GlassFish roadmap published by Oracle earlier this week officially ends commercial GlassFish product: “Oracle will no longer release future major releases of Oracle GlassFish Server with commercial support – specifically Oracle GlassFish Server 4.x with commercial Java EE 7 support will not be released… Commercial Java EE 7 support will be provided from WebLogic Server…” For the last few years it was quite obvious that Oracle has not put much investment into GlassFish marketing, support and services. Customers complained about lack of skilled support specialists and big price increases for GlassFish support. Evidently those price increases were not enough to justify the support offering for GlassFish.
What are customers to do now? To quote Oracle blog: “Oracle recommends that existing commercial Oracle GlassFish Server customers begin planning to move to Oracle WebLogic Server, which is a natural technical and license migration path forward”. It may be “natural” for Oracle, but not for all GlassFish users. Move to WebLogic potentially brings significant price increase in license and support as well as migration effort. If you are running GlassFish and need support, this is perfect time to re-evaluate your choice of application server. There are several options available, including IBM WebSphere Liberty Core or WebSphere Full Profile.
I think WebSphere Liberty Core would be a more “natural” path (I work for IBM after all) to take for those who are using GlassFish today and need their server to be strategic for the vendor and supported in a long term. There are several reasons why I think Liberty Core is a better fit for GlassFish customers:
- IBM offers competitive replacement program and in most cases you can switch from other software to IBM branded software for about the cost of your current support. In other words your expenditure on software will stay at roughly the same level (or less) as it is with competitive vendor product you are replacing. You do not need to pay for *full* license of WebSphere if you are replacing your supported GlassFish environment. If you want to move from WebLogic or JBoss to WebSphere you can take advantage of this program as well. The terms of this competitive replacement are very attractive.
- IBM WebSphere Liberty Core is the fraction of the cost of Oracle WebLogic. And, unlike WebLogic Standard, Liberty Core can be clustered for HTTPSession failover and HTTP WLM for unlimited number of JVMs (see my earlier article on this topic). Those who used GlassFish for large mission critical applications (and these are far and few between), can move to WebSphere Application Base or Network Deployment. These cost a bit more than Liberty Core, but significantly less than WebLogic and provide much better price performance.
- Those who move to Liberty Profile will gain even smaller server footprint compared to GlassFish: three times faster server start/stop times (on average about 1.7 sec vs. 6.3 sec), three times lower disk footprint (65 MB vs 211 MB) and lower RAM usage (143 MB vs. 423 MB). Liberty is also more dynamic server that requires fewer restarts, and has simpler configuration (1 file vs. 9). For instance, you can change the port numbers, add or remove components from Liberty without restarting the JVM. This is something that none other server on the market provides today.
- Liberty is more than just Java EE 6 Web Profile – IBM provides extended APIs for Liberty as part of WAS Express, Base or Network Deployment (you can read details on the programming model in this post).
- Finally IBM offers free migration assessment services, free migration plugin for Eclipse and free migration redbook – all of these can ease the move. You can read more about IBM migration offerings in this post.
In summary, those who are using supported version of GlassFish need to move to a different platform and I think WebSphere is a solid choice for such replacement.