IBM extends WebSphere application server capabilities

Following through on its promises earlier this year to extend the core capabilities of its WebSphere Application Server, IBM Corp. announced this month three new WebSphere software products to help in creating and integrating infrastructure-level applications.

Separately, the company announced it would support the just-released Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), Version 1.3 as part of its upcoming WebSphere Technology for Developers release, expected by year’s end.

“Of all the J2EE releases, we think Version 1.3 lets developers create more adaptable applications because it better facilitates asynchronous behaviors and messaging. We are very much in favor of the integration of messaging into the J2EE environment,” said Scott Hebner, director of marketing for IBM’s WebSphere software group in Somers, N.Y.

The new WebSphere programs, which exploit the latest capabilities in Version 4 of WebSphere, released this past June, help users better manage an e-business by analyzing the browsing behavior of Web site visitors and providing better performance through improved caching and load balancing, according to the company.

“We think these extensions to WebSphere can effectively provide the ability to create an intelligent hub for integration and for adapting applications,” Hebner said.

The new Enterprise Edition of WebSphere Application Server, Version 4, is a set of “snap-in” modules for the base server. The modules allow users to add to their existing infrastructure at their own pace as well as integrate ActiveX, C++, Corba, and non-Java applications.

The technology allows complementary transactions that support J2EE and popular Web services standards to be better coordinated in order to save time. In one example cited by IBM officials, if a travel agent wants to book a train ticket, request a rental car, and reserve a hotel room for a single customer, all these transactions can be carried out simultaneously instead of one after another.

The second new offering, WebSphere Edge Server, is also built around Version 4 of WebSphere Application Server. This product includes new capabilities that allow load balancing among different Web servers, which is intended to improve availability and scalability of a Web site’s performance.

The third new product, the WebSphere Site Analyzer, is designed to help IT administrators monitor and dissect the behavior of their J2EE-based application servers to see where and how they can be optimized for better performance.

The WebSphere Site Analyzer will be available on September 28, while WebSphere Edge Server and the Enterprise Edition of WebSphere Application Server, Version 4 are available immediately.