questions, like what about the bad server start up time or the installation size? But maybe it has become better and they did some improvements since WAS6.1? Let's see what they told us.

I have learned that Websphere is not just an Application Server. It's an ESB, a ProcessServer, an XD, a Portal, a Business Modeler... Great news, but what about the licenses? Is it all included :)

The installation of WAS 7 takes about 200-300 Megabyte of your hard disk and a installation time of about 10 Minutes, maybe a bit faster, depending on your machine. If you want to create a profile which takes about 20 MB, you need some additional time for its creation. At lunch i asked how it can take up to 10 Minutes for 200 MB???? The speaker told me he has been asking this question since 10 years.. It's unbelievable.. WAS7 is installable on Windows and Linux/Unix. But let's be honest. Windows, RedHat and AIX.

With the same license for WAS7 you get a RAD Assembly and Deploy version, which provides basic support for creating JavaEE applications, deployment and testing. You have to pay some extra money if you want to have the RAD for Websphere (Rational Application Developer) where you get extra features like Adapters, Portlets, Crystal Reports, RUP, ReqPro, etc.

Then they gave an overview over the new features of JavaEE 5. It was mainly about the changes/improvements between EJB2.1 and EJB3 and JPA. They agreed that the release of WAS7 is pretty late, as we are almost about the new release of JavaEE 6 this year.

The next topic was the first demo. It was about the creation of Jax-WS webservices.
I looked at the time, as I remembered having had some problems with creating webservices with WAS6.x and RAD7. He started at 10.22 am, created a HelloService POJO, and created a webservices from this pojo with the help of the IDE. Within this menue u can can choose to create a client as well, deploy everything and call the test page. At 10.26 he was done. This was pretty good, as he did some explanation in between. He could have been faster ;) After this he attached a policy set through the admin console, added WS-ReliableMessaging, assigned a binding for it and finally exported it (you could choose between WSDL or WS MetadataExchange). After this, the client was configured, using generated policy. This was a very nice demo.

After the demo, they showed us the huge configuration possibilities Websphere provides, like BLAs (I like this expression, Business Level Applications), Filtering Options, Security Settings, Messaging Improvements and Clustering Settings. After lunch they presented the second demo. Also a very nice one. They created a clustered environment with two laptops and two nodes. Then we finally had time on our own to do some labs, which were prepared for us. I took the time for developing some servlets, jsf pages and ejbs, which weren't part of the lab. More about my experiences in the next post.

So, what about my summary?
I was really impressed by the skill of the 2 speakers. I wasn't sure whether it would be a pure marketing event or not? And it was a very technical event, which I really liked. I see that Websphere has its strength in it's admin console, where you can configure like almost everything. They have a strong focus on security and clustering issues and they don't care much about start up time or deployment time. If everything is configured well and you have a well clustered environment, you will have a good running environment in the end. But I am not sure if they focused on how to get there. Server start up time or redeployments is what a developer does every day, and there you have other applications where you can develop much faster. In my opinion, a developer will definitely be happier with Netbeans and glassfish.


  1. Hi,

    Thanks for your impressions.
    I am most of time against choosing WS.
    Only 200Mb for Web's fear sounds very little.

    I agree with you about GlassFish, V3 is so helpful at dev time.
    I'd rather choose GF for prod too so that I can manage to get a subscription.
    This would help Oracle to keep this splendid project alive (and fully-staffed).

    Note that there is an eclipse plugin too.

  2. Hey Daniel,

    thx alot! Very interesting!

    So, what are in your opinion the key benefits of WS AS, and what could be reasons to choose IBM - aside of "nobody gets fired bying ibm"?