TECH BRIEF

Red Hat re-engineers JBoss app server

New architecture allows easier use of frameworks, component models

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hoping to address a wider variety of workloads, Red Hat will start selling its JBoss application server into a component-based model, the company announced today.

Java Enterprise Edition (JEE) is a monolithic architecture and, because of its success, a bewildering array of features have been added over the past few years, said Craig Muzilla, vice president of middleware at Red Hat. The architecture supports a large number of run-time frameworks such as Spring or Hibernate, and component models such as the Open Standards Gateway Initiative (OSGI) and Java Management Extensions (JMX).

As a resultant, JEE is heavyweight and can be cumbersome to Java developers (and at least a few of which have fled to lighter alternative languages, such as Groovy or Scala). A new lightweight Java-based application may run well on the basic Tomcat application server. However, as it is put into production, it will require additional functionality, such as security checks and messaging. These are usually added on in an ad hoc fashion, which the application unwieldy and difficult to maintain, Muzilla said.

With this in mind, Red Hat engineers reconfigured the company's own JEE application server, JBoss, so it can easy incorporate new and future frameworks, components models and other extensions or adjunct technologies to JEE. The application server now features a microcontainer, which allows new frameworks and component models to be easily swapped in and out and interoperate with one another. The microcontainer sits on top of the Java Virtual Machine, Muzilla explained.

The new version of JBoss will be available via by Red Hat's subscription model by the second half of this year; some components already are available. Red Hat will package this new JBoss offering as a part of a number of predefined configurations, including:

  • JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, which will be configured for running for heavy-duty enterprise transactions.
  • JBoss Enterprise Web Platform, which will run mid-sized rich Java workloads, and offer clustering, caching and simple web services.
  • JBoss Enterprise Web Server, which will run light-Java-based applications.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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