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J2EE Journal: Article

WebSphere Goes Autonomic

WebSphere Goes Autonomic

IBM just announced WebSphere Application Server (WAS) version 6, which IBM says can save companies as much as $110,000 per minute in lost revenue and productivity. This capability is a major advance for enterprise-class computing,

WebSphere version 6 is designed to automatically detect problems - and automatically save and process Web-based business transactions that until recently could take hours or days to recover under older systems. It is also the first J2EE application server to deliver these capabilities together.

The financial impact of IT system downtime per hour varies by industry, but losses can quickly exceed millions of dollars per hour. According to IBM, independent studies cite the cost averages of $6.5 million per hour in the retail brokerage industry, $2.6 million in credit card authorizations, $90,000 in airline reservation centers, $27,000 in manufacturing, and $17,000 in banking.

IBM has put WAS v6 at the forefront of its autonomic strategy. This release enables a self-managed IT infrastructure with hardware and software that can configure, heal, optimize and protect itself. By taking care of many of the increasingly complex management requirements of enterprise-class systems, autonomic computing allows companies to focus their resources on business matters.

After detecting an outage, IBM WAS v6 automatically redirects data to a different designated "failover" server. That server can be within the same data center, or, in a more serious power failure or disaster, WAS can move the information via the Internet to a completely different location.

WebSphere developers will be delighted with an array of new wizards and a drag-and-drop environment that automates the most common and tedious steps of application development and deployment. By eliminating hand coding, developers can significantly reduce the number of programming steps previously needed to build an application.

Better scaling so more concurrent users can access an application will reduce administrative and licensing costs and provide better flexibility.

Web services standards are more automated and offer true cross-platform computing. WS-Security is supported, as are WS-Transactions and WS-I Basic Profile 1.1. Needless to say, this standards-based approach can respond quickly and effectively to business changes as part of a service-oriented architecture (SOA) strategy.

Leveraging SOA gives you the ability to interconnect business functions, processes, and services that can be mixed and matched on the fly using reusable, industry-standard software components rather manually-coded ones.

A key architectural component of an SOA is an enterprise service bus (ESB), which provides the connection infrastructure for business transactions to flow from application to application. WAS v6 dramatically simplifies the task of connecting WebSphere applications to an ESB. It features new messaging capability that performs faster than previous versions and integrates seamlessly with the existing IT infrastructure.

There is now greater consistency in the WAS family from top to bottom, including in the Express version. Features include support for J2EE 1.4 across the family, which makes it easier to develop and deploy applications using industry-standard tools.

IBM also announced that WebSphere Extended Deployment Version 5.1 - designed to automatically optimize the performance of companies' software and hardware, on demand, particularly during unexpected spikes in usage or changing market conditions - should be generally available on Oct. 22, 2004.

New versions of WebSphere Studio Site Developer and WebSphere Studio Application Developer are in the pipeline, rebranded as IBM Rational Web Developer for WebSphere Software and Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software.

More Stories By Jacques Martin

Jack Martin, editor-in-chief of WebSphere Journal, is cofounder and CEO of Simplex Knowledge Company (publisher of Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Journal, an Internet software boutique specializing in WebSphere development. Simplex developed the first remote video transmission system designed specifically for childcare centers, which received worldwide media attention, and the world's first diagnostic quality ultrasound broadcast system. Jack is co-author of Understanding WebSphere, from Prentice Hall.

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