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Gone Fish’n: Sun’s Web Platform

Sun rolls out their web stack as a complete portfolio of middleware tools. It's like LAMP. With a pricetag.

Amid the comments of my post on Splitting up Sun Microsystems, was the assertion that Sun’s real strength came not from their individual products but from their tight integration between all of the systems you purchase from the company.1 It’s a good point. “One throat to choke” works on a number of levels (pricing, features, support). Sun extended their integration efforts this week with the launch of its GlassFish Portfolio, what the company is calling “the most complete, open source, high-performance Web platform.”

GlassFish is aimed primarily at an enterprise-level Java J2EE2 audience (though the company says it supports PHP and Ruby as well). But if you’re already using a LAMP stack and not locked into proprietary platform, it might not be immediately clear why you should make the switch. Basic pricing starts at $999 per server per year and scales up from there.

The GlassFish portfolio runs on Windows Server, Linux and OpenSolaris, so there’s no need to drink the Solaris Kool-Aid if you’re interested in deploying the platform.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any Java development, but, back in the day, delivering Java applications over the web seemed much… less complex — at one point the firm I was at built banking apps for Citigroup just by tossing Tomcat on some servers and adding in a bit of message queuing.3 I’d be interested to hear what someone who has run (or is running) GlassFish thinks of the platform. Are the barriers to Java on the web really getting this high? And can that be good for Java?

1 Hey, didn’t Sun call tight coupling anti-competitive when Microsoft did it? But I digress…

2 Or is it called JavaEE now? There must be a division at Sun that does nothing but change the names of things.

3 Don’t laugh, this was the enterprise version of the spec. The Tomcat solution came after a very long discussion with the company to convince them that Cold Fusion wasn’t really the best fit for moving currency around.

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