Web services-based app server upgraded by WSO2

WSO2 is upgrading its open source application server, which has been centered on Web services rather than being of the usual Java variety most common in this product space.

Featured in version 2.0 of the company's WSAS (Web Services Application Server) are integration with the Eclipse IDE and capabilities for data services and clustering. The product is available next week and will be officially unveiled on July 16.

Formerly called Tungsten, WSAS is a service-hosting environment. It offers a standard Web services runtime deployable with Java application servers from vendors such as BEA Systems, IBM, and JBoss without requiring vendor-specific coding, said Sanjiva Weearawarana, chairman of Sri Lanka-based WSO2.

"If you use our runtime, it gives you a consistent, fully open source runtime that runs across all those [platforms] and gives you a consistent programming model," Weearawarana said.

WSAS has been available both as a stand-alone application and for hosting within Java servers and Apache Tomcat servlet containers. Applications have included linking legacy systems to Web services as well as workflow, business process management, and data integration.

Eclipse integration in version 2.0 means the full application server can be run within the IDE as opposed to having it outside of Eclipse. This makes testing of classes easier.

Data services capabilities in the release enable provision of services interfaces to relational data without having to write code. This can be done using SQL queries, mappings, and wizard capabilities.

WSO2 Application Server is differentiated by being built from the ground up for Web services and SOA, said Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst at ZapThink.

"What's most notable in version 2.0 is the Eclipse integration, better clustering and high availability, support for EJB services, better security, and data services. Perhaps the most notable of these improvements are the data services, which help service-enable relational data from a variety of heterogeneous sources," Bloomberg said.

"We're finding that dealing with heterogeneous data issues is one of the technical stumbling blocks for many SOA implementations, and WSAS should help many enterprises address those issues," Bloomberg said.

Clustering and high-availability boosts performance and uptime for WSAS 2.0. The application server can be clustered across any number of systems, Weearawarana said. To prevent denial of service attacks, an access throttling capability regulates access to services.

To improve security, XKMS (XML Key Management Specification) key management is included. Support for the WS-Security, WS-Trust, WS-Policy and WS-SecureConversation specifications also is featured.

Legacy Enterprise JavaBeans can be redeployed as Web services in the application server. An example could be an EJB that manages a business account.

Backward compatibility is provided between WSAS 2.0 and the Apache Axis 1.0 Web services runtime. Services written in Axis 1.0 can be deployed with WSAS 2.0 and leverage new Web services protocols supported by WSAS, such as WS-ReliableMessaging or WS-Policy.

WSO2 sells related support services for WSAS 2.0.

The 1.0 version of WSAS, introduced a year ago, has been downloaded about 10,000 times, Weearawarana said.

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