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New Web And Application Server Family, by Jim Milbery

iPlanet recently announced some updates to their family of Web and application server products that help consolidate the overall product line. The new product positioning won't surprise iPlanet enthusiasts as it positions iPlanet as a superior solution for a broader range of the application server marketplace. The core of these announcements is a new release of the Web server software and new packaging for the application server lineup:

  • iPlanet Web Server, Enterprise Edition 6.0
  • iPlanet Application Server, Standard Edition 6.0
  • iPlanet Application Server, Enterprise Edition 6.0
  • iPlanet Application Server, Enterprise Pro Edition 6.0
Although iPlanet is separate to some degree from Sun Microsystems, the two companies are very closely aligned. The new product lineup reflects this partnership in several ways. First, the new product line is an essential component of the Sun Open Net Environment (ONE), which is Sun's initiative in the Web Services arena. The product suite has always shared a common infrastructure, and the new product family has been designed to improve on this integration. The updated product suite is targeted toward a diverse audience:
  • Service providers and enterprises looking to create dynamic content
  • Customers looking for an entry-level Java 2, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) platform
  • Core J2EE customers who want to leverage the full power of the J2EE platform
  • Customers needing to tie legacy applications together to automate a business process
The iPlanet Web Server has long had a strong presence in the corporate marketplace. Although the Apache HTTP Server rates the most Internet hits according to Netcraft, the iPlanet Web Server has a much stronger following within the enterprise market. iPlanet's new packaging reflects this enthusiasm within the corporate environment and provides their customers with an integrated stack of products that follow a simplified growth path. The iPlanet Web Server Enterprise Edition 6.0 supports both servlets and JavaServer Pages, allowing customers to deliver dynamic Web content alongside existing static HTML pages using a single server. When it comes time to add support for advanced EJB capabilities, you can easily add the iPlanet Application Server to the mix.

The iPlanet Application Server comes in three versions, so you only need to pay for the specific features that your organization requires. Advanced servlet/JSP applications can be built with the Standard Edition, which includes native support for Oracle, IBM DB2, Sybase, and Informix. The Enterprise Edition adds support for EJB deployment (including EJB failover capabilities), providing developers with the full power of the J2EE platform.

Should you need to add process management and application-to-application integration to the mix, iPlanet offers the Enterprise Pro Edition. The upgrade path between the various versions is almost transparent, so it's a simple matter to start small and add to your applications as needed. The Forte for Java development environment works with all three editions of the Application Server lineup - so your developers can work with all three versions using a single IDE.

In fact, iPlanet has launched an aggressive campaign to woo developers to the iPlanet platform. In the past, developers had to join their developer program and pay a $995 registration fee to gain access to the application server product line. However, you can now download trial versions of the Enterprise Edition from the iPlanet Web site free of charge.

Should you wish to develop an application on the iPlanet Server, iPlanet has put together an aggressive developer package in the form of the iPlanet Developer Pack. The iPlanet Developer Pack, Enterprise Edition 6.0, improves developer productivity by combining a development license of the iPlanet Application Server, Forte for Java Internet Edition 2.0 trial software, and WebGain Studio 4.1 trial software - all for $1,295 per developer. The developer pack includes access to over 120 prebuilt EJB components from a variety of iPlanet partners, including ComponentSource, Compoze Software, Diamelle Technologies, Evergreen Internet, Flashline, and Omix.

Many of the organizations that I talk with are developing portal strategies for both internal and external access. iPlanet now offers the iPlanet Portal Server, which is built on the iPlanet Application Server platform. This Portal Server addresses all the critical portal requirements, including single sign-on, personalization, application integration, and knowledge management. Most organizations start their portal efforts with simple e-mail and calendar access and this is where iPlanet really shines, with its integration with both the Messaging and the Calendar Server.

iPlanet's product suites are easy to install and maintain, but Sun and iPlanet have also announced a set of preconfigured hardware/software packages to make the entire process even easier. Each solution features the iPlanet Web Server, the J2EE-certified iPlanet Application Server, and the Solaris Operating Environment 8.0 combined with various configurations of Sun server hardware built around the 64-bit SPARC microprocessor architecture. These recent announcements and product upgrades make a compelling story and have "upped the ante" in the hotly contested Java application server market.

Author Bio
Jim Milbery is a software consultant based in Easton, Pennsylvania, with Kuromaku partners LLC. He has over 17 years of experience in application development and relational databases. He is the applications editor of Wireless Business & Technology, the product review editor of Java Developer's Journal, and the author of Making The Technical Sale, Jim can be reached via the company Web site at http://www.kuromaku.com.
[email protected]

iPlanet E-Commerce Solutions
World Headquarters
901 San Antonio Road
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Phone: 650 960-1300
Web: www.iPlanet.com
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