I often get question from my clients on the footprint and start/stop speed of the WebSphere Application Server (WAS). If you ever installed WAS, you know that the download size is around 1.5 GB, takes at least 30 minutes to install and once you have it configured and start doing development and unit test it takes no less than 30 seconds to start the JVM. Depending on the size of your JEE application it may take a lot longer than that. This is no different from Oracle WebLogic. Naturally, developers are looking for ways to reduce the download times, reduce HDD footprint and perhaps most important reduce the start/stop times for their unit test environments. This stuff also matters a lot for all of the other environments, including all the different kinds of pre-production and production.
How does IBM solve this problem with WAS? One one hand, we have been optimizing the runtime, taking advantage of shared classes between JVMs, optimizing for developer mode, increasing startup speed and shrinking memory footprint each version starting from WAS v6 up to the latest WAS v8.5. However those are gradual improvements, few percent here, few percent there. For many developers that was not good enough. Especially when you compare to Tomcat or Jetty web containers. Putting aside all the differences between WAS and Tomcat (such as Tomcat lack of support for EJB, JMS, transactions, manageability, security, etc.) – what do we get by comparing WAS and Tomcat purely from the footprint perspective? Kind of like comparing road bike to a car – not exactly fair, but in some case a valid comparison. Well, we will see that Tomcat and Jetty are much smaller in footprint and start/stop much faster than WAS.
Enter WebSphere Liberty Profile! This profile that comes with all versions of WAS 8.5 (Express, Base and ND) is very similar in size and start/stop times to Tomcat, but delivers few other perks that Tomcat does not. Intriguing? Read this whitepaper to get the full scoop.
QUOTE from the paper:
“What is Liberty?
The Liberty profile is a recently-developed dynamic profile for WebSphere Application Server v8.5. The profile enables rapid development and deployment of web applications in a simpler and lightweight manner. The Liberty profile provides fidelity to the WebSphere Application Server full profile, enabling applications to be developed and tested against the WebSphere Application Server v8.5 – Liberty profile and enabling applications to be deployed in production against the full profile of WebSphere Application Server (including WebSphere Application Server 8.0) without any runtime behavioral differences. You can also deploy applications to a WebSphere Application Server v8.5 – Liberty profile server for production, with performance that is similar to that of the full-profile WebSphere Application Server. The Liberty architecture is inherently composable; users can configure at a fine-grained level the components that are needed by their applications, so the server is very fast to start and the footprint remains minimal.”
You can download the white paper here.