Gartner: don't overspend on application server tech

Vendors touting high-end application server technology have led companies to dramatically and unnecessarily overspend, according to a report released Tuesday by technology researcher Gartner Inc.

Companies worldwide have overspent about US$1 billion on application server technology since 1998, according to Gartner. Furthermore, the researcher predicts that companies could waste US$2 billion more between now and 2003.

This is because application server vendors are encouraging customer to buy high-end technology that they don't need, Gartner said.

"When there is confusion the vendors have been all too willing to take advantage of that," Gartner Vice President and Research Director David Smith said in an interview.

To prevent companies from overspending, Gartner recommended that when purchasing and implementing application server technology, companies should check their technology inventory to make sure they do not already have the capability in an existing product or free product.

Gartner warned that application server technology is not the same as Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE). Microsoft Corp.'s product line does not have J2EE and Java, but has application server functionality, for example.

What's more, J2EE and Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) are not the same, as most Java projects use Java Server Pages/servlet capabilities and not EJB, Gartner said. The researcher noted that the more costly application servers are designed to EJB, yet are using JSP/servlet capabilities instead.

Furthermore, companies are advised not to be led to spend more due to "confusion or hype."

Gartner estimates that by 2003, at least 70 percent of the new applications will be deployed on high-end application servers and 60 percent of all new J2EE application code will remain JSP/servlet-only.

As vendors continue to release pricey, top-shelf technology, Gartner warns buyers to beware.

"We hope these recommendations help companies cut through the hype and cut costs effectively," Smith said.

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