Prior to Sun Microsystems being acquired by Oracle, the GlassFish open source Java middleware server was the company's primary reference architecture for JavaEE. While some had speculated that GlassFish's future was questionable under Oracle's direction, that's not how things have actually turned out.
Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL)has continued to innovate and advance GlassFish, both as an open source project as well as a commercial offering. The most recent update is GlassFish 3.1 Server and Open Source Editions, representing the first major updates to the platform since the 3.0 series debuted.
Anil Gaur, vice president, Software Development, at Oracle told InternetNews.com that the Oracle GlassFish Server is Oracle's commercial distribution of GlassFish Server Open Source Edition. In addition to support and patches, Oracle GlassFish Server adds GlassFish Server Control for improved performance and manageability.
On the high availability side, Gaur noted that GlassFish Server 3.1 leverages the clustering technology that is available in GlassFish Server 2.1.1.
"However, incremental improvements have been made to simplify remote administration, and it includes smarter session failover (faster, less overhead), and overall performance improvement of highly-available applications," Guar said.
Another improved area is with the newly renamed GlassFish Server Control feature. Gaur noted that GlassFish Server Control is a renaming of Sun GlassFish Enterprise Manager that was available in GlassFish Server 2.1.1. It brings forward some features and adds some new ones.
"GlassFish Server Control includes Active Cache for GlassFish, which optionally replaces the built-in in-memory HTTP session replication with Coherence*Web," Gaur said. "This offers a richer set of features and more flexible production deployments."
GlassFish isn't the only Java middleware offering that Oracle has. The company has the WebLogic suite as well.
"Both WebLogic and GlassFish are strategic product offerings from Oracle, and they both support the Java EE standard," Gaur said.
Gaur noted that there are some differentiating features between the two products. For example, Oracle WebLogic Server is optimized to reduce the total cost of ownership of large enterprise deployments, and it is integrated and optimized for Oracle Database, Fusion Middleware and Fusion Applications.
On the other hand, Oracle GlassFish Server is an industry leading open source application server suitable for small to medium size deployments. He added that Oracle GlassFish Server is the first to market with the latest Java EE standards and as such GlassFish attracts early adopters requiring an agile and lightweight development and deployment environment.
"What is important to note is that some organizations are running both WebLogic Server and GlassFish Server," Gaur said. "We are working hard to make it as seamless as possible for applications to move between the two.
Gaur noted that future versions of WebLogic Server plan to utilize the Oracle GlassFish Server HK2 microkernel, as discussed at Oracle Open World 2010.
"The beauty of having both of these allows faster innovation in both products with shared functionality and offers customers choice from a reliable source," Gaur said.