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Lowering Costs with BEA WebLogic* Server and Intel-based Servers

Author: Intel® Software Network
Published On: Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Last Modified On: Monday, May 05, 2008
By Allan McNaughton

Choosing the right e-business infrastructure platform has never been more important, or more difficult. With the proliferation of technology vendors it is all too easy to end up with a mishmash of software and hardware that does not work well together -- costs mount, schedules slip and business opportunities are lost. While the choice of a specific platform is no guarantee of success, selecting infrastructure components that work together seamlessly can overcome many challenges.

The right choice of software and hardware can greatly speed development while providing a scalable platform for future growth. The wrong choice can hinder even the most talented developer and burden the organization with less than stellar cost efficiencies. Given the importance of the decision, one should seriously consider the option of BEA’s Java*-based WebLogic* Server 8.1 running on low cost, high performance Intel® processor-based servers.

The Power of Collaboration
Developers will find that BEA WebLogic Server offers a robust application development platform that boosts productivity with industry leading development tools, strict compliance with Java 2 Enterprise Edition* (J2EE) standards and a rich set of interoperability APIs. In addition to having the confidence that comes from deploying an application server that has been battle-tested at very large installations, IT managers will find that BEA WebLogic Server is uniquely designed to deliver optimal performance for enterprise Java applications on cost effective Intel® Xeon® and Itanium® processors.

BEA and Intel have worked together to create a seamlessly integrated platform that enables developers to rapidly create server-side applications that are optimized to achieve scalable performance on flexible Intel architecture processors. By combining their substantial product engineering and market development resources, Intel and BEA have delivered a solution that is more than the sum of its parts; it delivers best-in-class performance, outstanding productivity, lower acquisition and operating costs, and the agility to meet current and future business challenges. And, with a combined ecosystem of tens of thousands of application providers, system manufacturers and system integrators, you have access to one of the world’s largest communities for extending and supporting your core business solutions.

Boost Developer Productivity
To help bring spiraling development costs under control, BEA WebLogic Server 8.1 is fully compliant with J2EE 1.3, the programming model of choice for development of enterprise-class server applications. By building standards-based applications, enterprises protect technology investments and maintain maximum flexibility, choice, and interoperability. WebLogic Server’s strict conformance to the J2EE specification allows developers to take advantage of the many third-party offerings of Java packages, database drivers, and vendor-specific application adapters, as well as develop their own applications.

BEA WebLogic Server 8.1 has validated implementations of the standard J2EE interfaces and also supports tools to help developers customize as necessary with minimal cost and effort. These features allow applications to provide more functionality, be created faster, exhibit lower maintenance costs and deliver a greater return on investment. This standards-based approach to software development allows an organization to choose from a large pool of trained J2EE developers, who can then further boost their productivity by using industry leading development tools such as BEA’s WebLogic Workshop* 8.1.

The BEA WebLogic Workshop visual development environment lets you do more with less by insulating developers from the complexities of enterprise-class application development; they no longer need to learn the intricacies of Java Messaging Service* (JMS), Enterprise JavaBeans* (EJBs), Java Database Connectivity* (JDBC), J2EE Connector Architecture* (J2CA) APIs, or the details of invoking external Web Services. By automatically managing most of the “plumbing code” typically associated with writing J2EE applications, BEA WebLogic Workshop ensures that developers focus on writing code that delivers business value, and reduces development time from hours to minutes.

As e-business infrastructures commonly include legacy applications running in distinctly different environments, it is critical that an application server offer out-of-the box interoperability. Acting as the glue that unifies the enterprise, BEA WebLogic Server 8.1 provides a full suite of integration technologies that further reduce development costs. WebLogic Server implements the latest Web services technologies, including Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), Web Services Description Language (WSDL), Universal Description Discovery and Integration (UDDI), and XMLBeans. It also has built-in interoperability with Microsoft .NET* Web services and supports an array of native integration capabilities, including Java Message Service (JMS), Java Connector Architecture (JCA), WebLogic/Tuxedo integration, Microsoft COM+ connectivity and COBRA support.

Faster is Cheaper
As much as BEA WebLogic Server 8.1 helps you develop higher quality applications in less time, it also helps run them more efficiently. Faster response times and greater scalability allow enterprises to use less hardware to support the same number of users or transactions, dramatically driving down costs. Fewer low cost Intel architecture servers, with fewer WebLogic Server CPU licenses means lower costs across the board—hardware, software, support, and operational.

Although BEA WebLogic Server runs on a wide variety of hardware platforms, it is uniquely optimized for maximum performance on the Intel architecture. Unlike other application server Java Virtual Machines (JVMs), the WebLogic JRockit* JVM is built from the ground up for demanding server-side applications—where the focus is on achieving the fastest response times while still reliably handling the heaviest loads, effectively scaling as usage grows, and providing real-time visibility into server usage and resource availability. JRockit efficiently meets these needs and enables Java applications to run with increased reliability and performance on a lower cost, standard-based platform.

BEA WebLogic JRockit uses state-of-the-art optimization technology to achieve the highest performance possible on Intel architecture. The system is constructed around an adaptive optimizing compiler that accelerates Java byte code execution. Internal functions like thread synchronization, object allocation, array copying, and file/network communications are all streamlined for speed. WebLogic JRockit is designed to take maximum advantage of architectural innovations such as the Intel NetBurst® microarchitecture, Hyper-Threading Technology(HT Technology), and integrated three-level cache. Similarly, it is also optimized for the Intel Itanium processors 64-bit address space, large caches and highly parallel EPIC (Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing) architecture.

Maximum cost savings can be achieved by deploying the BEA WebLogic JRockit JVM on clustered 2-way, 4-way, 8-way or higher Intel-based servers--where it can utilize additional CPUs and memory without reconfiguration, letting applications scale nearly linearly to support growing user numbers. In this configuration WebLogic Server supports automatic failover for workloads, transactions, and user session states—furnishing high-end availability for complex business critical applications. This gives IT organizations exceptional flexibility for designing solutions that closely match business and workload requirements. They can scale up onto large Intel-based servers to reduce server counts and optimize performance for each application. They can also scale out onto multiple, clustered servers to improve overall capacity and availability. By balancing these strategies, they can scale appropriately to optimize performance and minimize costs for every application.

Case in Point
Ultimately the infrastructure selection decision comes down to confidence; can the platform under consideration deliver as promised? To answer that critical question it is often helpful to rely on the experiences of others.

Let’s look at SCOOT France, an “infomediary” and the country’s leading provider of business and service directories. When its current RISC* server solution proved unable to handle rising transaction volumes, SCOOT France looked at changing its application infrastructure. After extensive analysis and benchmarking, SCOOT France’s IT managers selected BEA WebLogic Server running on Intel Xeon® processor-based servers with HT Technology. The solution features a clustered architecture that delivers load balancing, connection pooling, caching and other technologies that ensure high performance and scalability. And automatic failover at the Web, business logic and database tiers helps ensure that customer service is uninterrupted.

SCOOT France choose to deploy it on an Intel architecture-based platform to enjoy advantages in cost, openness, performance and flexibility. SCOOT France is using a cluster of powerful HP ProLiant* ML530 systems with dual Intel Xeon processors at the application tier, and HP ProLiant DL360 servers with dual Pentium® III Xeon® processors on the front end. Systems based on the Xeon processor offer top performance and ready scalability, allowing SCOOT France to add capacity as needed. For instance, the ProLiant ML530 offers extensive internal system expansion capabilities with twelve hotplug hard drive bays, eight PCI slots and up to 4 GB of memory. In addition, SCOOT France can add more servers to the cluster, protecting its IT investment and adding the performance to support a broadening customer base and the addition of new services.

The effort to switch platforms, with the assistance of BEA’s services team, was accomplished in just one week. Now, BEA WebLogic Server hosts the Java applications SCOOT France uses to receive inquiries, query its search engines and format the results for the appropriate channel. To meet projected increases in traffic SCOOT also tested and installed WebLogic JRockit. This resulted in a solution with response times up to 20 percent lower than traditional JVM’s, translating into immediate cost savings as less hardware is needed to run the service. Stability also improved enormously: systems that used to crash once an hour now run without fault, freeing up a team of eight IT technicians for other tasks.

By choosing BEA WebLogic Server and an Intel architecture-based platform, SCOOT France managed to lower total cost of ownership with a solution that delivers the highest levels of performance, reliability, scalability and manageability. SCOOT France now has the confidence that their infrastructure can provide the guaranteed uninterrupted availability and immediate response times necessary to power their business to ever higher levels of success in the competitive directory services market.

Make the Right Choice
In a world full of infrastructure choices, the combination of BEA WebLogic Server and Intel architecture servers is unique in that it offers a seamlessly integrated solution with widely acknowledged cost efficiencies. The platform provides exceptional support for developing and deploying n-tier applications and integrates easily with legacy systems to deliver unmatched agility. Furthermore, WebLogic Server is the only Java-based application server that is expressly designed to make the most of Intel Xeon® and Itanium® processor-based servers. If selecting a standards-based infrastructure solution that provides the best technologies to lower development and operational costs is the goal, the combination of BEA WebLogic software running on Intel Xeon and Itanium-based processor architecture may be your best road to meeting that goal.

Additional Resources

About the Author
Allan 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 publications.

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