by Allan McNaughton
In today’s highly competitive business environment, the intelligent use
of technology can determine whether a company becomes an industry
leader or just another one of the pack. To become an industry leader,
it is crucial to select a technology platform that gives your
organization a competitive edge by delivering the right services to the
right customers at the right price.
In the past it was standard practice to use a diverse array of
proprietary products, however recently many companies have realized the
price of doing so. Cost control efforts have led to the widespread
adoption of standards-based technologies, with server-side Java* and
Intel architecture-based processors leading the way. The demand for
Java development and deployment solutions has heralded the arrival of
many competing products.
Against this confusing backdrop, the standards-based IBM WebSphere
Application Server running on open architecture Intel® Xeon®
processor-based servers offers customers a competitive advantage.
The Right Solutions
No matter what demands your organization places on server-side Java
technology, there is a member of the WebSphere Application Server
product family to fit your needs. Small projects can benefit from using
WebSphere Application Server Express. The Express product is intended
for departmental type applications that employ popular technologies
such as Servlets, Java Server Pages (JSPs) and Web services.
Projects that need the full capabilities of Java 2 Enterprise Edition*
(J2EE) should consider WebSphere Application Server. As the foundation
of the WebSphere platform and the core J2EE and Web services
configuration, IBM WebSphere Application Server is optimized for ease
of administration in a scalable, single-server deployment environment.
This configuration is recommended for organizations that need to build
and deploy message-oriented, standalone, departmental applications and
Web services, but don’t require failure bypass or workload distribution.
WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment is the next level in
application serving with automatic distribution of workload across
multiple servers through sophisticated load balancing and clustering
capabilities, including failover capability, content-based routing to
deliver more effective session management and enhanced, edge-based
caching capabilities. This edition includes the Tivoli Performance
Viewer* which streamlines the optimization of complex environments.
Due to WebSphere’s consistent programming model, developers will find
familiarity as any one edition of WebSphere Application Server
translates into working knowledge of the other editions. They will also
appreciate WebSphere’s focus on maximizing a developer’s effectiveness
with the WebSphere Studio family of integrated development environments.
Users of WebSphere Application Server Express will find WebSphere
Studio Site Developer is designed for their needs. Site Developer makes
it easy to collaboratively create, assemble, publish, deploy, and
maintain dynamic Web applications. Developers can build and test
business logic, and enhance presentation artifacts with integrated Web
creation tools. Site Developer supports server-side applications that
use technologies such as Servlets, Java Server Pages (JSPs), Web
services and Struts. It also simplifies the task of creating visually
rich web interfaces with support for Java Servers Faces (JSF) and Web
Data Objects (WDO).
J2EE developers will want to consider WebSphere Studio Application
Developer, which includes the necessary tools to streamline the
creation of complex distributed enterprise applications. Application
Developer includes all the features of Site Developer, plus full
support for EJB 2.0 and deployment support for Web archive (WAR) files
and enterprise archive (EAR) files. It also contains an EJB test client
and a unit test environment for J2EE. Applications run faster due to
its built-in profiling and logging tools that help detect performance
problems early in development.
Many developers find that after the challenge of coding an application
they are left with the arduous task of debugging it. WebSphere Studio
streamlines this process with sophisticated problem solving tools. In
addition to providing the typical debugger features (breakpoints,
single stepping, data structure inspectors, etc), it allows developers
to replace Java methods on-the-fly. With the hot method replace
capability, code can be changed in running applications without
restarting the server.
Because WebSphere Studio is built on the open framework of Eclipse*,
WebSphere developers can also benefit from the many other tools created
by IBM’s partners. These tools seamlessly plug into WebSphere Studio
workbench and extend its functionality in many ways. WebSphere’s
adherence to Java standards further increases productivity as
developers can take advantage of third-party Java packages, database
drivers, and vendor-specific application adapters.
Using these products applications can be created faster, will contain
more functionality, exhibit lower maintenance costs and deliver a
greater return on investment. Not to mention that this standards-based
approach to software development allows an organization to recruit from
a large pool of trained developers.
The WebSphere product family helps developers
build applications quickly and executes applications efficiently.
WebSphere Application Server makes the most of computing resources; it
is designed for optimal performance on the highly concurrent workloads
of enterprise applications. With WebSphere’s fast response times you
can achieve an excellent return on investment as less hardware is
needed to service the same workload. Fewer low cost Intel Xeon
processor-based servers, with fewer WebSphere CPU licenses means lower
costs across the board—hardware, software, support, and operational.
With its Intel NetBurst® microarchitecture, large integrated caches and Hyper-Threading Technology1,
the Intel Xeon processor is an excellent WebSphere deployment platform.
WebSphere makes the most of this architecture by using sophisticated
static analysis and execution time profiling techniques to generate
code that works seamlessly with the processor’s branch prediction and
speculative load circuitry (loading memory before it is needed).
Furthermore, Java performance is increased with the processor’s large
caches and data prefetching capabilities (to pre-populate the cache).
The large on-chip caches of Intel Xeon processors help applications
achieve better throughput and utilization of memory bandwidth. IBM and
Intel have worked closely together to ensure that WebSphere’s use of
the cache dynamically adjusts based on its size. Tests have shown that
an Intel Xeon processor-based server with 1MB tertiary cache runs
WebSphere up to 37 percent faster than when using a 512KB cache.
WebSphere further optimizes caching behavior by using an intelligent
algorithm for determining the in-memory placement of Java objects--this
optimizes cache utilization as objects that are grouped together by
time of instantiation have better locality of reference compared to
objects that are grouped randomly.
WebSphere performance is further increased with the availability of
Hyper-Threading Technology (HT Technology). J2EE applications are
perfect candidates to benefit from this technology as they are
naturally threaded. HT Technology enables multi-threaded software
applications to execute threads in parallel. This improves performance
as threads can execute concurrently, resulting in better utilization of
processor execution resources as compared to traditional architectures.
Depending on the workload, one may expect HT Technology to improve
application performance as much as 40 percent. WebSphere’s support for
HT Technology is transparent to the developer as its JVM automatically
generates the appropriate enabling code.
Hyper-Threading Technology requires a computer system with an Intel®
Pentium® 4 processor supporting Hyper-Threading Technology and an HT
Technology enabled chipset, BIOS and operating system. Performance will
vary depending on the specific hardware and software you use. See for more information including details on which processors support HT Technology.
Scalable by Design
In today’s competitive market, many
corporations must provide services around the clock to be successful.
As it is crucial that a technology platform be built for high
availability and scalability, organizations have found that deploying
WebSphere on clusters of 2-way, 4-way, 8-way or higher Intel Xeon
processor-based servers. This offers an effective and cost efficient
solution and provides exceptional flexibility as solutions can be
designed to closely match business and workload requirements.
Applications can be scaled up onto larger servers to reduce machine
counts and optimize performance. They can also be scaled out onto
multiple, clustered servers to improve overall capacity and
availability. By balancing these strategies, IT managers can scale
applications appropriately to optimize performance and minimize costs.
Although managing clustered application servers is complex, WebSphere
Application Server Network Deployment streamlines operations with
centralized administration and deployment. It provides a single point
of administrative control for all elements in a cluster. The
application server enhances application scalability with workload
management facilities that optimize processing of client tasks.
Incoming work requests are distributed to the application servers,
EJBs, Servlets, and other objects that can most effectively process the
requests. Workload management provides failover when servers are not
available, improving application availability.
WebSphere Application Server provides integrated performance monitoring
tools which enable developers and operational personnel to have
visibility into their production environment. This helps them tune the
system to achieve the highest levels of performance and scalability.
Each server in a cluster collects performance data in real-time, the
data are then analyzed by the bundled Tivoli Performance Viewer. In
addition to summarizing and presenting performance data in many useful
ways, the Performance Viewer breaks new ground with its advisor mode.
The advisor helps tune systems for better performance as it gives
specific recommendations on how to configure WebSphere based on actual
The Competitive Edge
Given the many challenges that businesses
face, it is comforting to know that navigating the maze of technology
infrastructure solutions need not be one of them. By adopting products
in the WebSphere family and Intel Xeon processor-based servers,
organizations can benefit from using an integrated solution for
developing and deploying n-tier applications. Using these products you
can bring costs under control, boost developer productivity and provide
the right services to your customers at the right time.
About the Author
McNaughton is a patent holding technologist and veteran writer with
more than fifteen years industry experience. He is the president of Technical Insight LLC
a firm specializing in the composition of high-technology white papers.
Mr. McNaughton is a frequent contributor to leading technology