Red Hat looks to open up JBoss middleware

The JBoss Open Choice application platform strategy includes the JBoss server reconfigured for microcontainer architecture, giving users the choice to add in other technologies

Flying the banner of multi-technology accommodation in its Java middleware stack, Red Hat is introducing on Monday its JBoss Open Choice application platform strategy.

The effort features the JBoss open source Java application server reconfigured for a microcontainer architecture. JBoss Open Choice is intended as parent company Red Hat's response to the changing landscape of Java in the enterprise. Featured is JBoss Microcontainer, an application platform architecture to isolate enterprise-class platform services from a variety of containers and frameworks.

[ In other Java news today, SpringSource's CEO will tout Roo, a new Java enhancement, at the JavaOne conference. ]

"This is Red Hat's strategy for the future of enterprise Java platforms," said Craig Muzilla, vice president of middleware at Red Hat, in an event held nearby to the Sun CommunityOne conference in San Francisco.

"Our mission is to provide open source alternatives to the closed source proprietary middleware stacks in the marketplace," he said.

JBoss with Open Choice is addressing a situation in which Java Enterprise Edition has become too monolithic to address all use cases, Muzilla said. The marketplace has begun adopting additional technologies, such as Spring, Struts, OSGI, and Ruby, said Muzilla. JBoss's new plan accommodates these.

The new strategy allows Red Hat to "future-proof" customers, said Mark Little, JBoss CTO. The company is moving away from a JMX (Java Management Extensions) microkernel approach to a more flexible plan, according to Little.

"We evolved our microkernel into now what we call our microcontainer. It is not JMX-based. It standardizes a lot more things like lifecycle and management  and deployment," and accommodates foreign deployment models, such as Spring, to run natively within JBoss's own container, Little said.

JBoss is unveiling JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 5.0 as a lynchpin of Open Choice, which features the application server in a microcontainer format. Goals of the endeavor include making it easier to develop and deploy applications, encouraging developer choice while providing a single environment and enabling cost-saving value and flexibility of open source.

As part of the program, Red Hat is offering three workload-based application server runtime variations, including:

  • JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, the current solution for transactional applications and leveraging JBoss Application Server with enterprise features for clustering, caching, messaging, and Web services. Although current customers have been standardizing on Application Platform 4.3, early access is available for Application Platform 5.0.
  • JBoss Enterprise Web Platform, a solution for mid-sized workloads focusing on light and rich Java applications. It includes a slimmed down version of JBoss Enterprise Application Platform.
  • JBoss Enterprise Web Server, an enterprise version of Apache Tomcat and Apache Web Server. It is geared  for light Java workloads.

Developers can choose framework, language, and programming technologies that fit their application requirements, Red Hat said. JBoss Enterprise Middleware customers can use such programming models as Spring, Seam, Google Web Toolkit, and Java Enterprise.

Red Hat will offer enterprise product support for frameworks such as Spring and JBoss Seam. These frameworks are expected to be pre-integrated into JBoss Enterprise Application and Web platforms.

Despite uncertainty over what Oracle might do with specific Sun-developed technologies as it pursues an acquisition of Sun, JBoss is not worried about Java. "We have confidence that Oracle will continue to move Java forward in the marketplace," Muzilla said. "There's no reason not to believe that."

The JBoss strategy gives users of IBM WebSphere and Oracle WebLogic application servers a path "forward," Muzilla said. JBoss's approach makes it easier for those customers to configure only what they need, he said.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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