IBM Rolls Out WebSphere and Web Enablement for i V7.0
September 15, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Big Blue last week put a new version of its WebSphere Application Server middleware, V7.0 to be specific, into the field for its various server platforms and for those of several of its competitors. In addition to the updated WebSphere middleware, which has a cornucopia of Java enhancements and all the Web 2.0 buzzwords you can stomach, IBM announced its companion set of freebie extensions for WebSphere, called Web Enablement for i, at the V7.0 level as well.
With WebSphere Application Server V7.0, IBM is delivering full support for the Java EE 5 standard and has certified that it has met that standard, too. WAS V6.1 had support for Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0 and some Web services features packs, which were stepping stones to full Java EE 5 support. Support for Java SE V6, which is also woven into the WAS V7.0, allows programmers to create applications that invoke the Java compiler from inside a Java Virtual Machine as well as to use scripts that can access application programming interfaces within the JVM. IBM is also extending support for the OASIS family of Web services standards, which helps make Web application interoperable across programming languages and platforms, regardless of operating system or middleware. One neat feature in the new Enterprise JavaBeans 3.0 support is the ability to test the business logic in a set of Java applications within a single JVM, rather than having to set up and use a whole application server.
It goes without saying that the new WebSphere Application Server V7.0 meshes with IBM’s Rational Application Developer toolkit, which has replaced WebSphere Application Studio Client on the programmer desktop–at least in theory if not always in practice. There are still plenty of people who are using WDSc and earlier generations of WAS middleware.
WAS V7.0 comes in the plain WAS edition and in a WAS Express edition. The WAS Express edition is only available on machines that have 240 or less Processor Value Units (PVUs) on IBM’s performance-based software pricing scheme. (You can find out all about PVUs at this link, but 240 PVUs is basically three Power6 cores on entry Power System i blade–Power 520 boxes or JS12 and JS22 blades–or two cores on bigger Power Systems machines; 240 PVUs is also a rating that two z10 mainframe engines would have.) The regular WAS V7.0 is priced per physical server, and can run on one or all of the cores in the box, or anywhere in between, for the same price. (Like other vendors, IBM is having a tough time pricing software based on cores, although it has an easier time doing so for operating systems on mainframes and Power Systems boxes.) There is also a WAS V7.0 for Developers edition, which has all of the features of the full WAS V7.0, but sports a lower price and is only licensed for a single user on a single machine. IBM has also packaged up a WAS V7.0 Network Deployment edition, which allows for WAS instances to be brought up and taken down around the network as conditions dictate as well as for clustering of WAS instances for high availability.
For i5/OS and i shops, IBM has another set of goodies specifically for them. Since late 2006, when IBM figured out that OS/400 and i5/OS shops were annoyed that it was so difficult to get their RPG applications out there on the Web, IBM has been giving away a stack of add-ons for WebSphere middleware on the i platform with the generic name of Web Enablement for i5/OS (originally product number 5722-WE2). In October 2007, IBM announced a Web Services and SOA for i5/OS package announced that took a similar approach to providing a base set of integrated Web Services and SOA functionality for i5/OS applications. (That program was part of i5/OS, product number 5722-SS1 and Option 3 of the operating system) and it specifically allowed for RPG programs to be exposed as Web services and therefore allow them to be part of a services oriented architecture cluster of gobbledygook.
This time around, IBM is packaging up WAS V7.0 Express with a set of tools called Web Enablement for i, and of course IBM is talking up the SOA angle on these tools. The toolset is still known as 5722-WE2 in the IBM catalog, and it is available for i5/OS V5R4 and i 6.1. I read the announcement twice and it is entirely unclear what new features are in the Web Enablement stack, excepting support for WAS V7.0 Express, which itself has lots of new features and functions.
Anyway, the new Web Enablement for i is available on October 24. So I have some time to figure it out and tell you. WebSphere Application Server V7.0 is available for electronic download on September 26, and is being distributed on media starting October 17.